Nothing beats nature’s pristine beauty when it comes to providing a relaxing ambiance. You may enjoy the comforts of the city life and savor the convenience of innovation, but there are times when what we need is the absence of all things modern and a side trip to some place natural.
Kusasenrigahama (草千里ヶ浜) in Aso City (阿蘇市), Kumamoto Prefecture (熊本県) is just the right location for that! And in this article are two things that you can do in the area.
When locals speak of Mt. Aso, they are collectively referring to the double-structure volcanoes, the Aso Five Mountains (Aso Gogaku; 阿蘇五岳) and the mountainous areas surrounding the said peaks.
Between Mt. Kishima (杵島岳) and Mt. Eboshi (烏帽子岳) is a round, picturesque grassland known as Kusasenrigahama. This grassland is said to be one kilometer in diameter and gives tourist excellent views of the surrounding mountains and the clear skies.
Within the area lies a clean pond that perfects the setting and enhances its natural appeal. Visitors can either enjoy the sheer grandeur of the scenery by simply strolling around or by embarking on more exciting activities.
Whether it’s about getting yourself an adrenaline rush or a quick learning experience, Kusasenrigahama offers excellent options.
There is a Horseback Riding Club that is open from March to December. It allows guests to rent horses and enjoy horseback riding along the wide expanse of the grassland. This is a perfect choice for those who want to feel the nice breeze and witness a view of cows and horses roaming around the place.
Quick tip: The month of June in Japan is characterized by frequent rains and may not be the best time to enjoy this activity as the water creates small puddles in the plains.
Another activity you shouldn’t miss is an educational tour around the Aso Volcano Museum which allows guests to observe the crater in safety. Should you fail to enjoy horseback riding or strolling around the grasslands because of bad weather, enjoying the panorama through the museum is your best alternative.
To perfect your viewing experience, a real-time camera is set near the crater. It delivers quality images as well as sounds of what is going on around the place.
If you enjoy the classic tour in museums, then the exhibits and displays around ranging from geological to animal artifacts will be a fascinating treat.
If you’re bringing a car during your visit, you don’t have to worry about where to park it. There are designated parking spaces in the area with corresponding fees as follows:
- Large-sized motor vehicles – 1,630 yen
- Compact cars – 410 yen
- Motorcycles – 100 yen
Kusasenrigahama is open 24 hours, free of charge. It’s a 35-minute bus ride from the JR Kumamoto Station (熊本駅). Take the bus bound for Aso-san Nishi-eki (阿蘇山西駅).
With the place’s surreal natural beauty, it’s no wonder why a lot of Japanese poets in the past are said to have written songs especially dedicated to its grandeur. It indeed draws out your inner muse.
Whether you are an artist looking for inspiration or just someone who wishes to escape the usual busy lifestyle of Japan’s main cities, a trip to Kusasenrigahama might be the break you need. Go and unwind at this beautiful grassland!