go and stay at one of japan's hidden islands
You may have heard of Hachijojima island but most of you ( also most of Japanese even) have never heard of Aogashima island near the island.
This edition of Onegai Kaeru News introduces about the Aogashima, how to get there and where to stay ( also, how to stay there for free!).
By the way, in English, it is common to call islands in Japan "Iojima Island, Oshima island" but "Shima" and "Jima" means "island" in Japanese so we dropped these, simple call the islands, Hachijojima, Aogashima.
The island is located 358 km away to the south from Tokyo city center. It is still under the Tokyo city government administration but, with its around 160 villagers, is the smallest village in Japan.
The island is one of the mysterious islands with beautiful nature. It is a volcanic island 3.5 km in length with a width of 2.5 km, formed by the remains of several calderas. This makes the island look like a massive Balanomorpha.
Nobody knows when exactly people started living on this island. After a volcanic activity in 1785, this island had not been inhabited for almost 500 years.
There are one post office and one primary/Jr high school.
With only 160 people living, there is only one postal address to this island and the post worker delivers based on "name" of individual. With some people have the same family names...tough job for her/him.
When the weather is good, the night sky on the island is just wonderful.
There is no restaurant, but there are two Japanese bars( Izakaya) on the island. Islanders make a local alcohol Shochu (30%) from sweet potato called "Aochu (あおちゅう)".
How to get this 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:
For the 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
The fee: possibly changing every month ( 1300JPY one way per person as of June, 2015)
Run one round trip a day
Everyday at 07:00AM the decision made weather run or not.
For the ship company: Tokai-kisen
For the Helicopter
Helicopter type: a 9 seat 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)
Adult(12 year old or older) 11,530JPY
(as of June, 2015)
You MUST reserve a seat ( you can reserve, earliest, one month in advance)
Restriction and extra charge for the language weight/size
Be at the departure point 30-50mins before the departure time
For inquiry: +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. ( For more details as to Hachijojima ( how to get there and where to stay), refer to our Hachijojima article. )
For the flight
For inquiry/reservation : +81 570-029-222
For the ship
For inquiry/reservation : +81 3-5472-9999
Where to stay?
Based on the Aogashima tourism website( basically showing all available places to stay on the island with the map), there are 5 inns(6 in total but one inn is closed for now as of June, 2015) and 1 camping site.
The inn cost starting from 4000JPY per night per person with no meal up to 7500JPY - 9500JPY per night per person with 3 meals( breakfast, lunch and dinner)
The cheapest way to stay on Aogashima is to use the camping site. It is free but you need to fill in the application form( you find at ship port, heliport, village office) and submit to the village office ( 青ヶ島村役場 ). At the camping site, you can not drink tap water, you need to bring/buy from some shop on the island some water bottles.
It is a great way to stay but make sure your camping equipment are NOT too big or heavy so that you do not need to pay extra fee to get the island with the ship or helicopter...
For more beautiful photos of Aogashima, please check the Aogashima village office website( you will see the photos of ship, helicopter as well as the beautiful nature.
There are many beautiful islands in the region which are better known than Aogashima. Oshima, Toshima, Niijima, Shikinejima, Kozushima, Miyakejima, Mikurashima, Hachijojima. It may be a good idea to travel from one island to another in the region.
(Update: July, 2015
Onegai Kaeru team has had contacted Aogashima Village office to ask if boat or helicopter is better than the other to get the island. The office responded "definitely helicopter". The ship is quite often canceled. Even on a clear sunny day if the wave is high, the ship shall be canceled. )
Onegai Kaeru wants you to enjoy Japan trip.
If you are looking for more traveler"s info and can not find one, please let us know. We will try to help you with Japan Traveler Help Service (we work on hourly charge to arrange, book, find info you need). Feel free to contact us!
Source: Wikipedia, Aogashima village website, Tokaikisen, Tokyo Ailando shuttle, Gurunavi, Charly W. Karl
Disclaimer: Even though we try to make the info as updated and accurate but the accuracy of the information herein is not guaranteed by us. If you have any uncertainty, please contact the information source.