Sakurajima volcano is the symbol of Kagoshima and is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes. Located in the middle of Kagoshima Bay, Sakurajima is the area’s most prominent geographic feature, heaving an elevation of 1,117 meters and a circumference of about 50 kilometers. The best way to access the volcano is via the many ferries which operate between the Sakurajima Ferry terminal and Kagoshima Port. This terminal is where you’ll also find many attractions including an onsen, foot baths, short hiking trails and an information center.
Sakurajima is a stratovolcano consisting of two peaks, the North Peak and the South Peak, and has multiple minor eruptions every day. There is an observatory which offers some great views located midway up the summit, this is a perfect spot to experience the sheer power of the volcano as you can witness the spewing smoke of Sakurajima up close. In between eruptions, bus tours go round the volcanic ex-island.
The must-see attractions on Sakurajima include Lava Road, Kurokami Buried Gate, Lava Beach Esplanade and the Tsukiyomi Shrine. An excellent pit stop for history buffs, the Sakurajima Visitor Centre is home to a number of exhibitions which provide visitors with information on the volcano, the evolution of its plant life, as well as shedding some light on the history and mechanics of volcanic eruptions. It also has a theatre, georama, and computers in which you can interact with information about the island.
An iconic image of Sakurajima is the half-buried torii gate located on the far side of the volcano. The gate was covered by an eruption so as it only pokes a meter or so out of the black ground, making a very interesting image to behold. For the fitness fanatics, people travel from all over Japan to take part in 5km, 10km, and half-marathon races of Sakurajima. These events usually take place in the first half of March.
If you don’t have a car, it’s going to make your journey around Sakurajima slightly tricky. However, there is a shuttle service option which isn't a bad alternative to driving. The Island View Bus will pick you up from the ferry terminal and travels in a loop stopping at a number of points of interest, including the Yunohira Lookout, Yunohirakuchi, the Akamizu Lookout, the Torishima Lookout, the Visitor Center, Rainbow Sakurajima, and Megumi-kan. The bus stops for five minutes at the Toshima and Akamizu Lookouts, and for 15 minutes at the Yunohira Lookout.
The Island View Bus runs eight times a day with the first at 9 am and the last at 4.35 pm. A single journey will cost from 120 to 440 yen for adults, or there is an all-day ticket available from 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for kids.
Sakurajima Volcano Overview
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR