The volcano is one of the most active in the world. Eruptions of varying levels are seen on a regular basis. The last time it was at a level 5, rock and ash were blasted 5.5 km (3.4 miles) into the air in 2019.
Until 1914, the largest recorded eruption of the active volcano, the mountain used to be an island. But that eruption transformed it into a peninsula.
Sakurajima is almost 600 miles southwest of Tokyo. And it has a long history of volcanic activity.
According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) and video evidence the eruption took place at 8:05pm or 12.05pm British time.
Video footage from yesterday’s eruption shows a molten red mass flowing down one side of the volcano. And bright projectiles are shooting out as smoke billows into the night sky.
According to JMA a larger than usual eruption may still be expected. This increases concerns since the volcano is located just 50 km (31 miles) from a nuclear reactor. Japan’s nuclear regulators reported no irregularities had been detected at the Sendai nuclear power plant.