The ferry ride over to the island takes only 15 minutes but is very scenic. There are great views of the volcano as you go over.
We were on the Japan Railway Tour Bus, and they took us about a third of the way up the mountain to a lookout. About this time you are hoping Sakurajima isn't going to pull a Mt. St. Helens, but all was serene and the view over to Kagoshima was wonderful.
According to Wikipedia it is one of the top ten continually active volcanos in the world. I'm glad I looked that up after I came back.
Don't be afraid. Visit the island. It's beautiful and fascinating.
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