Japan's Meteorological Agency says a volcano erupted on Kuchinoerabu Island in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima on Tuesday.

Mount Shindake erupted explosively shortly after 4:30 PM.

A column of volcanic ash rose 2,000 meters into the air, and large rocks were seen spewing from the crater.

A pyroclastic flow reached a distance of about one kilometer down the western slope. It is the first such flow to be observed there since May of 2015, when all residents were evacuated.

Mount Shindake has been erupting sporadically since October.

The agency is keeping its eruption alert level at three on a scale of one to five.

Officials are warning residents to be on the alert for volcanic rocks and pyroclastic flows within two kilometers of the crater and some other areas.