Mount Aso volcano in Japan causes travel chaos in first eruption in 22 years

The previous eruption of Mount Aso was in 1991

Plumes of volcanic ash caused flight cancellations and disruptions yesterday in the first eruption of a Japanese volcano in more than 22 years.

Mount Aso - situated on Kyushu island 625 miles (1,005km) south from the capital Tokyo - spewed out lava, debris and smoke while expelling columns of ash 3,280 feet (1km) into the sky, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Dozens of flights from Kumamoto Airport, in the nearest city, were cancelled by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways due to poor visibility in the area.

Meteorologists warned residents that volcanic stones and ash could fall within a one-kilometre radius of the centre of the volcano, which is one of the largest in the world, Channel News Asia reported.

Nearby cities of Bungo-Ono, in Oita Prefecture, and the town of Gokase, in Miyazaki Prefecture, have been blanketed in thick layers of volcanic ash in the first eruption from Mount Aso since 1991.

An eruption by another volcano, Mount Ontake, in Nagano west of Tokyo, killed around 60 people on 27 September in the middle of a busy hiking season.