MOUNT EBOSHI HIKE (EBOSHIDAKE) IN MOUNT ASO
Mount Eboshi is one of the five peaks of the central cone group of the famous Mount Aso. It’s the easiest peak and probably the safest peak to climb taking just over an hour to get up and down from the summit. The view from the top is quite remarkable as it looks out over the Nakadake Crater, which is where the active volcano of Mount Aso is found.
MOUNT EBOSHI HIKE DETAILS
Hike Distance: The total hike distance for me was a 4-kilometers return trip.
Hike Duration: The trek up was just under thirty minutes. We then hung out at the top for an hour before the 25-minute walk down. So you could get up and down within the hour if you only stopped for a quick look and photo at the top rather than a full photoshoot and drone flying session.
Hike Difficulty: This hike is quite easy although slippery in some parts. The incline will trouble those who aren’t used to hiking but it’s a short hike and most people who are capable of walking 5-6 kilometers on flat will be able to handle the adventure.
Hike Incline: The total hike incline was 230m.
HOW TO GET TO THE TRAILHEAD OF THE MOUNT EBOSHI HIKE
Most visitors to the Mount Aso region will park their car or have their tour bus parked in the museum parking lot. From here the Mount Eboshi trail is a loop. If you look up towards the Mount Eboshi peak you will see a ridge to the right and to the left that both climb up to the summit. I took the ridge to the right and then came back down on the opposite side (closer to Nakadake Crater, which is the active volcano). You simply walk from the parking lot and head up whichever ridge you prefer to begin on. There are plenty of signs that say ‘Eboshidake’ so you will quickly find your way.
The map below is the exact route I took as I recorded on my Garmin Watch. If you are interested, you can download my map as a GPX file for your smart device such as a Garmin watch by clicking here to download.
*I forgot to switch my watch on for the first few minutes of the descent so the distance is slightly wrong but the route is automatically filled in by the app so that is accurate and the only part you really need anyway.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING TO MOUNT EBOSHI (EBOSHIDAKE)
The Mount Eboshi hike is a great little trail not because of the views or the adventure but because it is usually open! Because Nakadake Crater and the active volcano within it are often spewing ash high into the air, the surrounding trails are often closed. This leaves adventurous hikers feeling a bit stuck. Luckily Eboshi is a bit further away but you still have nice views of the erupting volcano.
From the parking lot at the Mount Aso Museum, you can take the loop beginning either on the left or the right and come down the opposite ridge on the way back. I headed up towards the right side to begin the short 2-kilometer journey to the summit. You can see the museum in the background of the photo below as we made our way around the little lake to the trail.
The trail is well defined, marked with signs and has a lot of stairs installed to make the journey easier. It is quite steep but nothing ridiculous with just over 200m of incline over the course of the 2-kilometer track to the top. I found it quite slippery during the winter and was grateful to have chosen hiking boots for the trek.
You really start to get an appreciation for Moun Aso as a whole in relation to the entire Caldera. It’s quite unique that it sits up in the caldera and then there are volcanoes within that space. There’s so much to take in no matter what direction you look out to.
After a 25-minute trek to the summit, we looked down the opposite ridge to see the alternative trail to the top. This trail is on the Nakadake Crater side so you see the erupting volcano in the background so we enjoyed the when we eventually took that route down back to the parking lot.
At the summit, you have a view out to Nakadake Crater, which is where the eruptions, smoke, and all the action takes place. Behind the crater is Nakadake Peak and Takadake Peak, which are part of a hiking route but it is often closed when the volcano is billowing gas into the air for the safety of hikers. You can’t quite see down into the crater but you can see the backside of the rim, which isn’t possible from ground level at the parking lot of the museum so you have views that those who do not hike will never experience.
In the other directions, you can witness the entire caldera and the various rock formations and craters that are scattered throughout the region. There is a ridge here that is not part of the trail and quite sketchy but we decided to go for a bit of further exploration and fly the drone for an aerial perspective. It probably ended up being my favorite part of the adventure.
The journey down took us just over 20-minutes as we took the ridge nearest the erupting volcano of Nakadake Crater. It’s a great little circuit that you could do even if you were on a tour with a 2-hour time limit and it should usually be open unlike the trails behind Nakadake Crater.