Posts Tagged ‘Sakurajima Volcano’

Sakurajima Volcano Kagoshima

Monday, September 13th, 2010

If you have a few days in Kagoshima then spending one in Kagoshima city, and one visiting Sakurajima Volcano makes a good itinerary. The volcano is still active, and on some days sends smoke over Kagoshima.

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To get there take the Sakurajima Ferry. This leaves from Kagoshima Port ever 10-15 minutes for most of the day, and ever 30-60 minutes outside of peak hours. The journey to Sakurajima Port is only 15 minutes. For adults the ferry fee is ¥150 and ¥80 for children and you pay when you reach Sakurajima.

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Some of Sakurajima’s sites are located in easy walking distance of the port, but for others (especially the various view points) you’ll either need your own car, or to take the sightseeing bus. There is one bus in the morning and one in the afternoon at 9:40am and 14:20pm departing from Sakurajima Port. The trip lasts two and a quarter hours. The tickets are ¥1700 for adults and ¥850 for children. This was correct as of August 2010, make sure you check the departure times, and cost before you go!

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On the bus there is a guide who gives commentary, but all in Japanese. Fortunately if you can read English there is a translated text version of the talking. The guide will tell you which bit he/she is up to at regular intervals.

As the bus takes you round you can see the volcano from various angles. One of the stops is at the Yunohira Observation Point from where you can see the effect the volcano has had on the landscape.

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There are two buried Torii gates along the way. Here is one of them that we stopped by.

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There are plenty of volcanic rocks formed from past lava flows along the way. Here are some examples.

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The bus then drops you back at the ferry port. If you want to nearby visitor centre make sure you plan it in as it closes early (I think 5pm). Between the visitor centre and the sea if the Yogan Nagisa Park Foot Spa. From here you can soak your feet in fresh natural hot spring water. It is free and you can get a good view of the bay while you relax.

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There are other attractions on the island if you have more time such as the Sakurajima Dinosaur Park and several hot springs.

Kagoshima, Japan

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

We arrived in Kagoshima via the Naha to Kagoshima ferry and took the shuttle bus to JR Kagoshima station. At the station we picked up the very useful ‘An Insider’s Guide to Touring Kagoshima’ from the tourist information, and also bought a City View pass for ¥600 which would allow us to use the Kagoshima City View buses and the Kagoshima City Tram.

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First we took a ride in the ferris wheel on the top of the Amu Plaza shopping centre next to the station. From the wheel you can get a good view of the city, and the Sakurajima Volcano which is across the water. The volcano is still active and regularly sends smoke into the air.

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Next we got the City View bus to the Sengan-en garden which contains plants, water features, and various artifacts, such as this cannon, and model ship. The garden was built during the Edo period in 1658 and was a second home for the Shimazu family, who ruled the Satsuma domain.

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You get some great views of the volcano from the gardens, but for a slightly different view you can go to the Shiroyama Observation Point. Again this is one of the stops on the City View bus.

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The volcano’s presence is everywhere, from the views you get of it through much of the city, to the black ash which is all over the pavements.

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There are plenty of shops and cafés in the city’s large covered shopping area.

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Here is a view of part of the city at night with the usual Japanese bright lights.

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And finally this is the Amu Plaza at night with the ferris wheel. There are some good restaurants (including Indian and Italian if you don’t like Japanese food!) on the top floor of the Amu Plaza. There is also a cinema, clothing shops, and a food court.

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For more on the volcano read my post on visiting Sakurajima Volcano.