A volcano in southwestern Japan is erupting for the first time in six years and spread ash in nearby cities and towns on Thursday.
Japanese broadcaster TBS showed elementary school students wearing helmets and masks on the way to their school at the foot of the Shinmoedake volcano. Residents also described hearing rumbles from the volcano and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in Miyazaki prefecture.
The volcano on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures started erupting on Wednesday for the first time in 6 years.
On Thursday, an ash plume rose 1,700 metres from the crater, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The agency has raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns people to not approach the volcano.
It forecast the crater would continue to emit ash and potentially volcanic rocks through Friday, but the locations at risk would depend on wind conditions and altitude.