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Japan Environment Quarterly (JEQ)
Volume 9 | March 2015

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National Parks of Japan

Harmonious Coexistence of People and Nature, Aso-Kuju National Park, Aso Area



Ranger, Kyusyu Regional Environment Office, Nature Conservation Bureau, Aso Nature Conservation Office

Eruption of Mt. Aso in 2014 seen from the somma
MAP: Aso-Kuju National Park

Aso-Kuju National Park which lies in the central part of Kyushu is one of the first Japanese national parks designated in 1934.

In the Aso area, there is a caldera with the outer rim of the circumferential length of about 100 km, one of the largest in the world, surrounded by the vast grasslands which have been artificially controlled by the open burning and other means for over 1,000 years and Mt. Aso located in its center.

There are approximately 50,000 people living inside the caldera, and they have a history of harmony between human beings and the active volcano.

In November 2014, Mt. Aso had its magmatic explosion for the first time in 20 years or so and its volcanic activity has continued even today.

While the Aso Volcano is unique in that visitors can stand at the edge of the crater to peer in, the Japan Meteorological Agency and university institutions conduct round-the-clock monitoring of its volcanic activity. Depending upon levels of volcanic activity, volcano disaster prevention-related authorities place restrictions upon visitors' access to the volcano to ensure their safety.

In September 2014, the Aso area was added to the Global Geoparks Network on winning favorable assessment of its geological and terrestrial formations as well as the harmonious culture of man with the volcano.

We would like you to visit the Aso area. You can feel the heartbeat of this globe today.

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