Showa Shinzan, a wonder of nature with a fascinating history is one of Japan’s youngest mountains still active and of course a popular tourist destination. A series of violent earthquakes, over 200 times in a day, shook the area from December 1943 until April 1944. The surrounding wheat fields were uplifted to over 50m high. Volcanic eruptions began in June 1944 and continued for four months and formed the egg shaped plateau rising to 300 m high. In November 1944, lava started flowing from the central crater and continued until September 1945. The peak of the volcano is now 407m. The mountain was named “Showa Shinzan” (New Mountain) in honor of the contemporary reign of Emperor Showa (1926-1989). Japanese government officials made the decision that Showa Shinzan might be seen as a sort of unlucky omen since the formation of the volcano occurred during the world war II. Therefore its existence was unannounced with the only records being kept by a postmaster named Masao Mimatsu who died in 1977. He kept detailed records of the growth of Showa Shinzan and through his savings he eventually became the owner of the new volcano. These intriguing original records may be viewed in the museum at the base of the volcano. Showa Shinzan stands next to the lower station of Mt Usu Ropeway. It takes approximately 10 mins by car or taxi(about 2000 yen one way) from Toyako Onsen.
Showashinzan, Sobetsu, Usu District, Hokkaido 052-0102