Sakurajima, the active volcano in southern Japan, is perfect for a 1-day excursion if you are in Kyushu. In this post I have made a suggestion for a great Sakurajima itinerary. The post starts out with a general overview of the day, and then it goes a bit more in details with the activities after the overview. If you feel like mixing it up, then check out my post about Sakurajima for more inspiration.
Overview of your day on Sakurajima
|09:15||Take the ferry to Sakurajima.|
|09:30||Arrive at Sakurajima and get a day pass for the tour bus.|
|10:05||Take the Island View Tour Bus and make stops where interesting .|
|12:10||Back at the port.|
|13:15||Walk Nagisa Lava Trail.|
|15:00||Soak feet at free foot bath.|
|16:00||Take the ferry back to Kagoshima.|
Details of the day
Take the ferry (¥200)
Start the morning by moving from your hotel to the Ferry Terminal in Kagoshima.
Check out the post on how to get to Sakurajima if you aren’t sure about it.
The ferry ride is about 15 minutes.
Bus Tour (¥500)
A tourist bus, the Sakurajima Island View Tour Bus runs frequently in a loop between the most popular sights and attractions on Sakurajima. At every point of interest the bus stops and allows some time for you to get off and look around. Alternatively you can stay and wait for the next bus if you want to explore more. The first departure of the day is at 9:00 from the ferry terminal. A new tour starts every 1 hour and 5 minutes from the ferry terminal, and the last bus of the day leaves off at 16:35. A day pass for the tourist bus is ¥500 (2018) and can be purchased on the bus. Along the route I recommend the following plan:
10:08 Get off at the Sakurajima Visitor Center and learn about the island.
11:13 Get on the next tourbus.
11:15 Bus stops for 5 minutes at Karasujima Observatory. Get off and enjoy the view.
11:20 The bus continues.
11:22 the bus stops for 8 minutes at Akimizu Observatory Square. Get off and enjoy the view and go see the sculpture “Portrait of a Shout”.
11:30 the bus continues.
11:45 the bus arrives at Yunohira Observatory for 15 minutes. Get out and enjoy the mind blowing views of the volcano.
12:00 the bus continues back towards the harbor. If you wish, you can stay for an hour, and take the next bus at 13:05.
12:10 the bus arrives at Sakurajima Port.
After a nice bus tour, it’s probably time for lunch. There are several options for getting lunch around the port area. There are a few restaurants run by the locals, but there are also two convenience stores, Lawson and Family Mart. Lawson has a sit-down area where you can enjoy the food you buy from them. It’s a good choice to eat here as it’s cheap and the selection is big. However if you want to support the locals, then pick one of the eateries near the ferry port.
Walk the Nagisa Lava Trail (free)
The Nagisa Lava Trail is a 3km (1.6mi) walking path through a mostly untouched lava landscape along the coast. The trail starts near the visitor center where you were earlier in the day. From the port or from Lawson convenience store it’s a short walk to the trail head. Take a nice walk through the rugged landscape and experience how nature evolves if left untouched for 100 years. The last major eruption in 1914 created the landscape which is seen along this path today. You can read more about the nagisa lava trail over on my Sakurajima Hiking post.
Soak your feet at the free foot bath (free)
After a nice nature walk, you end up back at the visitor center. This is also where the free hot foot bath is. A great opportunity to relax and wind down after a great day with many impressions. Enjoy the first-class ocean view with your feet in the hot water.
Take the ferry home (¥200)
At your convenience you can take the ferry back to Kagoshima. The ferry runs all day and night, so you won’t get stuck. You can find the exact departure times on the website of the city of Kagoshima.
Here is a list of a few selected posts which might be of interest to you in connection with this itinerary.