Tokyo: A Japanese volcano about 50 kilometres from a nuclear plant erupted on Friday, shooting ash nearly two kilometres into the night sky and spewing fountains of lava.
Following what they termed an "explosive eruption," Japan's Meteorological Agency raised the warning level on the peak, which experiences hundreds of small eruptions a year, to 3, meaning that people should not approach the mountain.
Lightning and lava as volcano erupts in Japan
Spectacular images as Sakurajima volcano erupts on Friday night, just 50 kilometres from a nuclear plant in southern Japan.
"It appears that stones have been thrown about two kilometres from the crater, but this area is quite far from any communities," Kazuhiro Ishihara, an emeritus professor at Kyoto University, told NHK national television.
Television footage showed red streams of lava bursting from the side of the mountain, but Ishihara said he thought the impact of the eruption would not be that serious.
The Sendai nuclear power staion, run by Kyushu Electric Power and located on the same island, resumed operations last year after being shut down, along with all of Japan's nuclear plants, after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
A spokeswoman for Kyushu Electric said there was no impact from the eruption on the plant and its operations, and it was not taking any special precautions.
Japan lies on the 'Ring of Fire' – a seismically active horsehoe-shaped band of fault lines and volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific Ocean – and has more than 100 active volcanoes.
JUST IN: The Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan erupts pic.twitter.com/NujmOxeUFl— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) February 5, 2016