Food Local Nature

Let’s enjoy Japan off the beaten track in Aogashima Island

If you are visiting Japan for the first time, your list of places to visit is likely to include the must see places such as Kyoto and Tokyo. However you may also want to visit some more niche areas off the beaten track.  

We will introduce areas which will offer unique experiences quite different to the major tourist sights. In this article, we will introduce you to a lesser known Japan, in particular, its isolated islands. In this article, we will introduce Aogashima Island(青ヶ島), which is accessible from Tokyo.

This time we will present “Aogashima”, an island which is said to have the most beautiful stars in Tokyo.

About Aogashima Island(青ヶ島)

This island falls under the administration of Tokyo, although difficulty in access causes can often cause tourists to abandon their journey there.,The island is said to be “Hikyo” (Japanese term for an unexplored region) and its beautiful nature is preserved just like Jurassic Park.

The number of tourists visiting Aogashima per year is only around a 1000, and therefore it is not widely known. However, its main features are its land formation known as the Double Caldera which is a small volcano created within  a larger volcano, and of course, the most beautiful stars in Tokyo.

The highlight of the trip – the starscape

The stars here are as magnificent as any planetarium. There are no buildings or artificial lights interrupting the view. When you look up you will be able to gaze in fascination at the Milky way, Orion, and  other famous constellations. You will be able to view the stars as the Romans viewed them, when they named the constellations. The best place to star-gaze is without doubt the Oyama Prospect Park, which is the highest point on the island.

After you arrive at the island and drop off your luggage, the recommended first place to go should be Maruyama. On the top of the mountain, you will see a view over the island landscape where you can decide on your next destination. In addition, during the hour hike, you will be able to view seasonal flowers, small wild animals, and the Double Caldera.

After hiking in the mountain, the next place you will come across will be the“Fureai sauna” (the Japanese term for an interactive sauna) to refresh. This is a sauna which uses the heat from the fumaroles (an opening in or near a volcano where sulphurous gases emerge) and is a place of social gathering for the locals. Although, all tourists are welcome and “Chinetsugama” (which is next to the sauna) will offer you soft-boiled eggs and sweet potatoes. It is one of the best places to “Fureai”! After this, let’s enjoy the stars and enjoy a drink or two!

Enjoy local food and Sake

#青ヶ島 #島寿司 #aogashima #青ヶ島屋

A post shared by monpachi (@monmonpachi) on

The places of accommodation will serve you three meals for the day, since there are no restaurants on the island. At the accommodation, you will enjoy the “shima gohan” (local sushi using fish caught nearby) made by locals and the “Shochu” a sake made onthe island. In addition, there are two pubs where you are able to interact with the locals. After stargazing let’s spend the night with the locals who will give you a warm welcome!

Access to Aogashima Island 

There is no direct transport from the main island of Japan to Aogashima. You need to go to Hachijojima (which is 70km away from Aogashima) first and then take a helicopter or ship. This is far more difficult than getting Niyodo river (the clearest river in a hidden town in Kochi).

Between Hachijojima and Aogashima

By Ship
・Name of ship: Aogashimamaru (あおがしま丸)
・Arrival/Departure point in Hachijojima: Shihani port (底土港) 7-8 mins by taxi from Hachijojima airport
・Arrival/Departure point in Aogashima: Sanpou port (三宝港)
・No reservation needed
・Price: possibly changing every month ( 1300JPY one way per person as of June, 2015)
・Run one round trip a day
・Note: The ship does NOT run everyday( runs "4 days" in one week and closed on Sunday), you need to ask the ship company to make sure the ship runs (probability to run is 50-60% due to weather etc.) 
・Click here to check the ship calendar (changing every month in Japanese) 
・Everyday at 07:00AM the decision made weather run or not.
・Tel: +81-4996-9-0033

By Helicopter
・Helicopter type: 9 seats helicopter
・Travel duration: 20 minute travel
・Flying one round trip a day(09:20 AM departure from Hachijojima,  09:40AM arrival to Aogashima, 09:45AM departure from Aogashima, 10:05AM arrival to Hachijojima)
・Price: Adult(12 year old or older) 11,530JPY / Child(11 year old or younger) 8,070JPY
Here is the website of helicopter company for the latest fee and also credit card payment
・You must reserve a seat ( you can reserve, earliest, one month in advance). Restriction and extra charge for the language weight/size (230JPY per extra kilo)
・Be at the departure point 30-50mins before the departure time
・Tel: +81 4996-2-5200 (08:30-17:00 Open 365 day)
・For reservation:  +81 4996-2-5222 (09:00-16:00 Closed on Sunday)

Between Hachijojima and Tokyo city center area(main island)

It is around one hour flight from Haneda airport in Tokyo or 11 hour cruise from Takeshiba sanbashi bay in Tokyo to Hachijojima.

By Flight
・Company: ANA
・Tel/reservation : +81 570-029-222

By Ship
・Company: Tokai-Kisen
・Tel/reservation : +81 3-5472-9999

How does Aogashima sound to you?

We guarantee that the literally “out of this world” star scape and the healing nature of this island will become memories that you will never forget. Have a nice trip!

The following two tabs change content below.
Sketch

Sketch

Author