Hachijo-jima: The Nature Island of Tokyo


 

From Tokyo Haneda airport, it only takes one hour to reach the semi-tropical island of Hachijo-jima, a small island lost in the pacific ocean. The island is far from the capital but don’t forget that you are still in the Tokyo Prefecture area. A lot of surprises await you, as the local cuisine or the numerous outdoor activities offered by this little paradise.


Here, you will move  easily by taking the main road that surrounds the island. The inland of Hachijo-jima is mountainous, and you will find many interesting trails to hike, especially on Mt Hachijo-Fuji from which you have a breathtaking view over the spectacular landscape surrounding you. The hiking trail is named Hachijo-Fuji ohachi. The beginning of the walk is quite difficult as you climb the stone stairs hidden in the forest. You could reach the crater in about 3 hours. There you will see a shinto shrine called Asama with its stone Torii (the entrance of a shinto sanctuary)scattered in the green forests gradually disappearing, giving way to an unbelievable landscape.




Due to the volcano, a stunning lava field has appeared along the west coastline, in Nanbara Senjojiki located 3 kilometers from the airport. You could feel as you were on the coast of Iceland, admiring the beautiful contrast between the black basalt beaches and the green mountains with high cliffs diving straight into the emerald ocean. Also, the island is full of volcanic hot springs (onsen) where you could relax. Most of these onsen are located south of the island and could be very different depending on the landscape surrounding it. North of the Aigae port, you could find a very interesting trail in the heart of a lush forest by heading to the Uramiga waterfalls. In addition, when you will reach the Uramigataki hot springs, you will find yourself lost in a breathtaking landscape, sit in the natural bath, listening to the relaxing sound of the falls.



In the southeast, it is strongly advised to go to the Miharashi onsen, offering a magnificent view of the mountainous coastline.

 

The local cuisine is rich in fresh seasonal fishes usually prepared as sushis. However, one of the most famous specialities is the Kusaya flying fish that you could enjoy with a refreshing glass of shochu, a famous japanese brandy made from rice, buckwheat, corn, or sweet potato. To taste it, back to the center of the island, near the port of Sokobo, where you also find beautiful beaches for swimming. For anyone who love surfing, Hacho-jima has very good spots on the southeastern coastline.









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