Start your year with — a VOLCANIC EXPLOSION! Japan’s most active volcano is also a great place for lava trail hiking, hot spring bathing and pure adventure.
Where is this magical volcano you ask? It’s down on Kyushu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture (1,300km from Tokyo) and that ash and fire throwing cone is SAKURAJIMA!
You can get there by ferry in 15 minutes from the city center for a ridiculous 180 yen / $1.50, about 4km across the sea.
Sakurajima is famous for island mikan, much smaller and sweeter than on the mainland. The Sakurajima DAIKON RADISH which can weigh as much as 45kg is also well known. It’s the biggest radish in the world. (Are you excited yet?)
If radishes aren’t enough, there’s that LAVA TRAIL and loads of paths for bicycling. Not far away are sea view onsen baths where you can soak up those minerals and long views across the sea.
The Sakurajima Visitor’s Center is the place to start your adventure.
Inside, data on the island’s volcanic activity and history is all documented with diagrams and videos. There’s also a gift shop with some cool things to buy.
I went in the off season (January) but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting. It just means you get the whole place to yourself.
The population on Sakurajima is quite old. I met a 97 year old woman who was walking around just fine. She was half my size but seemed to have twice my energy so I think there’s something truly magical about this island. I hope some of that magic rubs off onto you as well.
HOW TO GET THE SAKURAJIMA:
It’s a 90-115 minute flight from Tokyo (Haneda or Narita Airport)
or a 7 hour trip on the Shinkansen. Great if you have a JR Rail Pass!
Buses depart regularly from Kagoshima Airport to the city center where you can either grab a taxi to the ferry terminal or a bus from Chuo-Kagoshima Station. It’s a short ride.
THE SAKURAJIMA FERRY:
It’s 24 hours, departing every 15-20 minutes.
Adults: 180 yen ($1.50)
Child: 90 Yen ($0.75)
Ferry Schedule and Guide: http://www.city.kagoshima.lg.jp/sakurajima-ferry/english/guides.html
Try a bowl of udon or soba on board for 480 yen!
Sakurajima Visitor’s Center
* Video Footage allowed for promotional use from the center’s TV monitors from management. (Thank you!)
This show has been created and produced by John Daub ジョン・ドーブ. He’s been living and working in Japan for over 18 years and regularly reports on TV for Japan’s International Channel.