The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a high alert Sunday after the eruption of the Sakurajima volcano in the southern city of Kagoshima, and dozens of residents in the mountainous region were asked to evacuate.
The agency raised Sakurajima’s alert level to level 5, the highest level, which requires evacuations.
Before the eruption, which occurred on Sunday after 8:00 pm (11:00 GMT), the alert was at level 3, which prohibits access to the mountain.
“Residential areas in the cities of Arimura and Forsato, located within a three-kilometer radius of the Sakurajima crater, should be on high alert,” the Japan Meteorological Agency said in a statement.
Both cities have a population of 77, according to Kagoshima City.
Television footage showed lava and ash flowing from the volcano.
An explosion spewed huge ash 2.5 kilometers from the crater, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
State broadcaster NHK reported that there were no immediate reports of damage.
Sakurajima Volcano, which frequently spews smoke and ash, is one of the most popular tourist sites in Japan.
The country is located on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, an area with earthquakes and volcanoes. In 2015, Japan issued a high alert for evacuation when a volcano erupted on the island of Kushinurabu, also in Kagoshima.