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2024.03 Exploring Sakurajima and Kagoshima: Volcanic Adventures and Gourmet Experiences [PR]

Sakurajima is an active volcano and has long been part of daily life in Kagoshima


Yunohira Observatory


Kagoshima Prefecture is at the southern tip of Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island. The city of Kagoshima is known for Sakurajima, an active volcano that rises from Kinko Bay, and occasionally emits smoke and rains ashes on the surrounding area.

Situated directly across from the city, Sakurajima is a symbol of the region and an everyday reminder of the power of nature. Explore the unique geology of Sakurajima and enjoy authentic cuisine and warm hospitality in Kagoshima.


Enjoy a stunning view of the volcano from downtown Kagoshima



Sakurajima viewed from Shiroyama Observatory


You can feel the balmy atmosphere created by the active volcano as soon as you arrive in Kagoshima City. Get your bearings with a visit to Shiroyama Observatory and Shiroyama Promenade, which offer spectacular views of Sakurajima. Various plants grow along the 2-kilometer-long promenade, including ferns, sweet viburnum, and a 400-year-old camphor laurel tree. The hop-on hop-off City View Bus provides convenient access to Shiroyama Observatory. Consider purchasing a "CUTE" ticket, which allows unlimited travel on municipal buses, trains, and Sakurajima ferries for a whole day.



Outdoor Onsen Satsumanoyu, a hot spring with a view of Sakurajima


Kagoshima has many hot springs because of Sakurajima and its volcanic activity. After visiting Shiroyama Observatory to see the volcano, stop by Outdoor Onsen Satsumanoyu, a hot spring where you can relax and unwind with a view of Sakurajima from the bath. 


An exhilarating exploration of Sakurajima’s geology



Sakurajima Ferry


The ships coming and going in Kinko Bay are a stirring sight for travelers to Kagoshima. Make your way to the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal near Waterfront Park and take a 15-minute ride on the Sakurajima Ferry to reach the volcano. The scenic ferry ride builds anticipation for exploring Sakurajima.



Tsukiyomi Shrine on Sakurajima


After you arrive at Sakurajima Port, stop by Tsukiyomi Shrine, located just a 2-minute walk away. This historic shrine is believed to date back 1,300 years and is considered a site with strong spiritual energy. Travelers often pray for good luck here before setting off to explore the volcano. From the observation deck on the shrine grounds, you get a remarkable panorama of Sakurajima, Kinko Bay, and Kagoshima City. 


Video corner at the Sakurajima Visitor Center


Ride around Sakurajima on an e-bike


Before you set out to explore the volcano, learn about the history and geology of the region at the Sakurajima Visitor Center, which is equipped with a large-screen theater, topographical map, and other displays that help you understand how Sakurajima was formed. Head to National Lodgings Rainbow Sakurajima to rent an e-bike, and take off for a ride around Sakurajima. The motor-assisted electric bicycle makes it easy to tackle Sakurajima’s hilly terrain.


Kayaking in the bay near Sakurajima


Sunset over Kinko Bay


For an immersive adventure, book a kayak experience with a local tour operator such as Kagoshima Kayaks to see Sakurajima from a different angle. Looking up from the water, you can appreciate the scale of the volcano. Alternatively, take to the water on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP), suitable for all ages.

Yunohira Observatory is the highest accessible point on Sakurajima. The observatory affords a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, including the rough terrain of Kitadake, one of Sakurajima’s three peaks. Below, you can see the Taisho lava field and the urban landscape of Kagoshima City beyond Kinko Bay. If you visit around sunset, you can see the slopes of the volcano become bathed in a pink glow and observe the twinkling lights of the city beyond.



Sakurajima Yogan Nagisa Park & Foot Spa


Before you return to downtown Kagoshima by ferry, visit the Sakurajima Yogan Nagisa Park & Foot Spa to relax after a day of walking. The foot spa in the foothills of Sakurajima is the biggest of its kind in Japan, with a total length of around 100 meters. If you prefer a full immersion in a hot spring bath, Magma Onsen in National Lodgings Rainbow Sakurajima is ideal for a soothing soak. Enjoy the hot springs that well up from 1,000 meters below the ground, with views of Kinko Bay.



Sakurajima volcanic ash art


For a unique hands-on experience, create a piece of art using Sakurajima’s volcanic ash for a one-of-a-kind memento of your journey.


Discover Kagoshima’s gourmet culture 


Kurobuta pork shabu-shabu


Kuroushi beef steak on an iron plate


When you return to the city, make your way to the downtown Tenmonkan area to explore Kagoshima’s distinct cuisine. You can enjoy a range of dishes that use locally sourced premium ingredients, such as Kurobuta pork, Kuroushi beef, and Kurosatsumadori chicken. Don’t miss the back alley Gourmet-dori (“Gourmet Street”) in the Tenmonkan neighborhood, where you can explore small restaurants and bars serving delicious dishes in a casual atmosphere.


Gourmet-dori in Tenmonkan


Restaurants in Meizanbori


To cap off your trip, visit Meizanbori, another alley filled with memorable dining establishments, considered one of Kagoshima’s hidden gems. Illuminated by the warm glow of hanging paper lanterns, this streetscape of izakayas and bars is imbued with nostalgia and offers a taste of authentic regional cuisine.


How to get there


Kagoshima is accessible by Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, with a transfer in Hakata (Fukuoka). Flights are a quick and convenient option, with services from major cities and some international destinations. Kinko Bay also serves as a gateway to Yakushima, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site with an ancient forest of giant Yakusugi cedar trees. High-speed ferries depart from the South Pier of Kagoshima Main Port to Yakushima and other islands, for further adventures.


Related Links



Kagoshima Convention & Visitors Bureau




Outdoor Onsen Satsumanoyu


Sakurajima Ferry


Kagoshima Kayaks


The Sakurajima Volcanic Ash Art






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