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Sakurajima, as seen from Kagoshima, Sept 2014
  • Japanese: 桜島 (Sakurajima)

Sakurajima is an active volcano which sits in the middle of Kinko Bay, between Kagoshima City (about 4 km west of the volcano) and the Ôsumi peninsula.

The large bay Sakurajima sits within was initially formed as the result of volcanic activity some 29,000 years ago. The Aira Caldera which resulted later filled with water, forming a bay out of which Sakurajima emerged roughly 3,000 years later.

It erupted on 1779/9/1, in a major eruption which resulted in many deaths, and in the creation of a number of new islets in the bay. Word of the event traveled quickly, and is noted in records from widely across Japan.[1]

Sakurajima notably erupted again in 1914, and has been in a near-constant state of ongoing eruption since roughly 1950, spewing smoke and ash, though only rarely seeing notable lava flows. In fact, the mountain is home to a sizable community of some 5,000 people, and it is regularly visited by tourists. Though historically an island (J: -jima), Sakurajima became connected to the Kyushu mainland as a result of the extensive lava flows of the 1914 eruption.


  • Plaques at Shiroyama, Kagoshima, looking out towards Sakurajima.[1]
  1. Nakamura ke nikki III - Fukuyama shi jûyô bunkazai 中村家日記(三)-福山市重要文化財, Fukuyama Castle Museum Tomo-no-kai (2009), 264n1.