Devil’s Protuberances

Mt. Asama is located in southern Nagano Prefecture, close to the border with Gunma prefecture. It’s an active volcano that regularly belches smoke and occasionally something of a little more substance. The eastern flank is marked by a lava bed featuring an abundance of extremely jagged black rock protuberances known at Onioshidashi. Literally translated, the name means “pushed out by devils”. The story is that after a major eruption in 1783 locals encountering the newly formed lava beds described the scene saying it looked like subterranean devils had pushed the jagged boulders right out of the earth. Today you have to pay a few hundred yen to get in, but nicely paved paths wind their way thru the surreal rock formations providing multiple photo ops. The contrast of this harsh landscape and the refreshingly lush Shiraito Falls just a few kilometers away reminds me of the similarly named “Devil’s Playground” high on Pikes Peak and the much more peaceful “Garden of the Gods” just a few miles further down the hill. While walking thru the lava beds last month we were treated to a very nice belch of white smoke emerging from the summit crater. These were taken with the Pentax 67ii and the 55/4 on Tri-X 400.


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