A Snowy, Sunny Makinoto Trailhead

Winter Wilderness at Aso-Kuju National Park

By Tristan Scholze    - 2 min read

The Japanese are known throughout the world for their appreciation of fleeting beauty, such as with the cherry blossoms every spring. But each of the four seasons here has its own particular rare and inspiring moments. Snowfall in Aso-Kuju National Park always brings visitors to Makinoto, but on this day, the magic of blue skies with sunshine lighting up fresh powder made for an explosive combination. Hikers from all over Kyushu braved the unplowed, unsalted mountain roads with chains on their tires and met the mountains with spikes on their boots.

Although this part of the park is full of wilderness trails accessible by many points, Makinoto has the largest parking lot in the area, restrooms, a cafe, and souvenir shop that also has trekking supplies. I recommend the excellent ice cream, made with the local milk Aso and its rolling meadows is known for, and yuzu tea, which makes the perfect compliment to a cold, snowy day in Kyushu.

Trails from here head toward Mt. Hoshisho and Mt. Nakadake, and you can do multi-day treks that circle through the Kuju mountain range.

牧ノ戸登山口—Makinoto Tozan-guchi—Makinoto Trailhead
牧ノ戸峠—Makinoto Touge—Makinoto Pass

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Tristan Scholze

Tristan Scholze @tristan.scholze

I'm also known as Faer Out. I love learning about people and nature all around the world. I've traveled throughout Japan and visited some 40 countries on 5 continents and hope to continue seeing and experiencing the wonder of this planet as long as I live.Based in Japan for nearly two decades, I'm the Regional Partner here for Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures. In addition to my work at JapanTravel, I have a language school called Rainbow Bridges English Academy in Fukuoka and am very interested in teaching, languages, communication, and photography, among other things. Recently, I've been a guest host on NHK World's J-Trip Plan for Caving Adventures in Western Japan as well as Exploration for Black Gold.I love heading downtown to meet up with friends for a night out as well as being able to hop on my motorcycle and be riding through forest-covered mountains or to sandy beaches in 20 minutes. This area is very photogenic and even after years of exploration, there are still plenty of places to discover each weekend! My photographs are available for purchase on iStock, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime or by contacting me.Please contact me if you have any questions about travel in Japan. I'd also be grateful for any follows on social media!