Looming over Kinko Bay, Sakurajima is well known as the symbol of Kagoshima. The volcanic peninsula is 1,117 meters in elevation at its highest point (the northern peak of the summit, Kitadake ) and about 52 kilometers in circumference. The approximately 4,600 inhabitants deal with eruptions as a part of everyday life, while enjoying unique benefits like hot springs and the Sakurajima daikon, the world’s largest radish. The city of Kagoshima, home to a population of 600,000, lies only four kilometers across the bay. This proximity makes the accessibility of Sakurajima, which can be reached in a mere fifteen minutes by ferry from the city center, another of its draws.
The constantly smoking Sakurajima is an impressive sight, and many visitors come from elsewhere in Japan and all over the world to get a look at the active volcano. There are several observation areas from which you can view Sakurajima. The best spot to watch eruptions is Kurokami Observation Point. A sweeping vista of rugged lava fields can be seen at Arimura Observation Point, while the Tabi-no-Sato Volcanic Observatory gives a full view of the highly active Showa Crater. Some of the observation areas also have gift shops, where you can find lava plates and other unique Sakurajima souvenirs.
A variety of active itineraries are available, including short treks through the lava fields, guided walks around the volcano, and sea-kayak tours. You can also try your hand at unique activities like baking pizza in a build-it-yourself lava kiln, or making artwork with volcanic ash. There are so many ways to explore as the living heart of the earth beats beneath your feet.