Laputa Road heads right up to the sky
Laputa Road which has been gaining attention for the past several years is a fantastic route going through a beautiful landscape that seems to come right out of the world of “Laputa: Castle in the Sky”, the masterpiece anime by Studio Ghibli. Heading from the top of the outer rim of the crater to the towns at the bottom of the Aso Valley, the road cutting along the cliffs of a mountain ridge has also been dubbed “The Sky Road” although its official name is “Aso Municipal Road Kario Main Line”. A road that stretches for 6km from Prefectural Route 149 to Prefectural Route 339 which has been called Milk Road, it was once a small countryside road used to transport products like grass to the farm at the top of the outer rim, but in 2011, a cycling sports magazine introduced it as a scenic cycling road and since then, its profile has grown in leaps and bounds.
The sky road with its viewing spots
Because there is no public transportation allowed on the road, there is a parking space for several cars at the entrance after proceeding on Milk Road by car from the direction of Mt. Daikanbo, past Kabuto Iwa Observation Point and up to the crossroads for Laputa Road. A small jizo statue is the landmark for the parking area. From there, a 5-minute walk on the side road along the grassland will bring you to the realization that Laputa Road is truly a sky road as an epic landscape opens up in front of you. From spring to summer, the Aso Valley with its bright fresh greenery is very beautiful and from fall to early winter, golden Japanese pampas grass spreads out. If you are lucky, you may be able to observe a sea of fog embracing the area to create a mysterious scene. Laputa Road can in fact be traversed by cars but due to its former use as a farm road, its narrow width makes it extremely dangerous for cars to pass by each other, and depending on the weather, there are often traffic stoppages due to the loosening of the ground, so it’s recommended that Laputa Road be enjoyed for just the viewing.