九州地域のアイコン

九州地方環境事務所

アクティブ・レンジャー日記

Aso grassland guided tours

2019年02月05日
阿蘇

Aso grassland has been maintained for over thousands of years through controled burning called Noyaki. It has been used for farming and closed to the public to control pests and to avoid disruption to their farming.

It is now, however, that people started to wonder if it gets used as a field for eco-tourism with permission to enter with trained guides. After going through special training, Aso grassland guides are allowed to operate a tour in an agreed grassland. Each guide has not only experience as a guide but also special knowledge in unique history and habitats of the region, and most importantly passion to conserve Aso grassland.

There are trekking and cycling guides and they started from 1st December 2018. The first booking was made by a newly-married couple, a perfect start to celebrate a new journey.

I was fortunate enough to go and partake a model tour. We entered the field after disinfecting shoes and shaking seeds off our clothes.

It was a warm day for winter and I had enjoyable outdoor activities and educational sessions in Aso grassland. Activities included Frisbee golf, "guess three smells (garlic, wasabi, and curry)", grass sledging, treasure hunt and rope work.

We also learned about wild life, rare species of plants and insects, different types of animal droppings, eco-system, geology and folk tales. Even for me who live and work in Aso there were lots of new discoveries.

The tour finished with this stunning view for us to have a picnic and be relaxed.