Kyushu | Fukuoka Sightseeing

Japan’s Former Island Volcano at Sakurajima

View of the bay with nature, from the island of Sakurajima.

View of the bay with nature, from the island of Sakurajima.

My Sakurajima trip was on a rather gloomy and dull  summer day when clouds were heavily and stubbornly covering the sky. Even though it was steaming hot and awfully grey I still remember the extraordinary beauty and nature spanning around. Even bad weather could not undermine the natural, densely green and rocky landscape.

The volcano island of Sakurajima is located in Kagoshima bay. Not only is it one of the world’s most active volcanoes, but also the most stirring symbol of nature around Kagoshima prefecture. Constant but minor eruptions frequently change the city landscape, covering the air with a black ash.

Houses of Sakurajima with nature of the island and water in surrounding.

Houses of Sakurajima with nature of the island and water in surrounding.

Its history is quite interesting to hear and read about. In the past, Sakurajima was an island but a powerful eruption in 1914 transformed its landscape, connecting its land to Osumi Pennisula. Nowadays, despite its active yet small blasts, Sakurajima offers a great natural exploration even though hiking its highest peak has been prohibited since 1955.

The mountain molten is still easy accessible by ferries which run between Kagoshima Port and Sakurajima Ferry Terminal 24 hours a day. I was very surprised that it only takes 15 minutes to reach Sakurajima’s shore. Once you step on the volcanic land you can explore its domain by sightseeing tour buses that depart twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. You can also rent a bike or  car. However, you need to take into account that driving around Sakurajima offers you a deeper exploration to discover a local, rather than tourist, character. And I would highly recommend you to do so.

During my drive, I could see that life around this active volcano has been disappearing – more and more shops or houses are being abandoned. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make the volcano area unattractive to visit. Quite to the contrary; because of that, this place is even more fascinating to scrutinize.

A road and abandoned building being slowly consumed by nature on the island of Sakurajima. A road and buildings being with some nature on the island of Sakurajima. A shop on the island of Sakurajima.

City scenery with a little nature on the island of Sakurajima with the volcano in the background.

Clouds covering the volcano and surrounding nature at the island of Sakurajima.

Clouds covering surrounding nature at the island of Sakurajima.

Clouds covering the volcano and surrounding nature at the island of Sakurajima.

For nature’s finest spectacle, there are a few observation points placed three kilometers away from the volcano’s crater. Here, breathtaking eruptions can be seen. A popular one is Yunohira Observation Point, located on the western slope around 350 meters above sea level. Another is Arimura, where travelers can experience more dramatic views of past volcanic rage.

Houses of Sakurajima with nature of the island and water in surrounding. Clouds covering the volcano and surrounding nature at the island of Sakurajima. Clouds covering the volcano and surrounding nature at the island of Sakurajima.

Clouds covering the volcano and surrounding nature at the island of Sakurajima with a house and road at the front..

The scenery from observatory points and past lava fields aren’t the only main attractions. For those who crave to discover more, it is worth visiting the spiritual sights of Sakurajima – the Kuromaki Shrine gate. The spot enshrines a significant memory of a past eruption, one which covered the ground with up to three meters of volcanic ash and pumice, leaving only the very top of torii still visible.

Shrine related building on the island of Sakurajima. Shrine related building on the island of Sakurajima with nature all around. Shrine related building on the island of Sakurajima with nature all around. Shrine related object on the island of Sakurajima with nature all around.

Moreover, Sakurajima is a great place where one can easily relax in one of the unique magma onsen, rich with natural hot baths. Having its abundant supplies from volcanic waters, the hot springs attract day-trippers who want to unwind and observe the sea panorama whilst warmly bathing.

Bench on the island of Sakurajima with water in the center and nature close ahead. View of the bay with nature, from the island of Sakurajima. Bench on the island of Sakurajima with water in the center and nature to both sides..

Sakurajima is also full of attractive and well-known foot baths. Long and free-of-charge, they stretch dozens of meters and are located close to a ferry terminal in Nagisa Park. I happily used these after a whole day of strolling around, as my feet felt numb and tired. I have to say, they are the perfect places to take a break with the decent views of the bay and Kagoshima city. Just one important point – the water is really hot. If you are not particularly keen on soaking your feet in naturally heated water, you can choose one of the benches instead to enjoy the views.

Having said that, I finished my sightseeing observing and admiring the sunset whilst my feet were joyfully boiling in volcanic hot waters.

View of the bay with nature, from the island of Sakurajima.

 

Kagoshima-Sakurajima Ferry

Address: Chuoko-shinmachi, Kagoshima City,Kagoshima 890-0076

Access: 7 minutes’ walk from Kagoshima station.

Taking the “City View Bus,” get off at Kagoshima Suizokukan-mae bus stop and walk one minute.

Taking the city bus, Nangoku bus, or Kagoshima kotsu bus, get off at Suisokukan-mae and walk one minute.

Taking the tram, get off at suizokukan-guchi and walk 5 minutes.

Price: Adult – 160 Yen; Child – 80 Yen

Time table:

Time table for the ferry so that one can go view the nature of the island of Sakurajima.

(source: Kagoshima)

 

Sakurajima Island View Tour Bus

Boarding point: Sakurajima port

Cost: Adults: 120 yen ~ 440 yen; children: 60 yen ~ 220 yen. One-Day Ticket (unlimited rides)/Adults: 500 yen; children: 250 yen.

Time table:

Time table for the ferry so that one can go view the nature of the island of Sakurajima.

(source: Kagoshima Kankou)

 

Sakurajima Yogan Nagisa Park – Footbath

Address: 1722-3 Sakurajima Yokoyamacho, Kagoshima 891-1419, Kagoshima Prefecture

Access: 9 minutes’ walk from Sakurajima port.

Hours: 9:00-sunset

Cost: Free

    
Name Sakurajima
Category Nature exploration
Address Sakurajima akoubarucho Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture 891-1417
Access
Sakurajima akoubarucho Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture 891-1417
Opening Hours 24 hours a day
Price Range adult 160yen, child 80yen, small car 880yen, normal car 1970yen
Payment options Cash