How Many & What Types of Volcanoes does Japan Have? - Learning All About Japan's Volcanoes!

  • Feb 19, 2022
  • Mon


Japan is an island that is located directly atop a volcanic belt, surrounding the island in hot springs. However, this also means that there are countless volcanoes throughout Japan. Some of which are active, with many surrounding locals worrying that one day they might just erupt. You might wonder why people would choose to live in the vicinity of such a dangerous beast, read on to find out!

Learning What's Safe - The Types of Volcano

First of all, let's understand that volcanoes are split into various different groups through a variety of different testing methods. Some relate to a volcano's life span, or maybe it's shape, however, there are 3 types everyone should know which relate to the safety of a volcano, these are "Extinct", "Dormant", and "Active". Recently, extinct and dormant types haven't really been talked about, so we're sure most people reading this have only ever heard of the active type up until now.

Extinct Volcano


Volcanoes that have no record of ever being active in historic times (around 10,000 years ago) are commonly referred to as extinct volcanoes. These are typically seen as safe, inactive, and can be lived close to without worry.

Dormant Volcano


While similar to the previously mentioned extinct volcano, these dormant volcanoes have records of being active within the last 10,000 years and are simply recognized as not currently being active. This typically means that while the volcano is not currently active, there is a possibility that it may become active again in the future.

Active Volcano


An active volcano is one that both has records in the past 10,000 years AND is currently active. 

However, thanks to modern-day science and technology, scientists are able to understand how long a volcano may remain active, and as such, all sub-categories for this have been taken away, simply calling them "active".

Japan's Many Volcanoes


Japan has a total of 440 volcanoes. Within those, 108 are active, with 2 new volcanoes appearing in 2011, and another in 2017, raising the total to 111 active volcanoes. Many of these volcanoes can actually be visited by tourists.

Volcano Sightseeing? Isn't that Dangerous?

Japan has a volcano eruption alert system in place, meaning that they don't allow visitors during times where it may be deemed dangerous, however, at times other than this, all people can visit and see the volcanoes freely. It would be wise to check the official website for this alert system to ensure you can visit the volcano you're looking at seeing prior to visitation. Let's take a look at some reasons why you might be interested in visiting these natural phenomenons!

Sulphur & Black Eggs: Kangawa Prefecture - Hakone's Owakudani


Famous as a day-trip location from Tokyo, Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture has Lake Ashi and hot springs, but also the active volcano and sightseeing spot Owakudani. It erupted around 3,000 years ago, and from the remains pour volcanic gas and sulfur. Be aware, depending on the alert level of the area you may be unable to enter. The local specialty black eggs are made using the sulfur pools found under the volcano.

For More Details, Check out this Article: Owakudani Hakone in Japan; Volcano's Crater Remains

Sulfur Fumaroles: Mount Iō, Hokkaido


While the official name is Atosanupuri, most people know it as Mount Iō. The name was given due to the strong smell that comes from the many sulfur fumaroles surrounding the mountain. While the smell of sulfur is dangerous to the body, you're able to visit freely as the levels of the gas are being monitored constantly with safety features in place. You may even be able to see some rare white flowers.

For More Details, Check out this Article: A Small Active Volcano in Akan Manshu National Park

Sulfur Bonze Adventure (Jigoku Meguri): Mount Osore, Aomori Prefecture


One of Japan's 3 sacred mountains, Mount Osore is filled with lots of mountains, even seeing an active volcano in its ranks. There is a common sightseeing trip known as "Jigoku Meguri" where you can visit the surrounding caldera springs and valleys, even being able to visit the Bodaiji Buddhist Temple which has been discolored due to the sulfur.

For More Details, Check out this Article: One of Japan's Three Major Sacred Mountains: Osorezan in Aomori

See the Volcano's Crater: Mount Aso, Kumamoto


Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture has erupted as recently as October of 2021. The alert level has been rising and dropping constantly since, however, there are many sightseeing spots other than the volcano itself such as the surrounding caldera, which has low alert levels comparatively. 

For More Details, Check out this Article: Mount Aso: Active Volcano in Kumamoto, Japan

Eruptions & High Volcanic Activity: Sakurajima, Kagoshima Prefecture


Sakurajima was given its name due to it coming out of the sea within Kagoshima Bay. The surrounding residents of Kagoshima Prefecture are constantly living alongside the ash from the volcano's many eruptions and high volcanic activity. If you're looking to see giant clouds of smoke coming out of a volcano this is the spot, but we recommend looking from a safe distance.

For More Details, Check out this Article: Sakurajima island in Japan, Kagoshima's Symbolic Volcano

Safety & Protection - Japan's Volcano Eruption Alert System

To ensure the safety not only of sightseers but of the residents surrounding the volcanoes, there is a volcano eruption alert system in place with various levels of danger. Currently, there are 5 levels within the system.

For More Details, Check out this Article: Volcano Island: The Many Volcanoes of Japan


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