Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Snapshots: Circling and Framing a Volcano

Sakurajima dominates the view across the bay from Kagoshima, southern Japan. It's one of the world's most active volcanoes, regularly raining ash on the city. Surfaces can feel gritty, accumulations of dust are a hazard to cyclists.

Hotel rooms with a view of Sakurajima fetch a premium. Directions are expressed relative to the volcano; e.g., "walk towards Sakurajima." It's a common element in public art.

Yesterday, I cycled around the volcano.

On the ferry from Kagoshima to Sakurajima, some young women were taking turns to mug for "that" scene from "Titanic."
Across from the port, cars, scooters, and bicycles were available for rent. The signage provided all the information I needed.
The transaction was simple. I paid about $10 cash for four hours. If I returned earlier, they would refund part of the fee. I didn't sign any papers or provide a credit card or identification.
Throughout the ride I was treated to lovely views of the bay and Sakurajima.
There were regular reminders this is an active volcano. Concrete shelters would provide some protection when Sakurajima becomes more active.
A temple Torii gate had been left partially buried. Local school kids maintain this as a reminder of their ancestors.
At the midpoint of my ride, I stopped at a store and purchased some pop from a vending machine.
Near the end of my ride, I stopped at a Lawson convenience store to treat myself to rock-hard ice cream.

By the time I had gone full circle, it was mid-afternoon. I took the ferry back to Kagoshima, then walked to Sengangen Gardens where I climbed a steep hill to take in the view shown at the top of this post. In the 18th century, this garden had been created using principles of  "borrowed scenery" incorporating the bay and the volcano into the overall landscape design: the gardens had been created as a frame.
As I left the garden, I noticed yellow bags of volcanic ash, reminding me that Sakurajima was very much part of Kagoshima daily life.
Sakurajima (red pin)


  1. Well done! The photos are beautiful.

    1. Thank you. The cell phone camera is doing a good job with wonderful scenery.