Japan is so closely related to volcanoes that it is no surprise to learn that the country is home to about 10% of the world’s volcanoes. With 110 active volcanoes, the number rises to 440 when inactive volcanoes become considered. While volcanoes can be dangerous in their active state, they are also vibrant tourist attractions, drawing thousands of visitors yearly.
If you want to go on a volcanic trail, check out tailor-made Japan tours to see which gives you the best opportunity to see some of these impressive attractions.
One of the most famous landmarks in the entire country is Mount Fuji. The iconic mountain is the highest point in Japan, rising 3776 meters above sea level, and is treated with respect as a sacred place. Besides its importance to the locals, thousands of tourists troop yearly to Kyushu to visit the mountain. Japanese trains provide a flexible travel option for locals and tourists with over 1,000 routes worldwide.
Tourists visit Mount Fuji to behold the most famous landmark in the country. They climb the mountain, hike the trail around it, and spend time exploring other attractions around the area. Seeing Mount Fuji from different towns is an exciting activity. Despite being an active volcano, the last time the volcano erupted was in 1707. Scientists believe the volcano can still erupt but pose little danger to people. Hence, the area is safe for locals and tourists.
Next on the list is Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan. It is also located on Kyushu Island, often called the land of fire due to the number of volcanoes within it. Mount Aso erupts often, with the latest eruption occurring in October 2021. Due to its nature, the Japan Meteorological Association (JMA) regularly updates its eruption alert level to inform visitors.
Visiting Mount Aso requires you to be up to date on information regarding the area. The entry zones and viewing platforms change depending on the activity level of the caldera. If the alert level is high, the authorities will advise people against visits or restrict areas they can access. If you are lucky to go on a good day, you can get close to the crater, with a circumference of around 120km. Greater luck will be visiting on a day you might witness an eruption up close. Just remember to follow the safety guidelines.
As the most active volcano in Japan, Mount Asahi is a necessary addition to this list. It is part of the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group, which contains 20 volcanoes. Being the tallest of them all, Mount Asahi attracts the most visitors. Most of these volcanoes are stratovolcanoes and lava domes, meaning they have layers of hardened lava, creating a slope with a crater at the top. These are the most common type of volcanoes.
The area around Mount Asahi is a top-rated tourist destination. People visit to see the volcanoes and enjoy the stunning scenery. Other activities include hiking the trail around the volcanoes and visiting some of the cultural sites in the area. Mount Asahi has not had an eruption in recent times, but it still helps to check the information on the Japan Meteorological Association website before visiting the volcano.
Mount Asama will definitely stun you the first time you set your eyes on it. It has a stunning landscape that features a cone symmetry with steep slopes. The theme of the landscape changes according to the season and recent volcanic activities. Its activity is one of the greatest attractions of Mount Asama. The volcano last erupted in 2015, a consequence of its consecutive accumulation of matter. It features a composition of lava, ash and debris.
Visitors do not just visit Mount Asama for its volcanic activities; they also perform a pilgrimage as it is the second-highest peak in Japan. Rising to an impressive height of 2568 meters, Mount Asama offers a panoramic view from nearby landmarks like Mount Kusatsu and Shiraito Falls. A trip to Mount Asama offers more activities, including the volcano’s onsens, where you can bathe in the thermal tub.
This is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and a key attraction to the area. Known for its frequent eruptions, Sakurajima is best visited after seeking enough information on the alert levels. Apart from the risk posed by the eruptions, the resulting ashy plumes can be dangerous to some people with certain health conditions. If you have no such limitations, they can be beautiful to watch.
Not just the stunning ashy plumes shooting up the sky will steal your breath while visiting Sakurajima. The volcanic lightning adds another measure of visual appeal to the overall beauty of the volcanic landscape. The volcano also forms new islands, and visitors can see other effects of the volcanic activities while visiting the area. These include volcanic bombs and tephra-like lava rocks, lapilli, and other volcanic materials.
Owakudani Hell Valley
Hell valleys are barren, active volcanic grounds characterized by rocky terrains, sulfurous streams, hot steam vents, mud pools and bubbling springs. These features form a beautiful yet deadly landscape that gave these areas their names. Understandably, they are also one of the best places to follow volcanic trails. One of the most impressive hell valleys in Japan is Owakudani.
Owakudani is a classic hell valley located in Hakone that will appeal to any volcano enthusiast. There is a short trail into the volcanic zone where you can view the steam vents and bubbling pools. Touristy things to do around include eating eggs cooked in the naturally hot water from the volcanic activity. If the weather is clear, you can get a good view of Mout Fuji from Owakudani. Remember to check the alert level before traveling to the hell valley.
Volcanoes are such huge attractions in Japan that you can go on a trip to explore them. We have covered some impressive ones in this post, but you can also visit some lesser-known volcanoes close to the ones highlighted.
Featured Image: Image by Instagram friends Xavier and Kate during a Spring Festival in Japan
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