Sakurajima Volcano Half Day Tour
Sakurajima Volcano towers over the city of Kagoshima City and is often considered the symbol of Kagoshima. Being an active volcano does create a bit of concern for many travelers, but Kagoshima City and its 600,000 residents have coexisted with the volcano for hundreds of years. Sakurajima is not something to be feared, but rather anticipated as a wonderful natural feature worth visiting. As Sakurajima is located just a few kilometers from downtown Kagoshima, it is easily accessible by the Sakurajima Ferry. This week, I’m going to take you on a simple half day trip to Sakurajima using Sakurajima Ferry that can be fully enjoyed on foot.
Sakurajima Ferry Terminal can be accessed from the tram stop “Suizokukan-guchi.” However, I recommend getting off at “Izuro-dori” and taking a walk through Dolphin Port and the bayside park. This is a nice area with many small shops, cafes, and restaurants. Once you arrive to the ferry port, departures occur about every 15 minutes. The fare is only 160yen and is paid upon arrival to Sakurajima, so you simply have to walk on the ferry and enjoy the ride.
Once on the ferry, it is a quick 15 minutes from departure to arrival. There is an indoor cabin with seating and some kiosks that sell snacks, drinks, and some light meals. There is an observation deck above the cabin to get some fresh air and a great chance to get a picture from the middle of Kinko Bay. The port on Sakurajima was recently remodeled and now has an information center with English information, as well as a café if you need a coffee break.
Once you arrive to Sakurajima, there is a sightseeing bus loop, but today, I am staying close to the port. There is actually plenty to do all within a short walk from the port. To start, I visited Tsukuyomi Shrine located just outside the port. It is the closest sightseeing available to the port, but a little hidden, so many people don’t see it. After that, I headed over to the Sakurajima Visitor Center. This is a great facility that shares the history of Sakurajima Volcano in multiple languages. I highly recommend watching the 15 minute video in the theatre room. Ask the staff for English subtitles.
Outside of the visitor center is a seaside park called Yogan Nagisa Park. This park offers a great view of the Kagoshima cityscape, as well as the volcano itself. This park is also has Japan’s longest footbath which you can enjoy for free. It is a great chance to relax your feet while enjoy the surrounding nature. If you don’t have a towel, they sell them for a few hundred yen at the visitor center. If you want a little more relaxation, there is an onsen hot spring located in Hotel Rainbow Sakurajima.
As an option, if you are someone who enjoys outdoor walking trails, there is a great nature trail along the coastline where you can observe a variety of volcanic rocks and other effects from the volcano. There are a few courses with the longest being about 4 kilometers round trip.
I recommend this half day tour if you are looking for something to do in Kagoshima City. Upon returning to the city, the aquarium is located next to the port or you can head to the Tenmonkan Shopping Arcade nearby. If you are looking for something to do in the evening, check out Tabitto’s bar hopping tour for a fun and memorable experience.