We picked up the car early in the morning and headed off.
The morning started off well. We started driving when suddenly Ryan calmly says, "That was almost a collision."
We laughed and he clarified, "It's a problem when the drivers coming in the other direction are looking you in the eye."
Luckily, we did not crash into anyone and we headed to the national park.
Mt. Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan and one of the largest in the world. It's inside one of the biggest calderas in the world (75 miles around).
You can drive up to the crater, which is constantly steaming and apparently occasionally erupts.
So, we drove up to the crater.
When we arrived at the base, the top part of the mountain was closed due to lack of air quality.
We were disappointed and hovered around inside the gift shop. After about 10 minutes, they opened the crater. So, we rushed up to the crater. It was emitting a lot of steam/smoke still, but apparently it was clear enough to approach.
which is apparently very beautiful
We walked up the viewpoint, took lots of pictures, then started walking to the car.
That's when the alarm started and they told everyone to evacuate immediately because the air quality was getting worse, since the crater was emitting a lot of steam/smoke. There were a lot of people running, but we calmly walked to the car.
I remained calm, surprisingly, considering my fear of being on a volcano during an eruption...
My awesome hair picture.
My awesome hair picture closer up.
Large smoke plume
We found this field with hay animals and trains.
The Christmas trees were everywhere in the tunnel.
This seemed a bit weird, since it was February. They're worse than I am when it comes to removing Christmas decorations!
It was a constant stream of water, which somehow looked like the water was moving up. But, you could disrupt the water by touching it. I put a video here where you can kind of see how it is "moving upward."
We had a GPS system, but followed to the signs to the main road, which was different than the way we came. It was a very windy road.
The mirrors that were supposed to guide us around corners were rusted and unclear.
We decided to turn around and go back the way we came when there was ice in the middle of a very curvy mountain road and half the road had collapsed during the mudslides in the summer.
There were drain pipes that were very small and then very large areas where the water had come rushing through and wiped out roads...it was very interesting how much more water there was than there normally is.
Here are my shoes, as close to the edge as I dared go.
That would be toilet paper. Clearly a bird or large squirrel or something stole it from the nearby bathroom and hid it in the trees. There were 2 rolls in the trees...
Japan was warm.
Seoul looked like this when I landed...gray freezing and covered in snow.