Sakurajima itinerary - A Travel Guide blog

Day Trip Sakurajima Itinerary: A Travel Guide Blog

posted in: Kyushu Japan | 0

Last updated on March 4th, 2024

Visiting Sakurajima? Here is all the information you need to plan your Sakurajima itinerary as first-time visitors: What to do, see, and eat!

Sakurajima (櫻島) is a beautiful island indeed. It is a magnificent sight and might be the number one reason to come to prefecture. The island is one of the most active volcanoes on planet earth erupting on average 1 to 2 times each day in the last couple of decades. You can see the active volcano is ever present, around every corner in the city. But of course, the best way to get closer to the island is to feel the power of nature.

In this Sakurajima Travel Guide blog, we’re sharing our tips on how to plan your visit to Sakurajima including how to get there, the best things to do there, and some useful travel information.

How To Get to Sakurajima

How To Get to Sakurajima
Take Kagoshima city tram Suizokukan-guchi (水族館口)

Depending on where is your starting point, you will need to travel to Kagoshima if you plan to visit the Sakurajima. From Fukuoka, the easiest starting point is getting to Kagoshima-Chuo Station by using the Shinkansen which takes you about 1.5 hours ride.

Consider getting the JR Pass or JR All Kyushu Pass to save some money.

Ferry Ride to Sakurajima

By city tram: From Kagoshima-Chuo, take the Kagoshima city tram from Kagoshima-eki Mae (east exit) to Suizokukan-guchi (水族館口) station. Next, from the Kagoshima station, it is a 7-minute walk to the pier.

From the pier, take the ferry to Sakurajima which runs every 15 minutes.

Getting Around in Sakurajima

Getting Around in Sakurajima

There are a few options to travel around the Sakurajima:

Sightseeing Bus: It is very convenient to go to Sakurajima by public transport. There’s a sightseeing loop bus called Sakurajima Island View that runs the Sakurajima Island on every 30 minutes intervals. The sightseeing bus will take you to the interesting tourist spots for a short break for photo-taking.

Bike: Cycling is one of the options for travelers who love to experience the Sakurajima at a relaxed pace. You can rent bicycles for ¥300 an hour at the car rental shop located right across the street from the ferry terminal. The full route of the cycling tour could take you about 4 to 5 hours.

On Foot: There are some nature trails to walk along and admire the volcano.

Self-Driving: Travelers also can drive in their car when touring around the island. There is a fee to bring your car from the mainland to Sakurajima Island by ferry.

Sakurajima Transport Pass

The Sakurajima Island View Bus Tour costs ¥500 and you can hop on and hop off the sightseeing bus on Sakurajima Island.

We recommend buying the Kagoshima CUTE Pass (One day at ¥1,200 or 2-day at ¥1,800) if you are also visiting the Kagoshima city. With the Cute Pass, you may enjoy traveling in most of the public transportation in Kagoshima operated by the city council, like a street car (tram), bus, sightseeing bus, and ferry service between Kagoshima Chuo and Sakurajima. Do your smart calculation!

Things to do for Sakurajima itinerary

Visit Mt Sakurajima

When visiting Sakurajima, travelers can experience volcanic eruptions on this island almost every day and also experience how humans interact and co-exist with nature.

There’s so much to do in Sakurajima when touring around the volcanoes:

  • Scenic Ferry Ride to Sakurajima
  • Tour the Sakurajima with Sightseeing Bus
  • Enjoy the Volcano View at the Observatory
  • Get Closer to An Active Volcano
  • Sakurajima Visitor Center
  • Footbath at Sakurajima
  • Lava Trail Walk
  • Eat Satsuma mandarins
  • Optional: Buried Torii Gate

Scenic Ferry Ride to Sakurajima

Scenic Ferry Ride to Sakurajima

The Sakurajima itinerary starts with an enjoyable ferry ride that takes you cross-over from Kagoshima to Sakurajima Island. This pleasant and short 20-minute will bring you closer and closer to this stunning island. The ferry ride costs ¥200 for one way and the Cute Pass is included for the ferry ride.

The ferries are huge and have room for cars on the lower levels.

Go out to the outer deck and enjoy the scenic view of the volcano. You can also witness seagulls feeding on the ferry. Some visitors bought the crackers from the ferry to feed the seagulls. A lovely experience.

Kaku Udon at Sakurajima Ferry Ride

If you’re feeling a little hungry, then try the Kaku Udon, a famous dish offered at the udon shop Yabukin located inside the ferry when getting to Sakurajima.

Tour the Sakurajima with Sightseeing Bus

Sakurajima Island View Bus

Once you reach Sakurajima Island, most of the tourists will hop on the Sakurajima Island View bus that takes a circular route around the island. The sightseeing bus runs about every hour and it brings you to every tourist spot for a short break of photo-taking.

The Bus Terminal is about 5 minutes’ walk on the right side of the ferry Terminal. Try to arrive early before departure to be sure to have a seat because the bus fills rapidly!

Tour the Sakurajima with Sightseeing Bus

We hopped on the bus and enjoyed the full route of the sightseeing trip.

Sakurajima Travel Tip: You can buy the bus ticket at ¥500 from the Tourist Information Centre which is located within a 10-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Here you can get informed about what Sakurajima has to offer and how best to explore the island itself.

If you are having the Welcome Cute Pass, the Sakurajima Island View bus tour is included!

Enjoy the Volcano View at the Observatory

There are several stops along the route and the bus tour stopped at each one. It will allocate some time for visitors to view the volcano and take photos. One full route of the Sakurajima Island bus tour takes about 1 hour.

The Karasujima Observatory, Akamizu Observatory, and Yunohira Observatory are the recommended stop along the tour.

Karasujima Observatory

Karasujima Observatory (鳥取展望所) is the first observatory stop for the Sakurajima Island View Bus tour. This observatory offers a stunning view of both Sakurajima Mountain and Kinko Bay. The area features the rocky sea formed by the Taisho lava flow.

Allocated time: 5 minutes.

Akamizu Observatory

Akamizu Observatory Square (赤水展望広場) is another stop along the Sakurajima tour. The square has the “Portrait of a Scream” Monument”. It was placed to commemorate Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi’s All Night Concert, held in 2004. Made from Sakurajima lava rock used in the concert arena.

Yunohira Observatory

Yunohira Observatory (湯之平展望所) is the highest point on Mt. Sakurajima. It has the best views and the view is spectacular. One of the must-see spots in Sakurajima!

Your opportunity to get close to an active volcano is a truly exciting experience. The views were stunning of the whole area and we even witnessed an eruption.

Allocated time: 15 minutes.

Get Closer to An Active Volcano

Sakurajima itinerary - Stunning View at Yunohira Observatory

When we arrived at the Yunohira Observatory (the last stop for the sightseeing tour), we heard some “rumbling noises” from the volcano and were surprised by how loud it was. Some mini eruptions were happening and it was certainly an amazing experience.

We came on the perfect day as the sky was blue and the volcano was not full of clouds.

A magnificent view of the active volcano that erupts quite regularly. Great photos were taken from the lookout. The views of the sea and the surroundings are truly stunning A highlight of our trip. Just beautiful!

Sakurajima Visitor Center

Our last stop was the foot bath before we headed back to the ferry terminal. We took a short walk in the beautiful park (got off at the Visitor’s center). You can spend some time exploring the area such as visiting Sakurajima Visitor Center, taking a lava trail walk, or taking a hot footbath with a nice view.

Sakurajima Visitor Center

Visitors also can spend some time at Sakurajima Visitor Center. It has a small museum where you can learn about Sakurajima.

Learning Volcano at Sakurajima Visitor Center

Sakurajima is an active volcano, erupting about 1000 times per year. Local people are used to the daily eruptions, using a special umbrella against the ashes. There are still some tiny particles of lava dropped on our heads.

The island is covered all over the place with grey volcanic sand which is continuously collected into yellow bags which you will see everywhere in rather huge amounts. Very organized indeed.

Footbath at Sakurajima

Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

Sakurajima is part of the Kirishima Kinkowan National Park. 

Sakurajima Yogan Nagisa Park

The Sakurajima Yogan Nagisa Park Footbath is the longest foot bath in Japan with 100-m long. The footbath is fed by a natural hot spring from 1,000 m underground is in the park.

Foot bath at Sakurajima

Soak your tired feet in a hot spring foot bath while enjoying the sscenic volcano activity. Do not miss the foot bath with a great view!

Lava Trail Walk

If time is permitted, you can also take a nature hike along the coast with a few kilometers long.

We didn’t take the full route but did the 3km lava trail walk which takes you through hardened lava as well as crops of vegetation that have grown since the last major explosion.

Eat Satsuma mandarins

Eat Satsuma mandarins

At Visitor Center, there is souvenir shop selling fruits and souvenirs on the island. We recommended to try the Satsuma mandarin, one of the famous fruits here. It is very delicious!

You can also see the giant radish in the souvenir shop.

Optional: Buried Torii Gate

If you have time, don’t miss the buried Torii Gate, that was a site to see. Unfortunately, it is hard to access using public transport.

The top of Torii Gate is stuck a meter above the ground after the town was created in about 1914.

More Sakurajima Travel Tips

How long should I spend in Sakurajima?
You could spend 2 hours or an entire day here. It is good to spend half a day on tour around the island.

Is Sakurajima worth visiting?
Definitely Yes! It’s a great half-day excursion to visit the active volcano and is highly recommended.

When is the best time to visit Sakurajima?
We suggest starting your trip early in the morning. It becomes crowded at noon, even in the off-season.

What should I bring or wear when visiting Sakurajima?
It was rather cold there during our visit to Sakurajima. Wear warmly dressed and get yourself a warm drink along the way there. Beware of some ash falling and probably bring a hat or umbrella. Consider wearing a mask too, it was rough on my lungs.

Overall: A Trip To Sakurajima

All in all, a visit to Sakurajima is highly recommended.

Touring around Sakurajima Island and enjoy the impressive volcano erupted. The observatory is very beautiful with many great angles for viewing. There are also other lovely sights as well along the trip. A must-visit place for your trip to Kagoshima.

Traveling to Kagoshima? Here is our travel strories to Kagoshima Prefecture:

Visiting Kyushu and looking for some inspiration for what to do in Kyushu then be sure to read our Kyushu travel blog here: