Hachijojima Island is an island engulfed by a warm breeze that seems to come from every direction. The climate is very mild which results in a tropical environment which is quite different from the other Tokyo islands. Tropical trees and plants grow throughout the island with palm trees growing well into the mountains with the ocean being a heaven for tropical fish and coral. This is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Table of Contents
1. Must-see spots on Hachijojima Island
2. Must-do Activities on Hachijojima Island
3. Night Activities
4. Must-eat on Hachijojima Island
5. Where you can try some local foods?
6. Find Accommodation on Hachijojima Island
8. Tips for traveling around Hachijojima Island
Must-see spots on Hachijojima Island
You might be suprised by the nature on Hachijojima. Here you will find an ocean, mountains, waterfalls, craters and lava, forest and stars. Everything in one place. How to enjoy the island as much as possible? Here is a list of sights you should check out on Hachijojima.
Hachijo Fuji (the official name being Mt.Nishi) is one of the best views on Hachijojima. Its height being 854m. After climbing 1280 steps, which takes less than one hour, you can oversee the city of Hachijojima, the ocean and Mt. Mihara (the official name being Mt.Higashi). At the top of the mountain, you can walk around the caldera. When you go around the caldera, you will feel like walking in the sky. Also within the caldera, there are virgin forests, a number of ponds as well as the Asama shrine. This is a must visit place on Hachijojima.
Address: Mitsune, Hachijojima, Tokyo
Mt. Mihara towers over Hachijo Fuji. Mt.Mihara is one of the best hiking places and there are two absolute-must-see spots on this mountain. The hiking trail will last about 2 hours and 30 minutes in total and there aren’t that many steep inclines or descents. So if you are new to hiking, it will be an easy experience.
Iounuma Pond*Because the steep ridge has collapsed significantly, the waterfall is now off-limits.(July 6th, 2020)
It takes about 30 minutes (1200m) on foot from the parking area of Iounuma and Karataki. Iounuma is an emerald green pond. This beautiful and calm pond is surronded by green forests. You can see the beautiful scenery mirrored when standing at the side of the pond.
Address: Suekichi, Hachijo-machi, Tokyo
Karataki fall/*Because the steep ridge has collapsed significantly, the waterfall is now off-limits.(July 6th, 2020)
It takes about 30 minutes(1200m) on foot from the parking area of Iounuma and Karataki. When you pass Iounima, after about 25 minutes on foot, you will see the Karataki fall. Karataki is a 36 meter long waterfall and you can see the grand scenery of its cliffs. Also because there is plenty of water, there is also plenty of moss growing. This is a beautiful secret spot on Hachijojima.
Address: Kashitate,Hachijo-machi, Tokyo
Parking area close to Mt.Mihara
How to get there: Head to Nakanogo（中之郷） by car or bus. When taking a bus, use the Sakashita/Sakaue route and get off at “Tomijiro Shoten Mae（富次朗商店前）. There you will find the Mukashi no Tomijiro Cafe（むかしの富次朗）and there is a road toward Karataki/Iounuma at the right side of the cafe. It takes about 20 minutes on foot or 5 minutes by car to the parking area.
Before you climb Mt.Mihara
1. Wear some clothes that are easy to change. Also wear sneakers or hiking shoes. (Please don’t wear sandals or fashionable shoes)
2. Buy some drinks or snacks if you need before you climb. (Tomijiro Shoten is the closest store)
3. Please don’t enter the Sulfur mining site next to Karataki because it is unsafe.
The name for the waterfall, Uramigataki （裏見ヶ滝）, is derived from the fact that it is possible to walk behind it (urami means back view). As if you have wandered into a jungle, you get to feel Hachijojima’s nature up close, and with the double effect of natural air and onsen you’re guaranteed to feel recuperated. For an undoubtedly refreshing experience, take a moment to take in the view of the waterfall before dipping into the onsen.
Address: 1355, Nakanogo, Hachijo-maji, Tokyo
The pothole, A hole within a waterway flowing through rock, is one of several natural monuments on Hachijojima Island. There is whole range of holes, from small ones to one meter wide ones. The best time to visit is in the morning. The contrast between the sun and the water is very beautiful.
Address: Sueyoshi, Hachijo-machi, Tokyo
On the way to Hachijofuji, you will find a sign pointing you towards Fureai Farm. It takes about 15 minutes from the port. The view from the farm is absolutely beautiful. You can see the ocean and also Hachijojima airport. Since it is possible to see the port, you can experience planes landing and taking off. The cows seem happy living on a pasture with a beautiful view of the ocean.
Address: 5627-1, Okagou, Hachijo-machi, Tokyo
Hachijo Kojima (uninhabited island)
Hachijo Kojima is an uninhabited island where people used to live until 1969. You will find an abandoned school, some shrines and so on. It is possible to visit this island if you join the tour.
Tour: Please ask to Hachijojima Tourism Office
Must-do Activities on Hachijojima Island
What should you experience on Hachijojima? There is so much to do you should not miss out on any of these.
Hachijojima is one of the best places for swimming and snorkeling. The deep beautiful blue ocean, (a.k.a Hachijo Blue Ocean) is loved by even sea turtles!
Please check the Hachijojima Tourism Office’s Twitter for daily updates on the condition of the sea. And be advised that the it can be dangerous to visit without knowing the current condition.
The black sand beach is the most popular beach on Hachijojima. Since there is a tide pool, it is a good experience for kids as well. There is also a high chance to meet sea turtles if you go snorkeling and see coral.
This is a relatively calm beach with wave-dissipating blocks. Because there are many fish it is the good place to snorkel.
This is a calm beach in the port and a good place to swim with small kids.
Other Beaches are here.
Uramigataki Onsen: an onsen situated within a forest overlooking a waterfall
Uramigataki Onsen is a 25 minute drive from Sokotsuchi Port, and is located in a place surrounded by the kind of unspoilt nature you would expect on a remote island. It’s a rotenburo (open air bath) style onsen, with a fantastic view overlooking a waterfall.
Uramigataki Onsen is a coed bath where swimsuits are required. So regardless of whether you are visiting with family, as a couple or with friends, you can all have fun in the rotenburo(Open-air bath) together. Be aware that there is only one dressing room, so it’s more practical to come with your swimsuit already on. There are no lockers on site, so avoid bringing any valuables. Uramigataki onsen is free of charge, so just bring along your swimsuit, or stop by after a swim in the ocean to relax.
Address: Nakanogou-mura, Hachijo-machi, Hachijojima
Hours: 10AM – 9PM
Sueyoshi Onsen Miharashi-no-yu: The Perfect Place For Stargazing
Sueyoshi Onsen Miharashi-no-yu is a 35 minute drive from Sokodo Port, or half an hour from Yaene Port. This onsen features an indoor daitenbouburo (large onsen with scenic view) as well as an outdoor rotenburo, the latter with a magnificent view of the ocean. You can see as far as Koiwadogahana, the southernmost tip of Hachijojima. As it’s open till 9:30PM, you can enjoy a dip while gazing up at the starry sky. Here, unlike in the city, the sky is filled with stars. We highly recommend enjoying the view while soaking yourself in the rotenburo. A view unlike any other in Hachijojima.
Sueyoshi Onsen Miharashi-no-yu
Address: 581-1 Suekichigo, Hachijo-machi
Hours: 10:30AM – 9:30PM
Entrance Fee: Adult ¥500, Children ¥200
Ashiyu Kirameki: Hachijojima’s One And Only Footbath, And With Spectacular Views Too
Ashiyu Kirameki is a half hour drive from Sokodo Port, or a 25 minute drive from Yaene Port. It’s Hachijojima’s one and only footbath, and it’s located in a fantastic spot with a fantastic view from Aigae Bay of the Pacific Ocean. It was named Kirameki, which means sparkle, after the way the ocean at Aigae Bay glimmers. A popular spot among locals and tourists alike, you can warm your feet whilst enjoying the view of the ocean glimmering as it reflects the light from the sun, just as the name suggests. It’s busy during winter times too when you can watch the sun set into the horizon. As it’s free of charge, it’s a nice casual place to stop by and relax.
Address: Nakanogou-mura, Hachijo-machi, Tokyo
Hours: 11AM – 9PM
Hachijojima was formed of lava, so even under the sea, you can see the lava formations. The blue ocean in Hachijojima is called “Hachijo Blue”. Hachijo Blue is deep and clear. Also, you will be suprised to see that there are many sea turtles, table coral and lots of tropical fish. The ocean of Hachijojima is literaly the treasure of living creatures since there are more than 700 kinds within this ecosystem. If you like dynamic terrain, there are big underwater archs.
There are 3 choices for scuba diving.
Experience diving without a license/beach diving with a license/boat diving with a license
If you are interested in scuba diving, go to Hachijojima Tourism Office Page (google translate)
You might not believe you can see the sea turtles by snorkeling on Hachijojima, but you can! The snorkeling point where you can meet sea turtles and different kinds of fish is Sokodo. Especially in summer, there are many people that snorkel around this area. Even small kids enjoy snorkeling in Sokodo. The other option is a tide pool in Yaene area. Not many waves come in but still you can see a lot of fish there.
The island has more to offer than just the sea. Its mountains are equally attractive. This volcanic island’s unique atmosphere and its wonderful scenery are great. Check Hachijo-Fuji and Mt. Mihara which we mentioned above out.
Because of the Kuroshio current flows, fishing is a thriving business. From brownstriped mackerel to oval squid, there are lots of seasonal fish in Hachijojima. Also the fishing guides will introduce you to shops that cook fish caught on Hachijojima. Also they arrange shipping to your home, selling fishing tools etc., you don’t need to worry about anything if this will be your first fishing experience.
If you want to find a fishing guide, go to Hachijojima Tourism Office Homepage. (Google Translate)
Weaving the traditional fabrics of Hachijojima
Did you know there are several different kinds of fabric used for making Kimonos? There is one traditional fabric made on Hachijojima, named Kihachijo. Kihachijo is dyed using three different kinds of plants. Here on Hachijojima, you can experience the sight of Kihachijo kimonos or you can actually experience the weaving itsef.
If you want to experience Kihachijo, go to Hachijojima Tourism Office Homepage. (Google Translate)
There are many things to experience even if it rains. One of the most popular passtimes is to decorate sandals. These sandals are not your usual ones. They are called “Gyosan” which fishermen started to wear in order to avoid slipping on wet surfaces. Many islanders on Tokyo Islands are using those sandals and you can decorate them according to your own taste. Another popular experience is making driftwood lights or interiors. Use the driftwood picked at the beaches in Hachijojima and make lights or interiors with it. Another experience is the making of salt. Use the seawater of Hachijojima and make your own salt! Futhermore, you can experience making candles, making beach grass accessaries, cooking with local ingredients and so on….
Ever dreamt of doing Yoga outdoors? This dream will come true on Hachijojima. There are a number of Yoga classes providing this experience. At the beach, in front of the fall… you can do yoga in the fresh air. There might be chances to do yoga before sunset or under the stars too. Enjoy the relaxation outdoors.
If you want to experience yoga outdoors, go to Hachijojima Tourism Office Homepage. (Google Translate)
Camp and BBQ（Campsites are closed in 2020)
Outdoor lovers, here it is. There are several camp and BBQ sites which you will love. Also Hachijojima Tourism Office prepares the rental BBQ sets at a charge. (details below)
Status of summer events/events, campgrounds/BBQ areas in 2020 (Google Translate is available)
– Sokodo Camp Field (Camp and BBQ)
It takes 5 minutes from Sokodo port on foot or 8 minutes from Hachijojima airport by car. Sokodo camp field is the biggest camping site on Hachijojima. If you don’t have a car, you can still come here on foot from the port where the big ferries dock. Even if you are not planning to stay at any of the camps, you can make use of them as a day camp area or BBQ site. These are suitable for a big number of groups too. It is also easy to access the beach from Sokodo camp. Although camping or BBQs are free of charge , you need to register to Hachijojima town hall by phone.
・Hot water shower
・Built-in table set
Things to ask when making a reservation
· usage period (the date/hours)
· Number of people
· Name, the address and the phone number/email address of a representative
· The transportation between Tokyo and Hachijojima
Sokodo Camp Field
Address:4188, Mitsune, Hachijo-machi, Hachijojima island, Tokyo
Register: Hachijo Tourism Office +81-4996-2-1377
– Hachijo Praza Park (Camp and BBQ)
It takes 15 minutes from Sokodo port or 12 minutes from Hachijojima airport by car. Hachijo Praza Park opened in 2017. It is serene campsite surrounded by green and calm. There is a kitchen space with a roof and you can enjoy BBQ without worrying about the weather. Also as a kid friendly place, there is a slide for children and playground equipment. Although the fee of camping or BBQ is for free, you need to register to Hachijojima town hall by phone.
・Cooking space with roof
Things to ask when making a reservation
· usage period
· Number of people, presence or absence of people living in the island and their number
· Necessity/unnecessary of nighttime lighting
· the Number of tent lots, number of cars
· Name, the address and the phone number/email address of a representative
Hachijo Praza Park
Address:1408-3, Okago, Hachijo-machi, Hachijojima island, Tokyo
Register: Hachijo town hall, Construction office, Construction Division +81-4996-2-1124
Not only day activities, night activities are also aplenty. You may want to keep awake after midnight on Hachijojima.
You may think there are no night views on an island since there are not many people living here but you’d be mistaken. If you go up to the Noboryu Touge lookout(登龍峠展望台), you will see the beautiful night view. It takes 15 minutes from Sokodo port to the lookout by car. You can also see Hachijo Fuji and Hachijo Kofuji from here during day time.
Noboryo Touge Lookout
In Hachijjima, you may see the countless stars and even the milky way. There are several recommended places where you can gaze the stars. Here is the list of the best places to star gaze.
Since this is not a huge island, it is possible to see both Sunset and Sunrise in Hachijojima. If you want to see the sunset, go to the west beach side of the island such as the Okago area. Especially Nanbara Coast of Permian Rocks is the best place to see the sunset.
About the sunrise, it is better to see it from a somewhat higher position, such as the top of Hachijofuji. If you want to see the sunrise where it is warmer and comfortable, Bagaloo Coo is the best place to see the sunrise. The sun goes up from the horizon and you can experience this moment at the Bagaloo.
Nanbara Coast of Permian Rocks
Address: 8257, Okago, Hachijo-machi, Hachijojima island, Tokyo
Address:166, Sueyoshi, Hachijo-machi, Hachijojima island, Tokyo
Glowing Mushroom Night Tour
During the humid season, at the end of May to the beginning of September, you may be able to see the glowing mushrooms at night. When the temperature is high and humid, the mushrooms are booming. There are some tours but there is no guarantee that you will see glowing mushrooms. So go to the Hachijo visitor center and you can see the glowing mushroom inside of the facility.
Hachijo Visitor Center
Address: 2843, Okago, Hachijo-machi, Hachijojima island, Tokyo
Must-eat on Hachijojima Island
One of the most exciting things of travelling is experiencing the local foods. There are some traditional foodsof Hachijojima which you should definitely try.
Shima Zushi is a kind of sushi where raw fish is marinated with a special sauce, including soy sauce, sake and some other ingredients. And in the end, putting some mustard on the rice to make it a little spicy.
Ashitaba is a kind of leaf from the family Seriacea which is grown on the Izu Islands. Ashitaba tempura, Ashitaba fried rice, Ashitaba dressed with sesami sauce, Ashitaba miso soup or boiled Ashitaba etc…. There are many ways to eat Ashitaba.
Kusaya is a japanese style salted and dried and fermented fish. Although the smell of kusaya is strong, the taste is nice. It is good finger food to go alongside some nice alcoholic beverages.
Hachijojima milk and cheese
The milk is produed by Jersey’s cows on Hachijojima. The Jersey’s cow is raised in the rich nature of the island. Also they never eat any genetically-modified crops so the cows are very healthy. The milk is used to produce icecreams, gelato, and cheese. Also the mozzarella cheese(Mozzarella Dorata) received the gold medal of The Japan Cheese Award 2018, you must try this one.
Hachijo Lemon(a.k.a Fruit Lemon) is different from the normal lemon. It’s triple the size and the taste is less sour. You can even eat the peel. Put it on sandwiches or in a hotpot, make Lemon water… there are many uses for this special lemon.
Taking advantage of the tropical climate, passion fruit is grown in Hachijojima. Passion fruit’s jam, juice, fruit cake etc…
If you would love to try shochu in Japan, Shochu in Hachijojima is good for beginers. The shochu in Hachijojima doesn’t have a strong taste and is easy to drink.
Where you can try some local foods and sweet?
Ryozanpaku(Local dish Japanese bar)
Daikichimaru(Local dish Japanese bar)*No English Menu and english speakers
Ginpachi(Sushi restaurant)*Please check the photos on this website before you go. http://w01.tp1.jp/~a708644851/osina.html
Ikkyuan(Udon noodle restaurant)
Aigae Suisan(Local dish restaurant and Japanese bar)
Murata(Local dish Japanese bar)
Find Accommodation on Hachijojima Island
Now let’s find some accommodation on Hachijojima. Go to the website of Hachijojima Tourism organizations. You will find some choices on the website. However, some proprietors of accommodations cannot communicate in English, so it is better that you speak Japanese or use google translate.
There are basically 2 ways to head to Hachijojima Island. First is by boat and the second is plane.
There is a large ferry that goes to Hachijojima Island.
-by Large Ship about 10 hours 20 minutes and about ¥17,000 for round trip(2nd class seat)
If you want to book the ship tickets, go to tokyoislands.jp and book from the top page.
Also there is a plane that flies to Hachijojima Island from Haneda Airport by ANA.
If you want to book the plane tickets, go to ANA SKY WEB.
Tips for traveling around Hachijojima Island
If you go to Hachijojima Island take the following into consideration:
TRANSPORTATION ON HACHIJOJIMA ISLAND
The best means of transportation on Hachijojima Island is by rental car. The fee varies between 3,000 to 10,000 yen per day. It depends on the size of the car. If you come from abroad, you will need an international driver’s licence. So if you want to go around the island, which is around 45 km, better rent a car.
A scooter is another option. Same as with rental cars, you will need an International Driver’s licence. The fee varies between 2,500 to 6,500 yen for 1 day. It depends on the type of scooter.
Using a taxi is another convenient way to get around. The drivers know Hachijojima Island very well and can take you around the island. The fee is from about 5,900 yen for 1 hour.
There are also buses. The buses come once every hour or 2 hours. Bear in mind also that the buses don’t go to some places during off-season. It is better to decide where you want to go at first and plan your trip.
Mountain bikes or bicycles are also available. It costs 2,000 yen to rent a mountain bike. If you want to go around the island, it should take about 6 hours. Also there are steep hills, so it can be a little hard to bike around. If you want to challenge yourself or enjoy the view of ocean, a bicycle will be a good choice for you.
BOOK RESTAURANTS IN ADVANCE
Especially during holiday seasons, A lot of restaurants in Hachijojima Island tend to be fully booked. Even during off season, it might be hard to find a restaurant that is open. So it is better to call and make a reservation the day before you go, or if it is hard to speak in Japanese for you, Hachijojima Tourism Office will help you to book.
SUMMER SEASONS, GOLDEN WEEK (APR 27TH TO MAY 6TH, 2019) OR ANY OTHER JAPANESE HOLIDAYS
People will book accommodation, transportation or restaurants in advance for summer seasons, golden week or any other japanese holidays. Some people make the reservations 1 year ahead! If you decide to go to Hachijojima Island during the holidays, better book as soon as possible. Ship tickets are available 2 months before the date of travel.