It is no exaggeration to say that Aso’s main attraction is the beautiful scenery.
But it’s unavoidable that the weather gods sometimes decide to throw a spanner in the works. And if you are unlucky, this might happen just as you have traveled from afar to visit.
That is why we want to give you some tips on ways to enjoy Aso even if it’s raining cats and dogs!
The first place where you can enjoy a good time regardless of the weather is inside this tasteful building. Apparently, it’s a renovated old sake brewery!
Let’s see what waits inside…
Colorful holds in masses!!
Yes, you might have guessed it already, but this is a bouldering gym!
This might be the only place where you can do bouldering inside an old sake brewery!
What’s great about CLAMP is the staff! They are extremely friendly and knowledgable. If you are a beginner they will teach and guide for the best experience possible. Everything from bouldering shoes to chalk that prevents slipping is prepared so you don’t need to bring anything.
CLAMP also has late-night open every Friday from 18:00 – 21:00 if you feel like moving your body a bit after you’ve had dinner.
And as a bonus, after having worked out, you should stop by this place which is right next to CLAMP.
This is Yakushi Onsen.
It is said to be the origin of the entire onsen area Uchi-no-maki and is extremely loved by locals.
This might not be the fancy open-air onsen that you associate with Aso but I do think it’s worth a visit! Yakushi Onsen is 100% natural water straight from the source but with an unusually high temperature… 44 degrees! At first, you will dip a toe in and think that it’s impossible, but take your time and sink in slowly. You will be surprised how satisfying it is when you are completely soaked.
And it’s especially nice for your tender muscles and hands after the bouldering!
9:00 – 18:00 (March – oct)
10:00 – 18:00 (Nov – Feb)
Fixed holidays: Thursdays
Cost: The trial experience for 1 hour costs 2200 yen and includes everything you need.
Open hours: 09:00 – 21:00
Cost: Adult 200 yen, Child 100 yen
Kurokawa Onsen hopping!
You know how it can be nice to go for a swim when it rains? This is even truer when it comes to hot springs!
Kurokawa Onsen is one of the most famous onsen areas in Japan and is both known for the high quality of its onsen water but also for the impeccable atmosphere of the townscape.
So what is this “hopping” thing?
Kurokawa Onsen uses something called “Nyuto tegata” which is an onsen hopping pass. This wooden ticket will give you access to any three onsens of your choice. It costs 1300 yen and is viable for 6 months. Normally a single visit costs between 500 – 600 yen so you profit 200 – 500 yen! And some shops will even give you a discount on their products if you have the pass!
A popular way to enjoy your time is to mix bathing with sightseeing and exploration.
There are many cafes and restaurants in Kurokawa so take your time and have a break as you listen to the peaceful sound of raindrops falling outside.
Having a hard time to choose?
You shouldn’t miss this one for the world!
This delicious custard cream-filled pastry can be found and bought at Patesiere Roku at the cheap price of 250 yen!
The custard cream is made from local ingredients and you will see it get filled up right before your eyes as you order.
Give both the outside and inside of your body a wonderful treat by spending a day exploring the atmospheric Kurokawa Onsen!
Kurokawa Onsen (Tourist information center)
Another way to have a great time when it rains is to make something!
Kukibo Soba Kenkyu Center – Soba Dojo
The Aso area with its plentiful water is known to have some of the best soba noodles.
Eating at any of the numerous soba restaurants is definitely recommended but how about experiencing how to actually make soba noodles yourself?
Here at the Soba Dojo you can learn how soba is made and eat your own handmade soba!
The kind instructors will patiently guide you through the process. Making high-quality soba is hard if you’re a beginner…
…but regardless of the result, the fact that you have made them yourself will definitely be the best spice! And a memorable experience!
Kukino Soba Kenkyu Center – Soba Dojo
10:00 – 17:00
Fixed holidays: The first Wednesday each month
Price: 1 p = 3200 yen, 2 p = 3200 yen, 3 p = 3800 yen, 4 p = 4400 yen
＊Reservation is only required for groups exceeding 15 people
Genki Challenge Kan
Are you traveling as a family and want somewhere that your kids can enjoy a fun time while you wait for the skies to clear? Then this place might be for you!
“Genki” means “healthy” and “energetic” in Japanese and this establishment really captures this as a concept!
There are many different attractions and games that all enable you to use your body and exercise as you play. The different attractions have explanations in English as well making it understandable even if you don’t understand Japanese.
One of the attractions is a huge maze where you have to overcome different obstacles as you aim for the goal. Every attraction focuses on healthy play and tons of fun for the entire family.
This is a great place for families to spend a few hours when it pours outside. Maybe your children will even make some Japanese friends for some healthy cultural exchange!
Genki Challenge Kan
Open hours: 10:00 – 17:00
Cost: Adult (adults: 1000 yen/hour, children: 600yen/hour)
There you have it! Something for everyone to get through the storm. And if you insist on experiencing nature even though it rains, then I would recommend Nabegataki falls in Oguni! The greenery and the waterfall is quite magical in the rain!
With that said, I still wish that you get shining sun and a cloud-free sky on your trip to Aso!
But if you don’t make sure to check out some of the alternatives in this list!