Everything "Izu" alright in this paradise accessible from Tokyo.
Often overlooked for the semi-tropical Ogawasara Islands, the Izu Islands are a must for onsen lovers, sushi fans and nature enthusiasts who are looking for the ultimate Japan adventure.
The island chain, which juts off the Izu Peninsula, is administered by Tokyo. Each Island holds unique activities and attractions that make it a picture-perfect getaway that is still accessible from mainland Tokyo. Here is a quick recap of highlights from nine of the islands tourists can visit via plane or ferry.
Oshima is the largest of the Izu Islands. Take a 5 kilometer trek along the Pacific Ocean in Oshima Park or hike. It’s also home to Mount Mihara, a volcano that last erupted in 1990. As you can see, it’s home to vibrant sea life, too.
Sandwiched between Oshima and Niijima is the tiny island of Toshima, with a population of just 330 people. Try your hand at making camelia oil or have a meal of spiny lobster and turban shell.
Niijima is known for glass art and stone figures that watch over white sandy beaches like Habushiura Beach. If you’re brave, try kusaya, a fermented, salted, and dried fish. Also a popular surfing destination in Japan.
Sightseeing can be limited, but Shikine-jima is the perfect place to get off-grid, recharge, and soak in onsen. A popular co-ed onsen is Jinata Hot Spring. You’ll be able to do plenty of fishing, snorkeling and swimming, too. Plus, just look at that view!
Located in the middle of the Izu Island chain is Kozu-jima, a small island with hiking spot Mount Tenjou situated in its center. A remote island that does hold camping facilities for those outdoor adventurers.
Once evacuated due to volcanic activity, some areas of Miyake-jima remain off limits due to sulfur dioxide emissions from Mount Oyama. Bird watching, swimming with dolphins, and diving are popular activities.
Mirakura-shima offers little to do in terms of tourism, but the surrounding area more-than makes up for it with ample opportunities for dolphin watching and scuba diving.
Check out the glow-in-the-dark mushroom exhibit at Hachiji Botanical Park or head to Furusato Mura for a taste of island life of days gone by. Don’t leave Hachijojima without tasting shima zushi, sushi prepared with locally-caught fish soaked in soy sauce and flavored with sugar.
The southernmost of the Izu Islands is Aogashima. Home to less than 170 residents, Aogashima is the ultimate nature retreat where you can scuba dive and fish all year round. This tiny island has a big spirit.