Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/55

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49
THE GREAT JAPANESE VOLCANO ASO

scenery was magnificent. High mountains rose on every hand out of the fairly wide and level bottom-land within the canyon. But this was not the old canyon bottom, it was the upper surface of the lava filling. We made this discovery on reaching the middle of the valley, where much to our surprise we came upon a tremendous gorge cut squarely out of it by the river, which is eating its way down again to find its old course. It has already reached a depth of 300 or 400 feet through the lava flow and has left a rift vertically walled on either side by columns of andesite that give a stately beauty to the cliffs. The river rushes down a steep channel, always growing with the addition of little tributaries, which tumble in over the parapet from out of jungles of greenery that overhang the edge and festoon the rocks with drooping purple tassels of wistaria. In its lower course it flows more quietly and widens, the rapids become less frequent and the canyon loses the intensity of its angles. But still the old lava flow continues. From the village of Takeshita, which means "below the falls," we took a rowboat and glided down the broad stream the rest of the way to the sea, away from the wild grandeur of the mountain scenery into the midst of the picturesque landscapes of the Japanese lowland.