Circling the Flame

Mount Ontake on Sakurajima

The one thing to not miss while staying in Kagoshima is making a day trip to the volcanic island of Sakurajima.  The last major devastating blast was almost 50 years ago and hopefully it won’t go off again anytime soon. One of the three peaks still gives the surrounding area a daily coat of grey ash which makes a sun umbrella really handy here. It’s an amazing site to see in person and biking is one of the best ways to see it from all angles. We bring along protective masks while we ride and hope we don’t inhale too much debris.

Ferry to Sakurajima
Ferry to Sakurajima

A trip to Sakurajima and a bike ride around the island pretty much takes up an entire day.  The ferry takes 10 minutes, leaves often  and costs just 150 Yen each way.  What a deal.  We rented bikes for 1500 Yen for the day and only knew that it was hilly and could take anywhere from 3-5 hours.  The route is hilly and sidewalks and bike paths come and go.  The hills did end up seeming longer and harder to conquer since the steel street bike frame is too small and it only has 3 gears. I’m used to my light bike back at home minus any gear.

Kurakami Buried Shrine Gate
Kurakami Buried Shrine Gate which led us to the Soba Restaurant across the street

The soba shop was a welcoming site at around the half way mark across from the buried Torii Gate on the eastern side of the island.  This is where we got the best and closest view of the active crater. The road continued to be hilly but it ended up being a good workout and the scenery was gorgeous.

Shoreline of Sakurajima
View to the east from the road above on Sakurajima
Sakurajima
Shrine on the west side of the island of Sakurajima

We ended our ride back at the ferry terminal, returned the dusty bikes and checked out the port area on foot. We were not on a schedule so we just watched the boats go by on one side and viewed the volcano let off steam in the other direction while relaxing and soaking our feet at the Sakurajima Nagisa Foot Bath Park.  The days events reaffirmed my continuous love of Japan.

Sakurajima Nagisa Foot Bath Park
Ended it all at the Sakurajima Nagisa Foot Bath Park
Sakurajima Nagisa Foot Bath Park
View of the Mount Ontake from the Sakurajima Nagisa Foot Bath Park
Mount Ontake on Sakurajima
Just another volcanic burst from Mount Sakurajima

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