The Sakurajima volcano in southwestern Japan had an explosive eruption early Tuesday, spewing volcanic ash 5,000 meters into the sky, the Meteorological Agency said.

It is the first eruption projecting to such an altitude since August 2013 for the volcano within kilometers of downtown Kagoshima, a city of 606,000 and major shipping port in southwestern Japan.

The agency maintains its alert level for Sakurajima at 3, which warns people not to get close to the volcano, on a scale to 5.