Sakurajima, an active volcano that still continues to smoke
Kagoshima’s symbolic Sakurajima is an active volcano on Kinko Bay that stands 1,117m, has an area of 80km² and a circumference of 52km. Since its formation approximately 26,000 years ago, there have been 17 major eruptions and even now, small-scale eruptions continue to occur daily. About 4600 people currently live within the vicinity, and the appearance of smoke coming out of Sakurajima also attracts a lot of tourists. The one-way ferry ride from Kagoshima City takes 15 minutes, and ferries, which can also take on vehicles, depart from port every 15 to 30 minutes. Since smoke is still coming out of the volcano, it is prohibited to enter the 2km zone around the 2 calderas, and the highest point that tourists can enter is limited to the 4th stage of the northern peak known as the Yunohira Observation Deck.
A tourist spot with a beautiful and dynamic landscape spreading out
The Yunohira observation deck is face-to-face with the mountain surface of Sakurajima, and it is famous as a scenic viewing spot where you can see Kinko Bay and the city of Kagoshima down below. At the Sakurajima Visitor Center which provides commentary on the eruption history and mechanisms, there are videos which are subtitled in English, Chinese and Korean. With advance reservations, you can also participate in kayaking and guided walks. At Sakurajima Lava Nagisa Park, you can take a break at a 100m-long foot bath using a natural hot spring while viewing Sakurajima. The Kurokami Buried Torii Gate is the place where the gate of the Haragosha Shrine was buried in ash over a period of 1 day during the major eruption of 1914. It has remained in that state and is a reminder of the tragedy of that eruption. You can move around within Sakurajima by city bus or tour bus, but for an efficient tour, the Sakurajima Island View (sightseeing bus) is convenient. There are 8 buses per day and one trip takes about an hour with stops at roadside stations, the visitor center, the Torishima Viewpoint, the Akamizu Observation Plaza which has a commemorative plaque for singer Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi, and Yunohira Observation Deck. With the one-day bus ticket, you can sightsee at your leisure.