Sakurajima and Kirishima
The south side of Sakurajima Volcano seen from Taramizu. Sakurajima means «Mountain of Cherries».
We are taking the ferry from Kagoshima to Sakurajima Island. The trip lasts about twenty minutes.
A dense steam column rises over the active Minami-Dake crater of Sakurajima, seen from the Arimura Lookout, South of the volcano.
Safety is taken very seriuously in Japan. All of Sakurajima Island is punctuated by these «solid» bunkers protecting people from volcanic bombs.
The last erupted lava flow entered the sea south of Sakurajima in 1946. View from Arimura Lookout, built on the same flow.
The last big eruption happened in 1914, and covered the island with two meters of ash: this «torii» (temple door) exits from the ash layer with its summit only.
At sunset, we return to Kagoshima, while a steam plume crowns the summit of Minami-Dake, the southern active crater of Sakurajima.
A sunset view of the west side of Sakurajima Volcano, seen from the harbour of Kagoshima City.
Fifty km north of Sakurajima, we find the chain of Kirishima Volcanoes: Karakumi-Dake (1702 m) from its solfatara.
Active solfataras eject steam and sublimate yellow sulphur west of Karakumi Volcano. The last eruption occurred in 1992.
After a pleasant climb of two hours, we reach the summit of Karakumi to see its central crater.
The easternmost active Kirishima volcano is Takachiho-No-Mine (1574 m), where Japanase Gods appeared for the first time.
The oldest craters are filled by lakes, wonderful jewels in the autumn colours: Lake Fudou, west of Karakumi Volcano.
Nights are very cold on Kirishima (which means «Island in the Fog»): hoarfrost was the most serious problem during the Leonid Meteor Shower.
Bambou forests cover the lower flanks of all Kirishima Volcanoes. Their dark sky is perfect for astronomical observations.
Holy carps remind us we are in Japan.