WATCH: Hikers run from Japan volcano explosion
A volcano erupted in central Japan on Saturday, shooting ash and rocks into the air and leaving eight hikers reportedly injured.
The eruption of the 3,067-metre (10,121-foot) Mount Ontake happened around midday, the meteorological agency said.
Television footage showed huge clouds of smoke billowing from the summit of the peak, which is a popular destination for trekkers.
Users took to social media to post pictures of the eruption.
Instagram user kobotamatsukuri posted the picture below of cars covered in black ash, with the caption: "Mount Ontake is erupting. Today my sister and her children are going to there for trecking. I am worried about them. This pic is sent from her."
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said eight people were injured, while local authorities said they had received several unconfirmed reports of injuries to mountaineers.
“Details, including the number of the injured, remain unknown as we are still sorting out information,” said an official of the Nagano prefecture fire department.
The meteorological agency forecast further eruptions of the mountain, warning that volcanic debris may fall within 4km of the peak.
The agency also placed restrictions on access to the mountain, while calling on local residents to remain on alert as an eruption could shatter windows miles away.