Thursday, February 14, 2008

Aso Tableland

In order to get from Kagoshima to Beppu, we chose the Aso Express train. It runs across the island, through the scenic Aso Tableland, which is made up of spectacular mountain and valley scenery. Mt. Aso, which you pass at the mid-point of the journey, is an active volcano and part of the Aso National Park. It actually consists of five peaks which make up the entire caldera area. I've had the opportunity to visit it close up the last time I was here. You actually get to peer down into the gurgling center of it. This time, however, we didn't get off at the Aso station; we just stayed on the train and enjoyed the passing countryside. We got to sit right up front, next to the conductor, so we literally got to see the "light at the end of the tunnel".... This train ride was much slower than the Shinkansens we've been on, and it was also a lot rougher. The train did a lot of swaying side to side. But it's a popular train journey and one that is highly recommended.

Our front row seats
Typical mountain scenery...those are wind turbines (in the center of the photo)

Mt. Aso in the distance

One of the many train stations along the way

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