Updated on February 5 at 6:42 a.m. ET
The Japan Meteorological Agency says Mount Sakurajima erupted at 6:56 p.m. Friday, adding it is monitoring the situation.
The volcano overlooks the city of Kagoshima, which has a population of about 605,000 people, and it’s unclear whether the eruption poses a danger to residents. Still, the Met Agency raised the volcanic alert level to level 3, which bars people from entering the mountain.
Reuters adds that the volcano, one of Japan’s most famous, is about 30 miles from the Sendai nuclear plant, which is operated by Kyushu Electric Power. The plant resumed operations last year, four years after all of Japan’s nuclear plants were closed after the Fukushima disaster.
NHK, the Japanese broadcaster, quoted a volcanologist as saying while Friday’s eruption was dramatic, it was average compared to past eruptions. Sakurajima last erupted in September.