Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kyushu Special 1: Aso Mountains 阿蘇山

During the 21st Oct, scholars from the same organization and I went for a 4 days 3 night study trip to Kyushu to learn more about the Japanese culture, history and customs, as well as to interact with the local Japanese. Our first stop was the Aso mountains located at the heart of Kumamoto.

Aso mountains is filled with man-made grasslands, wide-spread through human intervention of burning and clearing the lands for cow grazing. It was a nice change to walk around open space unlike the crowded streets of Tokyo. Though feeling relaxed, there is not much scenery to look at during that time.
人工草原遍佈了整座阿蘇山,這些都是通過人為燃燒出來的,為了就是能放牛。 在廣闊的草原中漫步和在東京的擁擠街頭是截然不同的新鮮感覺。雖然心情很放鬆,不過那時沒什麼好風景欣賞。

Alternatively you can also pay a modest fee to ride on its muscular horses to enjoy the misty landscape.

Through our study reports and presentations, I got to know that these grasslands are currently now in danger of being abandoned due to increasing import of cheaper overseas beef and an aging cow-rearing community. With intense price competition and younger people not wanting to inherit the tedious farming practice, we're not sure how long can the Aso grasslands be maintained.

Aso mountains is also an active volcano, one of the few in the world which is open to public to let us gaze upon its crater. You can reach the top via a ropeway and smell the sulphuric air while waiting for your turn. The sulphuric air caused slight discomfort in my throat and I had to cover my nose with tissue paper. Unfortunately due to the bad weather, we could not enter into the caldera zone but only loiter at its outskirts, taking photographs of its barren land and feeling utterly disappointed.

The greatest enjoyment of the day besides strolling in the grasslands was food. This restaurant which served us lunch had a great selection of home-grown specialties such as Aso beef, vegetables and other traditional Japanese dishes.


PS: Not sure if I jinxed the weather because I jinx holidays every single time XD

Of course, I chose its renowned homegrown Aso beef set meal! (the cost was borne by the scholarship! :D)

Just look at this pretty beef! It's said that eating 100g of Aso beef will help to sustain 7.5 square meters of grasslands! Support the farmers!

On the hot plate, yum~yum!!!!!

 After having our fill, we then realized that they had a wide selection of traditional Japanese okazu (side dish). I tried a bit of each and found a few of them to be quite nice. Needless to say I didn't finish them all because the taste was too strange.

Overall Impression of Aso Mountains 阿蘇山的印象
Aso mountains is a great place for nature sight seeing if the weather is good. Activities such as crater viewing, horse riding, flower appreciation, hot air balloon, etc. will be more enjoyable under clear skies. Besides sight-seeing, festivals, hot springs and traditional arts, the food is really good as well :P
假如天氣好的話,阿蘇山是一個享受大自然美景的好地方。活動如火山口觀光,騎馬,賞花,坐熱氣球等,在晴天的天下進行會比較好玩。除了觀光以外,祭典,溫泉,傳統藝術體驗和美味的美食也是很不錯的優點 :P

Visit the Aso City Tourism guide for more details (Japanese only):
阿蘇市的觀光官方網頁 (日語):

Next: Lodging for the night...


  1. 又要寫報告嗎??

  2. Zero: 對啊...去之前的那些都做完了,去之後的報告有2份-_-

  3. Envy U leh~~ i also want go japan! Yum yum! ^_^

  4. 阿蘇火山

  5. Food looks great!
    I went to Aso also, but not so close

  6. hui: Good food! But prepare lots of money!!!

    austin: 就是我那個要些很多報告的獎學金團。吃的是很好啦 XD
    因為我現在在準備GMAT測驗(為了進MBA的英文和數學測試),下個月又有JLPT,後個月要申請大學院...所以空出來的時間就打網誌和看一下電視。有錢的話會網購或出門逛街嘍~ 大多數的時間都是在讀書就對了。

    Goh: Wa you been to so many places~! Did you visit their atomic bomb museum and peace park?

  7. No, we did not go to Nagasaki.
    At first we wanted to, but lack of time so decided to focus on scenery, which was what my parents wanted.

  8. Goh: I see, I also want to see scenery... But so busy, oh well... I'll be going to Gotemba Outlet this Sat to buy winter clothes though :P

  9. 阿蘇牛肉~~天阿看的我口水都流出來了啦~


  10. yan: 呵呵,但是頂級的話是和牛肉/神戶牛肉吧!?



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