Abstract Using an infrared radiation thermometer, measurements by remote sensing were carried out for surface temperatures of the bottom-floor and wall of the central pit and its surrounding crater bottom of Mihara volcano, Ooshima, Japan. Isotherms for the wall of the central pit are compared with the thermal and other surface manifestations. Heat discharge from the summit crater of Mihara volcano is estimated on the basis of various meteorological and other techniques, and for convenience of computation it is divided into the following three categories; latent and sensible heat transferred by ascending volcanic gas; heat emitted from the bottom-floor and wall of the central pit; and heat transported conductively and convectively from the underground heat source through the western, southern and eastern parts of the crater bottom. The computed heat discharge is estimated to be 1.4 x 10 7 cal s −1, which is about one order of magnitude less than that of the minor eruption on 28 February 1974. The methodology developed here for estimation of the heat discharge from a volcano can also be applied to other volcanoes.