From 高千穂 Takachiho, we took a bus to 延岡 Nobeoka, and then train to 宮崎 Miyazaki (to collect our luggage), and then continuing on to 鹿児島 Kagoshima. It was already close to 3pm by the time we reached our hotel to drop our luggage (and we started at 6am!).
Since the weather looked good, we thought we should cover 桜島 Sakurajima today, otherwise the whole day would seemed like it’s just taking different transport from Point A to Point B. 🙂
We had purchased the Kagoshima Welcome Cute Pass (¥1,500) (when we got off the train at 鹿児島中央駅 Kagoshima-Chuo Station), and so after checking-in and dropping our luggage, we rushed to take the tram (aka streetcar) from our hotel to Kagoshima Port. Through brisk walking, we made it in time to catch the 15:40 ferry to 桜島 Sakurajima, and arrived at the volcanic island a short 15 minutes later. 🙂
We had already missed the 15:30 Sakurajima Island View Tour Bus, and the next (and last) one was scheduled to arrive at Kagoshima Port only at 16:35, so the staff at the Tourist Information Centre suggested that we walk to the nearby 桜島溶岩なぎさ公園足湯 Sakurajima Yogan Nagisa Park for some free foot spa (100-metre-long foot hot spring :o), or to Sakurajima Visitor Centre to view a small exhibition first, as the tour bus was scheduled to make a stop at 16:38 at Sakurajima Visitor Centre.
Since we were not too interested in the foot spa, we opted for the rather informative exhibition, which explained about the history of the eruptions and development of 桜島Sakurajima.
There was also a small resting area there, and we got some drinks while waiting for the bus. Made from the small mandarin oranges grown in Sakurajima, the sweet and sour 小みかん (Komikan) Juice (¥330) was very refreshing and thirst-quenching 🙂
The Sakurajima Visitor Centre was a popular stop, and the small tour bus was fully packed when it left here. 😮
At selected tourist attractions like 烏島展望所着 Karasujima Observatory, 赤水展望広場着 Akamizu View Park, and 湯之平展望所 Yunohira Observatory, the bus would stop for 5-15 mins for everyone to enjoy the views and take some pictures. It felt a little rushed, but everyone managed to get pictures, and take in the sights.
After completing the bus tour, we returned back to Kagoshima for dinner. Though we only spent a short time on the island, we thought the place was beautiful. A pity that we did not manage to catch a glimpse of the volcanic eruption while we were there. We did saw a minor eruption during the bus tour on the next day though…
- There are 3 types of sightseeing bus tours in Sakurajima, and the Sakurajima Island View Tour Bus is probably the most efficient one that covers most of the sights in the shortest time. However, it might feel too rushed for some travellers who prefer a more leisurely pace. If you have more time at Sakurajima, do check out the other tour routes here.
- Check out the official tourism website for more information on Sakurajima.