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Discover Food, Culture and Adventure on Kyushu’s Sakurajima Volcano

Discover the unique landscape and culture of Sakurajima – Japan’s most active volcano! An icon of Kyushu’s Kagoshima City, Sakurajima is home to a small community who have learned to live with the wilder forces of nature.


Enjoy a short ferry ride from Kagoshima City to Sakurajima.


Introducing Sakurajima, a stunning icon of Kagoshima City

Sakurajima dominates the view of the bay from Kagoshima City. This active volcano often has a plume of smoke above it and hundreds of minor eruptions take place each year. Sakurajima was formerly an island, but lava flows from a major eruption in 1914 connected it to the Osumi Peninsula . Despite this, the quickest and easiest way to access Sakurajima is still by ferry from Kagoshima Port. Fortunately, the ferry runs regularly, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

After arriving at Sakurajima ferry terminal, your first stop should be Sakurajima Visitor Center which has exhibits on the local ecosystem, the volcano and its history of eruptions.


Enjoy views of Sakurajima while relaxing in a footbath.
Photo credit: Kagoshima City


Outside the center is a hot spring footbath where you can soak your toes while enjoying a fine view of the mountain and the sea.


Hop on an e-bike and venture close to the crater

Cycling with a fresh sea breeze on your face is one of the best ways to see Sakurajima. Cross bikes suitable for cycling long distances are available to rent from Sakurajima Visitor Center, and e-bikes can be rented from a local hotel. The e-bike's electric motor will give your pedal power a boost, so you won’t get too tired.


View Sakurajima’s volcano crater on an e-bike tour.


If you prefer a guided tour instead, e-bike tours are also an option. On the 3.5-hour tour, you will travel up the volcano to an observation point near the no-entry zone two kilometers from the crater. Please note the area is strictly off limits and only observable when accompanied by a licensed guide. Here you can learn how local people have adapted to life on an active volcano, and view the rugged, volcanic landscape for yourself while safety is ensured thanks to your guide. 


Photo credit: Kagoshima Convention & Visitors Bureau


Adventure around the coast of Sakurajima on land and sea


Although the e-bike electric assist makes climbing a breeze, if you'd prefer to ascend on foot, why not hike six kilometers up the mountain to Yunohira Observatory ?  Located 373 meters above sea level, this is the highest point on Sakurajima that is open to the public and affords great views over the smoking crater and Kagoshima Bay. Buses are also available to explore the area if desired.


Kayak tours provide unique, captivating views of the island. 
Photo Credit: ©Kagoshima Kayaks


Another way to view Sakurajima is from the sea. A six-hour kayaking and trekking tour takes you on a spectacular kayak tour around the island to a spot only accessible from the sea. Here, you can prepare lunch together using local ingredients before trekking through canyons created by lava.


The view from Yunohira Observatory.

Another kayak tour features a simpler course from the ferry terminal that takes only 2.5 hours, and guides visitors by kayak to a hidden beach and a search for natural hot spring baths!


Explore the rich local cuisine of Sakurajima

The fertile volcanic soil of Sakurajima is a blessing to local farmers. Two of the most famous local products are Sakurajima daikon (the world’s heaviest radish) and Sakurajima komikan (a tiny variety of mandarin orange). You can buy these radishes, oranges and other products made with them at rest stops and souvenir stores on Sakurajima. You can find volcano-themed “magma ramen” noodles and “magma curry,” as well as meals that are made with local ingredients like amberjack sashimi, komikan-flavored noodles and of course the famous daikon radish.


Snap a photo with a giant daikon radish on Sakurajima.
Photo credit: Kagoshima city

Enjoy fireworks at the Kagoshima Kinko Bay Summer Night Festival

The Kagoshima Kinko Bay Summer Night Festival is an annual summer festival held in August where 15,000 fireworks are launched into the night sky. In this dramatic setting at the foot of an active volcano, the dazzling fireworks that shoot into the air and cascade over Sakurajima will simply take your breath away.


Top off your evening with a dazzling fireworks show. 
Photo credit: Kagoshima city



    About the author

    Author: Michael Lambe
    Profile: Michael is a British writer and translator based in Kobe who has been happily exploring Japan’s language and culture for over 25 years.





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