The volcano eruption on Mount Sakurajima on Sunday sent ash 5,000 meters into the air. The ash was eventually deposited on the city of Kagoshima.
This was the highest plume ever recorded since the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) started keeping records in 2006. Lava flowed about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the fissure, and several huge volcanic rocks rolled down the mountainside.
The volcano eruption was more massive than usual, but residents of the city of about 600,000 are used to hearing from their volcanic neighbor. Kagoshima officials said in a statement that this was Sakurajima's 500th eruption this year alone.
Residents wore masks and carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the falling ash. Drivers turned on their headlights, and railway service in the city was halted so ash could be removed from the tracks.
By Monday morning, the air was clearer, and the city was mobilizing garbage trucks and water sprinklers to clean up.
The JMA says there are no signs of another eruption, but similar activity may continue. The agency warned people not venture near the volcano itself.
Japan is on the "Ring of Fire" of seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean. It has frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity, so this volcano eruption came as no surprise.