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Monday, 22 May 2017

Update on how to get to Aso Farmland

For the moment, you need to forget everything that I've ever written on how to get to Aso Farmland. As of right now (April 2017), significant sections of the train leading to Aso is out of service. Even the Asoboy, that really cute train that I seem to have no affinity with, is now coasting along the rails of some other prefecture's railway track.

This is how we got to Aso Farmland in March, and a quick check of the Aso Farmland website shows that nothing much has changed since then. This is what I'd recommend for people coming from Kumamoto:

First, take the train to Higoozu. We used to be able to take the train to Akamizu and take a taxi from there, or the train to Tateno and then a bus straight to Aso farmland. The bus is now no longer in service and you can't take the train to Akamizu. The closest is Higoozu. From Higoozu, you have two options:

1. Take a bus to Akamizu, and from there take a taxi from Akamizu.

2. Take a taxi from Higoozu to Aso farmland. If you don't want to bother with bus schedules and your luggage and you have a larger budget, this is an option. It took about 40 minutes and cost us 5300 yen for one taxi which seats 4 people, or jumbo cab, which costs 8140 yen. If you're traveling in a large group like we were, then a jumbo cab may be a good option.

Or, if you don't mind driving, you should totally drive.

But is it even worth going to Aso Farmland?

This is a really valid question because large parts of the place look like this:

I'm not sure what the exact situation is right now, but when I was there in much, pretty much only the petting zoo, the main onsen, and the genki forest is in operation. Most of the restaurants that we really enjoyed during previous visits and the shopping area (milk farm) were closed. I think the DIY place was open but that's was about it. More places may have opened, but you'll want to check which parts of the place is open/will be open during your visit and decide accordingly.

My siblings and I really enjoyed the genki forest, which was pretty much intact! Access to it is dependent on the weather, but it's still largely unaffected. For what it's worth, my family enjoyed Aso farmland for the onsen and genki forest, although it must be pointed out that we weren't planning to buy things here. Also, the one buffet restaurant that was open was pretty good, but if you're looking for a variety of restaurants, you'll be disappointed.

And now, picture spam of genki forest :D

My siblings and I were SO HAPPY that the outdoor area was open because we haven't been able to go there before (too much snow). And that is why I didn't have many pictures - we were too busy playing.

Oh, and you should definitely get these fries. They were amazing!

Ok, the last part of our trip is Kumamoto, and the only new thing is the cruise that we took! It was really fun, though, so I can't wait to share it with you(:

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