Kagoshima and Sakurajima
Sakurajima is a volcano in Japan, near Kagoshima in southern Kyushu. It’s a perfect day trip from Fukuoka, and a very different way to spend the day – it’s not every day you visit an active volcano!
Exploring an Active Volcano
There are over 100 volcanoes in Japan. The islands are full of volcanic activity, which is why there are so many hot springs, like the ones we went to in Beppu. The most famous is Mount Fuji, which is also active. Sakurajima, on the other hand, erupts every day! They aren’t always explosive, and it’s perfectly safe to visit. People even live there! Even so, it’s kind of exciting knowing you’re right by an active volcano.
If you want a closer look at the (somewhat worrying!) “Rules of Sakurajima” from the leaflet in the video, they’re on the Geo Park website.
See what it’s like in my video:
There were so many amazing views. I love the look of the buildings in the video thumbnail, taken just as we left Kagoshima on the ferry. They have a polynesian look to them, which fits with how Kagoshima’s one of the closest points to Okinawa, the Hawaii of Japan.
And this view of Sakurajima from the Yunohira observatory:
I certainly wasn’t expecting to be surrounded by a forest of fir trees on all sides:
And this is beautiful too, taken from a park near the Nagisa foot baths by the visitor centre:
Things to Do on Sakurajima
Only a few of the sights can be reached on foot – to see the rest you’ll need to rent a car, cycle or take the bus. The bus we took was the Island View Tour, which goes around attractions near the ferry port. If you have more time, there’s also a bus that goes around the perimeter of the whole island. Bus details are here.
- Rent bikes and cycle round the island
- Look round the volcano visitor centre
- Take a foot bath in the hot spring water at the Nagisa foot baths (free)
- Walk the lava trail
- Take pictures from the various observation points
- See the buried shrine gate at Kurokami
- Daikon radish fields – the largest daikon in the world!
- There’s also a dinosaur park! (aimed at children)
There are some suggested courses on the Geo Park website (with that adorable volcano mascot!).
As well as the regular ferry that we took, there’s also a more scenic ferry trip that takes you on a tour before arriving at Sakurajima.
There are also things to do in Kagoshima if you have more time, like an aquarium.
Where to Eat
If you want to eat at the cafe we went to in the video, it’s very close to the ferry port, opposite the Family Mart convenience store with the brown sign. It’s called the Hinoshima Megumi-kan Rest Stop. And luckily for me they have a vegetarian option! Their specialty is orange noodles – they taste the same as regular noodles but I’m guessing contain local mikan as an ingredient somehow. The meals were large, pretty cheap and you order from a vending machine. There’s an all-you-can-drink hot and cold drinks bar, and they serve udon and ramen sets with tempura vegetables.
Sakurajima Guide Map
The tourist map from the video’s available here as a pdf.
How to Get to Sakurajima
It’s absolutely possible to visit Kagoshima and Sakurajima as a day trip from Fukuoka or Kumamoto, thanks to the bullet train, which is amazing considering how far away it is on the map. The trip’s covered by your JR Pass, apart from the ferry.
- Take the shinkansen to Kagoshima-Chuo (only about 1.5 hours from Hakata).
- Take the JR Nippo line to Kagoshima (just a couple of minutes).
- Short walk to the ferry port.
- Ferry across to Sakurajima. It runs 24 hours a day so you don’t have to worry about missing the last ferry. It’s 160 yen (pay on the Sakurajima side). They don’t take cards so you’ll need cash.
More Things to Do in Kyushu
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