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Sakurajima (桜島) is one of Japan's most active volcanoes and the symbol of Kagoshima. The volcano smokes constantly, and minor eruptions often take place multiple times per day. Located in the middle of Kagoshima Bay, Sakurajima is the area's most prominent geographic feature, having an elevation of 1117 meters and a circumference of about 50 kilometers.

Before a powerful eruption in 1914, Sakurajima used to be an island in the bay, but the massive lava flow from that eruption created the volcano's current land connection to the Osumi Peninsula in the east. For the majority of travelers, however, the volcano is still most easily accessed by the ferries that run the 3.5 kilometers between Kagoshima Port and the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal.

Sakurajima has three main peaks: Kita-dake ("north peak", 1117 meters), Naka-dake ("middle peak" 1060 meters) and Minami-dake ("southern peak", 1040 meters). The Minami-dake peak is currently the most active, with many eruptions taking place from the Showa Crater on the peak's eastern slope. It is prohibited to approach within two kilometers of the volcano's craters, but there are many observation points around Sakurajima where eruptions can be observed from about three kilometers away.

Travelers visiting Sakurajima can find many attractions just around the ferry terminal, including an onsen, foot baths, short hiking trails and an information center. Those who would like to further explore the volcano should travel by rental car, which can be taken across the water from Kagoshima by the ferries. Sightseeing buses, regular buses and rental bicycles are other possible methods of travel.

Around the ferry terminal

Nagisa Lava Trail

Nagisa Park Foot Bath

Sakurajima Visitor Center

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Admission: Free
Closed: No closing days

Magma Onsen

Daytime hours: 10:00 to 22:00
Daytime admission: 390 yen
Closed: No closing days

Dinosaur Park

Elsewhere around Sakurajima

Yunohira Observation Point

Kurokami Shrine Gate

Kurokami Observation Point

Arimura Observation Point

Getting there and around

How to get to Sakurajima

Central Kagoshima and Sakurajima are connected around the clock by frequent ferries. The one way ride takes 15 minute and costs 200 yen. The ferry terminal is a ten minute walk from JR Kagoshima Station or a five minute walk from the Suizokukan-guchi tram stop, and is also served by the City View Buses.

Cars can be taken onto the Sakurajima ferry and cost 1400 yen one way for 3-4 meter long cars or 1950 yen one way for 4-5 meter long cars. Those trying to avoid the ferry will need to make a 90 minute detour to reach the southeastern end of the Sakurajima peninsula via land (slightly faster if using the expressway).

How to get around Sakurajima

By far the easiest way to travel around Sakurajima is by rental car. Driving once around the coast of Sakurajima takes about an hour. Car rental outlets can be found in the city center and at Kagoshima Airport.

It is also possible to travel around Sakurajima by public transportation. There is a loop bus for tourists, the Sakurajima Island View Bus, that operates hourly from the ferry terminal to the Yunohira observation point and back. The fare depends on the distance traveled or is 500 yen for a 1-day pass.

Lastly, there are regular city buses that run roughly hourly from the ferry terminal along the northern coast and along the western coast of Sakurajima; however, they do not make the entire loop around the peninsula. To access the Kurokami area, a transfer of buses is required along the way, with connections only every 2-3 hours.

How to get to and around Kagoshima

Hotels around Kagoshima

Top rated in Kagoshima
Budget:
    • SHIROYAMA HOTEL kagoshima
      Luxury
      Featuring an open-air natural hot spring bath overlooking Sakurajima Volcano and the sea, SHIROYAMA HOTEL kagoshima offers a spa centre, 7 dining options and a concierge. Rooms have free wired internet. Some rooms come with a view of Sakurajima volcano and Kinko-wan Bay. All are equipped with an LCD TV with satellite channels, a fridge and a safe. The spa at SHIROYAMA HOTEL kagoshima offers a mist sauna, a flower bath and massage treatments. Guests can also enjoy karaoke and shopping. Restaurant Le Ciel offers panoramic city views and Western food, while other restaurants serve Japanese and Chinese specialities. Castle Park houses its own bakery and brewery. A free bus circulates between SHIROYAMA HOTEL kagoshima, JR Kagoshima Chuo Station and downtown area Tenmonkan, both a 10-minute drive away.
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    • Gracias
      Budget-friendly
      Gracias is a self-catering accommodation located in Kagoshima, just a 5-minute walk from the ferry terminals offering high speed boats and ferries to Yakushima and Sakurajima. Air-conditioned apartments are fitted with a flat-screen TV, a balcony and a full kitchen with a microwave, a refrigerator and a stovetop. Private bathrooms are equipped with a hairdryer, a bath and slippers. Each apartment also comes with a view of Sakurajima. Gracias Apartment is within a 2-minute walk from the nearest convenience store, a cafe and a restaurant, while JR Kagoshima Station is a 15-minute walk away. Kagoshimachuo Station is a 20-minute tram ride away, while Kagoshima Airport is located 28 km away. No meals are served on site.
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    • Hostel Tomal
      Budget-friendly
      Hostel Tomal offers accommodation in Kagoshima near Terukuni Shrine and Reimeikan. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The property is set 1.6 km from Museum of the Meiji Restoration and 1.7 km from Ishibashi Park. All rooms have a shared bathroom fitted with a shower and slippers, while selected rooms also offer a kitchen equipped with a microwave. Popular points of interest near the hostel include Minato Odori Park, Kagoshima City Museum of Art and St. Xavier Church. The nearest airport is Kagoshima Airport, 38 km from Hostel Tomal.
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    • Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kagoshima
      Luxury
      Opened in 2012, Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kagoshima is just a 2-minute walk from JR Kagoshima-Chuo Train Station and features a French restaurant and massage services. Its modern rooms impress with a 4-star decor and a spacious shower room with a bathtub. Free WiFi is available throughout the premises. Polished wood panelling, soft lights and plush carpets await guests in the rooms at Kagoshima Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel. Each room has an LCD TV with channels including CNN and China Central Television (CCTV), a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea, and the bathing area and toilet are separated for improved hygiene. Some rooms have views of Sakurajima volcano. The hotel is a 5-minute drive from the Ishin Furusato-kan Museum, which focuses on the Meiji Restoration. Sengan-en Japanese Garden is 6 km away. A free-use internet PC can be found at the lobby, and the 24-hour front desk offers laptops to guests at a surcharge. A coin launderette is available for use. A Japanese/Western breakfast is served for an extra fee at Kuwahara Restaurant, where French course lunches and dinners can also be enjoyed.
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    • Guesthouse Banvina
      Budget-friendly
      Guesthouse Banvina is located in Kagoshima, 2.1 km from Terukuni Shrine and 2.4 km from Kagoshima City Museum of Art. With a shared lounge, the 1-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen, and luggage storage for guests. At the guest house, every room is equipped with a desk. All units include bed linen. Popular points of interest near Guesthouse Banvina include Amu Plaza Kagoshima, Museum of the Meiji Restoration and St. Xavier Church. The nearest airport is Kagoshima Airport, 40 km from the accommodation.
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    • Apartment Hotel Ecott
      Mid-range
      Situated 6 km from Kagoshima Municipal Science Hall, Apartment Hotel Ecott features accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. Some units are fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, washing machine and a kettle, as well as a kitchen. The aparthotel provides a terrace. Museum of the Meiji Restoration is 8 km from Apartment Hotel Ecott, while Amu Plaza Kagoshima is 8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kagoshima Airport, 47 km from the accommodation.
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    • JR Kyushu Hotel Kagoshima
      Mid-range
      Directly connected to JR Kagoshima Chuo Shinkansen (bullet train) Station, JR Kyushu Hotel Kagoshima offers modern guest rooms with free Wi-Fi in 2 separate towers. Local Kagoshima cuisine can be savoured at the on-site restaurant. All rooms at JR Kyushu Hotel feature an LCD TV, air conditioning, air purifier and a small fridge. A hairdryer and toiletries are included in the en suite bathroom. Free luggage storage services are offered at the front desk. In-room massages and dry-cleanings can be arranged. There are also coin laundrettes and free-use internet PCs on site. Ekitei Satsuma restaurant serves traditional Kagoshima specialties, as well as other Japanese dishes. A hearty breakfast buffet is also offered there. Guests can reach Sakurajima in 30 minutes by bus and ferry. The hotel is a 7-minute drive from Terukuni Shrine, and a 13-minute drive from Senganen Garden. Kagoshima Aquarium is a 6-minute drive away. Kagoshima Airport is a 40-minute drive away.
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    • Dormy Inn Kagoshima
      Mid-range
      Dormy Inn Kagoshima offers modern accommodations with free wired internet access. Indoor/outdoor hot-spring baths are available for freshening up after a long day and massages can be requested for an extra cost. JR Kagoshima Chuo Train Station is a 5-minute taxi rde away. The air-conditioned rooms feature carpeted floors, a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags. Guests can enjoy video-on-demand movies on the flat-screen TV and wear the provided sleepwear. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer and slippers. Kagoshima Dormy Inn is a 5-minute drive from Saigo Cave and Tsurumaru Castle Ruins. Sengan Park is a 20-minute drive away. You can relax in the sauna rooms and use the coin-launderette on-site. Dry cleaning services are offered as well. English speaking staff can assist guests at the 24-hour front desk. A breakfast buffet is served at the dining room and free late-night noodles are served between 21:30 and 23:00.
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    • Kagoshima Sun Royal Hotel
      Luxury
      Boasting a 13th-floor hot-spring bath overlooking Kagoshima Bay, French and Japanese restaurants and a 24-hour reception, Sun Royal Hotel is 15 minutes from JR Kagoshima-Chuo Train Station on the free shuttle. Rooms offer views of either Kagoshima city or Sakurajima Island, and include an en suite bath with slippers and amenities. All are air-conditioned, with free wired internet and green tea. Guests can watch satellite channels and pay programmes on the LCD TV. Temmonkan-dori Road is 3 km from the hotel, and Kagoshima University is 2 km away. Bicycles are available for hire. Massages and saunas offer relaxation, while a concierge is available to help with activities. Currency exchange and luggage storage services are available at the front desk. The colonial-style Trian serves a daily Western buffet breakfast, and French cuisine and bay views are on offer at the 13th-floor Phoenix. Shichisai offers fresh Japanese dishes. Sky Bar Subaru has cocktails and panoramic views.
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    • Hotel Gate In Kagoshima Tenmonkan
      Mid-range
      Renovated in 2014, Hotel Gate In Kagoshima is a located a 5-minute walk from Tenmonkan Dori Tram Station and a 10-minute tram ride from JR Kagoshima Chuo Train Station.Free WiFi access is available at the entire property. Guests can enjoy complimentary coffee and read magazines at the lobby. The air-conditioned rooms feature a fridge and an electric kettle with green tea bags. Japanese Yukata robes are provided and guests can enjoy VOD channels on the flat-screen TV. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer. Some rooms have a balcony and a private open-air bath. A coin-launderette is on site and photocopying services are offered at the 24-hour front desk. Kagoshima Gate In Hotel is a 5-minute drive from Kagoshima Port and Kagoshima Aquarium. The Tenmonkan shopping arcade is a 3-minute walk away.
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