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Aso UNESCO Global Geopark

Aso UNESCO Global Geopark [1]
On 17 November 2015, during the 38th session of UNESCO's General Conference, the 195 Member States have ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks and endorsed the statutes of a new international programme: the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP).
As UNESCO encourages "Building peace in the minds of men and women", Aso UNESCO Global Geopark work on geo-conservation and utilization of precious regional resources for education and regional economic development with our local community. We dedicate our experience to the global society from Aso Caldera.
*In September 2014, the new membership was announced at the 6th International UNESCO Conference on Global Geopark in Stonehammer Global Geopark, Canada.
What is Aso Volcano, the Heart of Aso Geopark?
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Located in central Kyushu, Aso Caldera measures approximately 18 km from east to west and 25 km north to south. At 350 square kilometers, it is one of the world's largest collapsed volcanoes. In the center of the caldera soars Mt. Nakadake, which even today steams with volcanic fumes, along with the four other peaks comprising Aso Gogaku (Mt. Takadake, Mt. Nekodake, Mt. Kijimadake, and Mt. Eboshidake), which are part of a central cone group made up of many mountains. To the north and south of this cone group stretches the flat caldera floor, encircled by the caldera's outer rim. Beyond that lies gentle topography formed by the volcano's pyroclastic flow. Although there is no freestanding mountain called Mt. Aso, scholars refer to the entire area up to the caldera's outer rim as Aso Volcano.
The Aso region was designated as Aso National Park in 1934, the year Japan's national park system was born. In 1986 it was renamed Aso Kuju National Park, and in 2014 the park celebrated its 80th anniversary.
Aso Volcano's Location in Relation to Kyushu's Quaternary Volcanos
Aso Volcano sits at the junction between two lines of volcanoes crisscrossing the island of Kyushu. One runs east-west and includes Beppu, Yufuin, Tsurumidake, Kokonoe, Aso, Kinpo, and Unzen; the This is an imagesecond runs north-south and includes Kirishima, Sakurajima, and Kaimondake. This unique location influenced the structure of Aso Volcano and contributed to the complexity of its lithology (the physical characteristics of its rocks).

Map of Aso's Geosites
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List of Geosites
Number Geosite Name Theme Related Geo-points
1 Daikanbo Caldera Geosite Experience a world-class caldera (view from the north) Aso Caldera, Daikanbo, outcrop of Akahoya ash layer
2 Nakadake Geosite Sense the activity of the earth through an active volcano Nakadake Crater, Sunasenri-ga-hama
3 Kusasenri Geosite Grazing land and volcanic activity Kusasenri-ga-hama, Aso Volcano Museum, Kusasenri-ga-hama Observation Station, Mt. Eboshidake
4 Komezuka Geosite Topography and geological features formed by a relatively new volcanic group Komezuka, Kami-Komezuka
5 Furubochu Geosite Volcanic activity and mountain religion Furubochu
6 Sensuikyo Gorge Geosite Rocky peaks and alpine plants Sensuikyo Gorge, Mt. Takadake
7 Mt. Kishimadake Geosite Recent volcanic activity dating to several thousand years ago Mt. Kishimadake, Mt. Ojyodake
8 Fumotobochu Geosite One town's history and culture Saigandenji Temple, Aso Den'en Kukan Eco Museum
9 Mt. Ogidake Geosite An isolated peak on the pyroclastic flow plateau Mt. Ogitake
10 Koganotaki Falls Geosite Falls on the outer rim of the caldera Koganotaki Waterfall
11 The Deity of the Volcano Geosite Seek the roots of the culture centered on Aso Volcano Aso Shrine, Kokuzo Shrine, Kaminokokura and Shimonokokura Burail Mounds,
12 Cluster of Springs in Aso Valley District Geosite Alluvial fan and artesian aquifer Miyaji and Yakuinbaru district springs
13 Futaenotouge Mountain Pass Geosite Myths and history Futaenotouge Mountain Pass, Sankin-kotai Road, Matoshi (Matoshi teahouse and remains of pond)
14 Aso Yellow Ocher (Aso Odo) Geosite Environmental and cultural gifts from the volcano Aso Yellow Ocher (Limonite)
15 Uchinomaki Hot Spring Geosite Historic hot spring town Uchinomaki Hot Spring
16 Milk Road Grassland Geosite Vast grasslands cover the north rim Grassland scenery
17 Oshito-ishi Geosite Fusion of nature and culture Oshito-ishi
18 North Outer Rim Pyroclastic Flow Geosite Understanding the vast pyroclastic flow Nabegataki Falls, Yusuikyo Gorge, Nanataki Falls, Aso pyroclastic flow deposits (on Yamanami Highway)
19 Oguni-go Area Hot Spring Geosite Hot spring village formed by volcanic activity Minami Oguni hot spring village, Tsuetate Hot Spring, Suzume Jigoku, Waita hot spring village
20 Ikeyama and Yamabuki Geosite Sources of spring water Ikeyama Spring, Yamabuki Spring
21 Sankin-kotai Road Geosite Road utilizing natural topographic features Sankin-kotai Road
22 Kusakabe Geosite Kudariyama Shrine, dedicated to the god of Aso Kusakabeyoshimi Shrine
23 Camel Mountain (Rakuda-yama) Geosite Scenery featuring intrusive rocks Camel Mountain (Rakuda-yama), Minami-Aso Visitor Center, Aso Wildflower Garden, Aso Folk School, Mt. Nekodake
24 Cluster of Springs in Minami-Aso District Geosite Springs created by the volcano and the daily life of local people Minamiaso Village Spring Group, Takamori Spring Tunnel
25 Jigoku and Tarutama Hot Springs Geosite Geothermal area and hot springs, explosion crater Ikenokubo, Jigoku and Tarutama Hot Springs
26 Nango Valley Geosite Characteristic topography related to the formation of Nango Valley Terraced topography of Nangodani Valley
27 Mt. Rakanyama Geosite Understand unusual formations Unusual rock formations at Mt. Rakanyama, Zizo-toge Pass natural dikes
28 Tawarayama Mountain Pass Caldera Geosite Experience the grand scale of the caldera (view from the south) Aso Caldera, Tawarayama Lookout
29 Tateno Gorge Geosite Intersection of fault activity Tateno Gorge, Sugarugatak Falls, Ayugaerinotaki Falls
30 Shiraitonotaki Falls Geosite Waterfall formed by lava on the outer rim Shiraitonotaki Falls
31 Omine Volcano Geosite Visit and active fault Omine Volcano, Takayubaru laval plateau
32 Soyokyo Gorge Geosite A beautiful valley created by a volcano and springs Soyokyo Gorge
33 Heitate Shrine Geosite Connect with the world of the gods Heitate Shrine