Geopark is a “park of the Earth”. The earth is like a big park where we can enjoy the stories of relationship between the Earth and human beings from the past to the future! With mountains, oceans, and forests, there are many natural attractions that have been created over millions of years.
There are many ways to enjoy our “Sakurajima-Kinkowan Geopark”.
You can enjoy the incredible scenery, tours, events,
- activities, and local products. Let’ s play hard and study hard at Sakurajima and Kinko-Bay!
Don’ t miss it! “Sakurajima-Kinkowan Geopark”
– The relationship between volcano and people –
1.The volcano and people are coexisting!
How amazing that 600,000 people live alongside the active Sakurajima volcano t hat actively erupts on a daily basis.
Disaster prevention measures are taken using the high tech volcanic monitoring system.
This enables many people to live near the erupting volcano.
Kagoshima is a unique place where active volcano and urban city coexist.
2.The sea made by the volcano!
Kinko-Bay expanding in front of Sakurajima was actually made by the volcano.
About 30,000 years ago, a large amount of magma was released after a huge eruption occurred in the inner side of Kinko-Bay.
This caused the land to become empty and dented. The dented area is called the “Aira-Caldera” . The 200m deep Kinko-Bay was created after the seawater entered in.
3.The eruption of Sakurajima
The history of Sakurajima is said to be the history of eruptions. There have been 17 huge eruptions up until today.
Sakurajima’ s volcanic activity can be divided into 2 periods. The North Peak was active since the time Sakurajima was born until 5,000 years ago and the South Peak has been active since 4,500 years ago.
It is because of these two volcanoes, the North Peak and the South Peak are lined in arow, that Sakurajima looks so wide.
The biggest eruption in the history of Sakurajima occurred about 13,000 years ago.
The eruption covered Kagoshima city with ash as deep as 1m and the whole of Kagoshima prefecture was covered with at least 10cm of ash. Another huge eruption that changed the shape of Sakurajima occurred in 1914.
The lava that erupted out connected the former island of Sakurajima to Osumi peninsula.
Kurokami Buried Shrine Gate and Karasujima Observatory tells us how extraordinarily huge that eruption was.
4.Watching life in Kagoshima
The residents of Kagoshima do not care about the eruptions. They are used to the eruptions because Sakurajima erupts over eight hundred times each year.
Because the people of Kagoshima have coexisted with the volcano for many years,emergency drills are well constructed.
You may find ways residents have worked to coexist with the volcano through looking at their daily lives.
For example, there are yellow “ Kokuhai Bukuro” bags for collecting volcanic ashes in Kagoshima.
Also, students in Sakurajima wear helmets to protect their heads from volcanic debris.
5.You can experience Sakurajima and Kinko-Bay!
“ Sakurajima-Kinkowan G eopark” has many Geo-Sites where you can play and learn about the land and its long volcanic history.
Find out how the people lived with the volcano by learning about the products and historical sites of the land related to the volcano.
You can also enjoy exciting activities, the local products, foods and soon.
Where would you like to begin with?
“The relationship between volcano and people” ６ stories
Relation with the landscape and geology
29,000 years ago in Kagoshima, there was a huge eruption that was a million times bigger than the eruptions we currently see at Sakurajima.
Kagoshima was covered with magma that was as deep as 60m.
The large amount of magma that jetted out caused the land to sink,creating an “Aira-Caldera”. Kagoshima was covered with a mixture of volcanic stone, ash, and gas that was combined under a heat of 600 degrees, a phenomenon called pyroclastic flow.
This covered the mountains and valleys of Kagoshima, making it into flat land within a week. The “Shirasu tableland” was later created through the rivers that carved out the land.
Sakurajima’ s first eruption started 26,000 years ago in the southern part of the caldera. Sakurajima grew with each repeated eruption and formed the Kita-Dake (North Peak). With time, the crater’ s position moved to the South and made Minami-Dake (South Peak) creating the second volcanic body on Sakurajima. Kagoshima’ s “Shirasu tableland”
where we stand today, Sakurajima, and Kinko-Bay are all connected to the huge eruption that took place many years ago.
The spot to experience the power of the volcano!
Looking d own t he A ira- Caldera from the Terayama-park observatory spot, you will notice a huge dented area at the far end of Kinko-Bay. This is the caldera. Experience the great power of the volcano while having a great view of Sakurajima!
Check the surface of mountain!
The old Kita-Dake is rough compared to the new Minami-Dake whose surface is much smoother.
The Showa-Crater(located in the Eastern steep of Minami-Dake) is covered by eruptions from new eruptions, so that its surface is still smooth.
It is of ten mistaken that Shirasu tableland is made up of ash from Sakurajima,
which fell down for millions of years. However, Shirasu tableland was made within a week by Aira-Caldera’s huge eruption.
Although Sakuraijma looks like one mountain, it is actually combined
of two volcanoes,Kita-Dake and Minami-Dake! Kita-Dake was active from the birth of Sakurajima which is 26,000 years ago until 5,000 years ago. Later on, crater moved to the South, and its volcanic activity started 4,500 years ago and still continues today.
These two mountains that range from north to south make up Sakurajima. This is why Sakurajima looks wide from Kagoshima city.
Relationship with nature
Plant species cannot live under severe volcanic environment? No,there are Japanese pampas grass and Japanese knotweed near the crater and they are strong against volcanic gases. A little further from the crater, there are Eurya Japonica and A lnus fi rma. In the area furthest form the crater, Machilus thunbergii and Japanese black pine can be seen.
With each new eruption, the plants on the ground are covered with lava, and the ground is filled with rocks, but each time plants grow back. At first, Mosses and Lichenes start to grow, and then a meadow will form. Intolerant trees such as the Japanese black pine follow.
Then, shade trees such as Muchilus thunbergii will come out. In this way, the volcanic ground becomes a forest in over many years.
Sakurajima is a “natural museum” , because we can see the changes that occurred while the forest was forming by observing the varieties of lava that were made through out the different eras.
Watching plant species of three generations!
Arimura-seashore has lava of 3 eras. Annei(1779), Taisho(1914), and Showa(1946). Find out the difference between the old lava, which is covered by trees,and the new lava with Japanese black pine and a surface of volcanic rocks!
Dolphins of Kinko-Bay are greedy!?
There is full of wonderfulness in Kinko-Bay,because it’s made by volcano! The 200m deep sea is a dented area which was made by huge eruption occurred in 300million years ago.
There is a small submarine caldera called “ Wakamiko Caldera” in inner side of Kinko-Bay which erupts volcanic gas in underground.
The volcanic gas floating on the surface called “Tagiri (it means boiling in Japanese)shows the existing of submarine caldera.
Also, there are dolphins, many fishes for about 1000 species, and rare creatures such as Satsumahaorimushi in Kinko-bay. Chimney (the injection hole of hot water) and rare metals are also found in bottom of the sea.
The sunset and Sakurajima Ferry
The night view from Yunohira Observatory
Changing “disliked” ash into industry!
There are many treasures utilizing blessing of the volcano and the sea in Sakurajima.
For example, Sakurajima mini mandarin utilize good drainage of volcanic geology, grow on the sunny slope with sunshine
reflected by Kinko-Bay.
There are also pottery used volcanic ash, ash-dried-fish, glass product or cosmetics using Shirasu, and grilled meat plate made by lava. The hot s prings w ith t he b est i n Japan f or i ts n umber i n c apital c ity is absolutely a blessing of volcano. The people in Kagoshima is strong enough to change “disliked” volcanic ash to the industry.
The Castle of Satsuma is Shirasu Tableland!
Remains of ash in the garbage of people in the Jomo Period shows that they lived with the volcano between 3,000 and 16,500 years ago.
Even the r uins are buried under a flood of debris, the people continued to live under this volcanic environment because there were more blessing than disaster.
Also, the stone culture of Kagoshima owes to the volcano. Ignimbrite,made by volcanic eruptions, is softer than other stones and it is good for processing.
There are many historical buildings such as machine shop of Shuseikan(*2) and t he stone bridge are made of volcanic ignimbrite stones.
Access to “Kurokami Buried Shirine Gate”
- You cannot go to Kurokami Buried Shrine Gate by Sakurajima Island View Bus.
- You’d better buy One-day Pass for these routes.
- Take Kagoshima city bus #60 From “Sakurajima Port”to “Higashi Shirahama”(about 20 min)
At Higashi Shirahama Take Kagoshima city bus #70
From”Higashi Shirahama”to”Kurokami chugakko mae”(about 20 min)
Take Kagoshima city bus #60
From “Sakurajima Port” to ”Kurokami Chugakko mae”(about 35 min)
Car or taxi
- About 20km from Sakurajima Port(about 30 min)
Kagoshima’s high quality service!
Life in Kagoshima takes place besides active volcano,Sakurajima. The Annei eruption that occurred during Edo era brought people from Kurokami to settle in Uenohara. From Uenohara, they were able to see the beautiful scenery of their hometown, Sakurajima.
Also the disaster heritage “Kurokami Buried Shrine Gate”, which was buried 2m deepin a single day, remains buried in memory of the disaster. The gate is now located inside Kurokami junior high school.
For half a century, people in Kagoshima have lived with the falling ash, using their wisdom and well-constructed lifestyle to live alongside the volcano.