Japan’s weather agency issued a high-level warning on Sunday as the Sakurajima volcano erupted in the southern city of Kagoshima, and dozens of residents in the mountainous region were told to evacuate.
The agency raised its alert level for Sakurajima to level 5, the highest level requiring evacuations.
Before the volcano erupted shortly after 8:00 pm (11:00 GMT) on Sunday, the alert level was at 3, which prohibits access to the mountain.
“Residential areas in the cities of Arimura and Furusato within three kilometers of the Sakurajima crater should be on high alert,” the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said in a statement.
According to the city of Kagoshima, the two towns have a population of 77.
Television footage showed lava flows and ash being released from the volcano.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, an explosion blew a huge plume of ash about 2.5 kilometers from the crater.
There was no immediate damage, according to state broadcaster NHK.
Sakurajima Volcano, which often spews smoke and ash, is one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations.
The country lies on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, a region prone to earthquakes and volcanoes. In 2015, Japan issued a maximum evacuation alert when a volcano erupted on Kagoshima’s Kuchinorabu Island.