Sakurajima - Japan's Most Active Volcano The Japanese volcano with the most personality

    Recently, people have been talking a lot about Sakurajima, an island that is home to Japan’s most active volcano. Experts say it might violently erupt soon. The seismograph is off the charts. Actually, Tofugu made a video about it recently if you want to catch up on the news.

    But actually, the volcano at Sakurajima erupts quite frequently. Plumes of smoke are a common sight. I went to Sakurajima before all the hubbub started, so I can show you what the volcano is normally like, when people aren’t freaking out about it.

    Sakurajima pathway through a tori gate

    Sakurajima, which means, “Cherry blossom Island,” is the most famous sightseeing spot in Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan. If you head down that way, be sure to check it out. It’s not often you can go see a smoking volcano!

    A smoking volcano on Sakurajima

    It was just an island in the bay until a powerful eruption in 1914. The “-jima” (島) in Sakurajima actually means “island.” But after 1914, which was the largest volcanic eruption in Japan of the 20th century, the lava turned the island into a peninsula! That’s a pretty impressive lava flow. By that time, it was too late to change the name, so it’s still called Sakurajima.

    Buried shrine at Sakurajima
    Buried torii gate at Sakurajima

    You can tell how massive the lava flow from that eruption must have been by depth at which this shrine gate is buried. That lava connected the island and the Osumi Peninsula.

    Hazy view of the volcano
    Woman posing in front of volcano

    As you can see in the picture, the air was so filled with smoke and ash that we barely able to open our eyes at some points. Even though this was a regular day, the volcano was still active enough to blind us a little. You can imagine what it would be like if it really erupts!

    Stone sign

    This is a great observation platform. It’s called Yunohira Tembousho. You get a great view. If you look at the bottom left of the photo you can see two people taking a selfie with Sakurajima. This area offers some great photo opportunities. チーズ!

    View of ocean from the top of a mountain

    The view of the sea and the Osumi Peninsula from the volcano is quite nice too.

    Crazy rock monument of a man with a guitar

    Regrettably, at the end of our trip we weren’t able to make it to this great rock and roll monument, which is nearby Sakurajima. So close, yet so far away. If you go there, please find it for me.

    Sakurajima

    Pros

    • There aren't a lot of active volcanoes that are also sightseeing spots in Japan.
    • A nice view.

    Cons

    • A little difficult to get to. You have to get to Chuo station first, then take a ferry ride.

    Overall Rating

    6

    Accessibility Rating

    4

    Fun Rating

    7

    Uniqueness Rating

    8

    Additional Information

    Sakurajimaakoubarucho
    Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture 891-1417
    Japan

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