Below is a guide on what to prepare and pack for a trip to Tokyo Islands (officially known as the Izu islands). Follow these tips and you’re all set to go!
What to do before heading out to Tokyo Islands
If you’re wondering how best to prepare for your first trip to Tokyo Islands, below is a list of things we recommend you do at the bare minimum.
It’s best to make advanced reservations. Summer time in particular can get very busy, so we recommend purchasing tickets as early as possible.
Reservations can be made here.
There aren’t many large scale hotels on Tokyo Islands. More common are minshuku, a sort of Japanese bed and breakfast, but reservations are a must as capacity is limited. For weekends and/or high season, it’s sometimes necessary to book as early as 2 months prior to your stay, so book early!
Reservations for accommodation on Tokyo Islands can be made here or below.
Public transportation is limited on Tokyo Islands, so renting a car is the best way to get around the island. For those traveling from overseas, be sure to bring your international driver’s license!
Other Transportation on Tokyo Islands
Izu Oshima-Oshima bus and taxies(Japanese Only)
Toshima- No rental cars, buses or taxies.
Niijima- Fureai buses and taxies ( Japanese Only)
Kozushima- Buses and taxies (Japanese Only)
Miyakejima-Buses (There are 2 days pass or 3 days pass tickets too.) (Japanese Only)
Mikurajima-No buses, taxies or rental cars.
Hachijojima- Buses and taxies are available.
Aogashima- No buses or taxies. Only rental cars are available. (Japanese Only)
What to Pack
Those taking the large ferry to the island will arrive there very early in the morning. As none of the shops and restaurants are open yet at this hour, it’s best to pack your own breakfast. I often take foods like rice balls and bananas that can keep at room temperature.
If you’re stuck without anything to do in the morning, check to see if there are any hot springs available as some open early depending on which island you are at.
Also, it’s easier to get sea sick on an empty stomach. So if you plan on going dolphin watching at Mikurajima or any of the other islands, we recommend having a small bite even if you normally don’t eat breakfast.
I always pack an instant cup noodle as I like having them on the return leg of the journey. They’re also available for purchase on-board.
Below is my personal packing list I use every time I visit Tokyo Islands.
I find it useful to have a few of these saved on my iPhone for all my travels. I reference the one most applicable depending on destination/purpose.
What you should bring
•Breakfast (for those taking the large ferry)
•Motion sickness pills (the large ferry can sway quite a bit sometimes. The jet ferry hardly does, but it doesn’t hurt to pack some just in case)
•Swim suit (if you plan on dolphin watching, take at least 2. If you booked a full day course and don’t like putting on wet swimsuits, it’s worth taking an extra pair to change into after lunch. Even if you don’t plan on doing any water sports, it’s good to have one for the public hot spring baths.
•Beach sandals (you can pick up a pair of ‘Gyo-san’ sandals sold at stores across the island. They’re comfortable and slip proof)
•Sunglasses and hat
•Shampoo and other toiletries (some hotels will carry them, but if you plan on going to the beach they come in handy)
•Towels (some hotels will carry them, but they come in handy at the beach)
•Camera, battery, chargers
•Cup noodles (for passengers of the large ferry, or hikes)
•Nail care products (nail filers and cutters)
-For those planning on hiking
•Hiking boots (there are some muddy paths, so it’s best to bring a pair), socks, long pants, long sleeve top, bag
•Picnic mats (not just for hiking but useful for sitting on on the ferry)
•Instant coffee and soup
-For those planning on dolphin watching
•Mask, snorkel, fins (rental available on island)
•Anti-fog spray (available on-board some boats)
•Waterproof bag (for stowing sunglasses, water, and other goods while on the boat)
•Thermos (for sipping warm drinks on the boat in cold weather)
How to spend your time on the large ferry
To make sure you are in good shape to get on with activities as soon as you arrive on the island, it’s important to spend time on the outbound boat wisely. In other words, getting enough sleep in an unfamiliar environment!
I spent my night sleeping in the second class Japanese style rooms, wrapped up in a rental blanket. I make sure to pack a parker, leggings and socks as even in the summer, it can get quite cold at night when out in the sea.
In general, I pack things as I would for a flight.
What you need on the large ferry
•Ear plugs (to cut out the noise of the engine as well as surroundings)
•Sleeping mask (especially if you can only sleep in the dark)
•Face mask (to prevent your mouth from drying)
•Aroma oil (I pack lavender oils and infuse my towel which I then place near the pillow, helping me to sleep better)
•Small flashlight (useful, such as when you want to take something out of your bag in the middle of the night)
In case I can’t sleep, I make sure to have a book or film downloaded on my iPhone.
If you have a tendency to get seasick, be sure to take motion sickness pills before you board. I hear sparking water can help prevent seasickness too, so it might be worth a try. Also good to have a paper bag nearby just to be safe.
Even if you have never gotten seasick, if it’s your first time on a large-sized boat or dolphin watching, my recommendation would be to take a motion sickness pill just in case.
I always pack some with me to take after breakfast before boarding any boats.
Staying at Izu Oshima
-Bring your ID
From now to March 31st, 2017, travelers to Izu Oshima island are eligible to have their hotel/ryokan/minshuku cost subsidized. There is a subsidy of 3,000 JPY per night, per person (up to 2 nights per trip)
Eligibility: Travelers staying at Izu Oshima. Bring along your ID and apply for the discount at Oshima Tourism Association.
Oshima Tourism Association contact number: (+81) 04992-2-2177
*It was by March 31st, 2017
And that’s it. We hope you enjoy your stay at Tokyo Islands!