Sakurajima Volcano

Japan March. 2020
While on a TV shoot in Japan, the crew and I spent a few days in the town of Kagoshima, home of the Sakurajima Volcano. Sakurajima erupts pretty much daily, sometimes more than once per day, and has become a part of everyday life in the area. There are even several villages right on the flanks of the volcano. The last big eruption was in 1914 when 58 people were killed, and the lava flows connected the island of Sakurajima with the mainland. We spent a great deal of time talking to and interviewing people who live there including people from the volcano visitor center, a local fire chief, and even a Buddhist priest and his family.
I wish that I'd had more opportunity to stay and witness more eruptions with better weather. I guess I just have to go back.



Sakurajima Volcano, dominating the landscape over the city of Kagoshima
Steam continuously coming from the active summit crater of Sakurajima.
The volcano erupts hundreds of times per year.



A small, explosive ash eruption from Sakurajima, as seen from the closest observation point.
With my Royal Canadian Geographical Society flag, which I carry with me on all my travels.
Details about the evacuation routes at the observation point. It erupts so frequently, that it is just part of living in the shadow of the volcano.



There are several towns/villages on the slopes of the volcano, and all school children must wear their helmets to and from school every day. It's just a part of living here.
Two school children posing for us in front of the volcano with their uniforms and helmets.
At the volcano visitor centre they keep track of all the eruptions. It was only March and there had already been over 200 eruptions so far this year!



Volcanic ash art. There is a fine dusting of ash on everything here, and it's cool to see it put to an artistic use.
Monitoring the volcano. At the visitor centre you can see the real-time readouts of seismometers, tilt-meters, infrasound detectors and more.
On Sakurajima, they have regular volcanic ash pickup, similar to how your garbage and recycling is picked up. The government provides these very robust bags to hold the ash that you sweep up on your property.



We filmed with one of the fire departments on Sakurajima. They are responsible for being the first responders in an volcano emergency.
These first responders were really nice guys, and I got interview one of the chiefs about their role regarding the volcano.
The same heat that created the volcano also provides for some great hot springs. This was a great place to soak our feet in the (very hot) water after a long day of filming.