The contrasting white sands and painterly light blue of the ocean leaves visitors to Niijima with quiet the impression. 3 hours away on a high speed jet boat from the city. Here is a list of our most recommended destinations including attractions, restaurants, cafes, events and transportation for a 2 day trip to Niijima.
Table of Contents
1. Must-see spots on Niijima Island
2. Must-do Activities on Niijima Island
3. What you can do at night?
4. Where you can try some local foods?
5. What kinds of foods are there on Niijima?
6. accommodation on Niijima Island
7. Access and tips for traveling around Niijima
Must-See spots on Niijima Island
Habushiura beach is a well known surf spot. Its water’s beauty far exceeds that of other places. It’s beyond mere description how clear and transparent the water is. The water at Habushiura beach is of a color you won’t find anywhere else. A pastel light blue, as blue as though it were painted by an artist.
The cherry on the cake at Habushiura beach is this white building. Its presence is so grand it’s almost asking to have its photo taken. The tourists heed to this by snapping away tons of photos.
*This is not a swimming area. The waves are strong here so please keep away from the water’s edge.
3 Honmura, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Fujimitoge Observatory offers an all inclusive viewing spot of the ocean, mountain and city. You can go from the base of the mountain to the top in 10 minutes by car. There is also a hiking course which will take around 2 hours on foot. (Bycicles are not allowed). An observatory recommended for anyone who wants an all encompassing view of Niijima.
Official website here
It takes about 20 minutes by car from Niijima port. You will arrive at Ishiyama Observatory which is a mining ground for Koga stone. There is a large Koga stone object, Moyai. You can look over Shikinejima, Kozushima and other small islands. You will be surprised by how blue the ocean is. As might be expected from a Koga stone mining ground, the place is scattered with stone. Everywhere you look there’s stone.
Boro Sanbashi (Pier)
Boro Sanbashi is the islanders’ favorite scenic spot. The pier is ideally suited for taking pictures of its photogenic surroundings. It takes just 2 minutes by car or around 20 minutes on foot from Niijima port. It is an easy to miss spot, so please take a look here:
Secret(Shiro Mama Cliff)
As the name suggests, this is a secret place on Niijima. This is one of the best surfing spots in Japan and also, beautiful white cliffs stretch along the coast. This scenic spot is very attractive, however the cliffs are prone to collapse.. PLEASE DO NOT GET CLOSE TO THE CLIFFS. Please make sure that you view the cliffs from the coast line from a safe distance.
As there are 13 deities, it goes by the name of Jusan(13) sha Shrine. The combination of a Japanese shrine and tropical trees are unique. The mountain that rises behind the shrine is also a sight to behold.
If you come to Niijima with kids, this is the place to visit! There are animals made of stones. The stone zoo is located next to the Habushiura campsite. Enjoy finding your favorite animal!
Glass Art Center
The Niijima Glass Art Center is in a stylish building standing in an open space facing the ocean. Here, Koga stones are used as raw material to make pieces of glass art. There’s a line of glass art in unique shapes and colors that can be bought to take home as a souvenir. They also offer classes for making glass goods from Koga stone.
Glass Art Center
Hours:10:00 to 16:30
Holiday:Every Tuesday, year-end and New Year holidays
Niijima-mura Museum is a place to learn about the history of how Niijima came to be, such as how in the Edo era, criminals who were exiled ended up on the island, or how one of those criminals is rumored to have been Tonomo Souma, last leader of the infamous Shinsengumi. There’s a lot of trivia, and while I originally thought I’d be done in about 10 minutes, I ended up staying for close to an hour.
The staff are very knowledgeable too, and will happily answer any questions that you may have. I left feeling smarter, and enriched with new knowledge.
2-36-3 Honmura, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Hours: 9AM – 5PM
Official website here
The stone and water-themed water park is like being in Rome. There is a restaurant, Rest House, within the park as well.
Must-do Activities on Niijima Island
This beach is one of the most popular beaches on Niijima. During summer time shade from the sun will be provided for on the beach. So you don’t need to bring your own parasol. If you wish to visit with kids or if you are not very proficient at swimming, this is the best place to relax at the beach as it is shielded from high waves.
In Niijima, there are a lot of surfers raised, also many champions have visited. Here is the very famous place for surfing. The strong waves, emerald blue sea, bright blue sky and clear air….Many surfers are just fall’in love. Surprisingly, the key pioneers of this restoration drama were surfers who came from abroad. These surfers who traveled all over the world were struck by Niijima’s rich nature, beautiful sea, and world class waves, and began to share their find with the world. If you are sarfer, here is the mast visit place for you.
Yunohama Roten Onsen
Yunohama Roten Onsen is conveniently located just 10 minutes from Niijima port. What’s more, this rotenburo, or outdoor hot spring, is free for all to use. The view from the highest rotenburo, which has an Ancient Greek inspired design, is quite something. You can see so far that the curve of the horizon is visible. A view like this for free? How generous of you Niijima! What’s more, it’s open 24 hours a day, so you can even go whenever and however many times as you please.
As it’s cleaned frequently, it’s kept in good condition despite being free. As it’s a mixed gender bath, visitors are required to wear a swimsuit so it’s a great destination for both families and friends. It’s great fun for larger groups as well.
Yunohama Roten Onsen
Setoyama, Honmura, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Official website here
Mamashita Onsen is located 15 minutes on foot from Niijima port. There are not only hotspring or outdoor hot spring, but also a sauna and a sand bath! The cost is 300yen for hotsprings and a sauna, also 700yen for a sand bath. You don’t need to wear a swimsuits here for hot springs because here is separated by genders. Here is also good place to chat with islanders.
Setoyama, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Fee: Hotsprings- 300yen
Sand bath- 700yen
What you can do at night?
Go to a snack and Karaoke bar
If you want to enjoy some night entertainment on Niijima, go check out Ganbarujan bar. It’s both a snack and Karaoke bar run by a lady owner. Many islanders visit Ganbarujan to enjoy Karaoke and have some drinks. There’s a 750 yen seat charge. Beverages start from 750 yen. If you missed out on dinner you can also have a light meal here. For Karaoke it’s 200 yen per song. If you would like to hang out with some local people, this is the best place to meet them.
Business hours: 7:30pm – 1:30am
Map: Tokyo, Niijima, Honson, 1 Chome 9-4
Where you can try some local foods?
The owner at Sakae Sushi, who is a native of Niijima island, filets the fish himself. While the sight of him doing so is charming enough, the taste of sushi here is vouched for by locals. As the sushi tastes great and the shop spacious and clean, the place is busy not just with tourists but locals as well.
We recommend trying the shimazushi, literally island sushi, that can only be found on the Izu islands. Shimazushi is sushi topped with cuts of white fish marinaded in soy sauce and other seasoning. At Niijima, it’s common to serve it with a touch of Japanese mustard on top.
Sakae sushi serves a variety of other dishes that originate on the island.
If you wish to try Niijima style dishes, come stop by Sakae sushi for an unforgettable meal.
5-2-9 Honson, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Hours: Lunch 11:30AM – 2PM, Dinner 5PM – 10PM
This Izakaya restaurant opened its doors in 2021. The Niijima born owner trained as a chef in Tokyo for over 20 years and has now fulfilled his dream of serving delicious local cuisine based on ingredients specific to Niijima by opening an izakaya on Niijima.
Using freshly caught fish and homegrown vegetables on Niijima this restaurant offers a variety of choices ranging from local cuisine to creative new dishes. Enjoy the island’s food alongside with Niijima’s delicious shochu.
1-9-5 Honson, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Hours: 5PM – 10PM
With a fantastic location just one road over from the ocean is POOL/PARK. A renovated warehouse turned cafe, POOL/PARK comes with terrace seats where you can sit for a beer under the sun. Inside the interior is chic with a resort theme. The food is made using local vegetables and other fresh ingredients. It’s a great cafe for anyone looking to lounge around and take it slow.
2-9-23 Honmura, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Hours: 10AM – 5PM
Official website here(Japanese Only)
Rest House(in Shinsui Park)
If you want to enjoy a slow pace whilst watching nature, this is the place. The restaurant is equipped with drums and other instruments, and occasionally there are performances. You can enjoy lunch, such as pasta, pilaf covered with white sauce, taco rice or curry rice etc…, also, don’t miss out on Niijima cream soda. The soda with the light blue color is like the color of the ocean in Niijima, beautiful and tasty.
What kinds of foods are there on Niijima?
If you come to Niijima, we are sure you want to enjoy foods as well. Here is the list of dishes you must try on Niijima Island.
Shima zushi is a kind of sushi with raw fish marinated in 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. This is a famous local Sushi in the Izu Islands.
Kusaya is a japanese style salted, dried and fermented fish. It is believed that Kusaya originated in Niijima. Although the smell of kusaya is strong, the taste is nice. It is good finger food to go alongside some nice alcoholic beverages.
Islanders grow a variety of vegetables on Niijima. Ashitaba, American potatoes, Japanese islands’ shallot and onions, etc. The climate, with its brilliant sunshine and heavy rainfall, produces delicious vegetables.<
The Izu Islands are known for their shochu (Japanese liquor). On Niijima, the only distillery on the island is hard at work making shochu. Shimajiman(嶋自慢) is a famous brand from Niijima.
Find Accommodation on Niijima Island
Now let’s find an accommodation on Niijima. Go to the website of Niijima Tourist Association. You will find some places to choose from on the website. However, for some accommodations it will be difficult to place a booking in English so it is better to have a Japanese speaking person take care of the reservation or try your luck with Google translate.
Access and tips for traveling around Niijima
There are two ways to get to Niijima: by ship or by plane.
The great thing about going by sea is how affordable it can be. If you choose to take the large ferry operated by Tokaikisen, a two way ticket leaving Takeshiba sanbashi port in Tokyo will take 10 hours and 35 minutes, but only around 10,000 JPY. Even the high speed jet ferry, which would get you there in as fast as 2 hours and 20 minutes is roughly 15,000 JPY. The only con is the travel time. The large ferry in particular will save you a lot of money but takes a long time to get you there. That said, many of the large ferries leave late at night, so you can sleep through most of the ride. In the summer, high speed jet ferries are available almost daily, but beware that in winter, the majority of boats departing for the islands are the large ferries.
The other option is to fly. You will land at the New Central Air Service on a small plane, and the flight is just 35 minutes from Chofu airport in Tokyo! It’s the best option for anyone looking to minimize travel time. The disadvantage of flying is the cost of tickets which comes at a higher price than the boats at roughly 25,000 JPY.
Plan your transportation accordingly to your schedule, budget and preference.
Plane reservation→New Central Air Service
Since Niijima is not a big island, you can go around by bicycle. However, if you want to go to Wakago, which is the north side of Niijima, you need a car and go through the tunnel. Bicycles are prohibited from entering the tunnel. Here are some pros and cons of transportation on Nijima.
If you want to go around Niijima, you need a car. It costs about 12,000 yen per day to rent. On the last day, you need to fill up the tank.
If you don’t need to go to the Wakago area and want to cut costs, it’s better to choose bicycles. There are only 5 bicycles at Niijima port so it might be hard to rent from the Niijima port. When you arrive at Niijima(Niijima port or Wakago port), it is better to ask your accommodation to pick you up. If you do camp, you need to ride on a bus. You can rent a bicycle in town(Honson).
There are local buses but only 3 round-ways a day. The rides are free of charge. If you have plenty of time and want to conserve your budget, or if you want to go to Wakago area, it is good to use the bus. However, you should be mindful about the schedule.
Once again, if you want to go to Wakago area by bus, please check the schedule of the bus. If you miss the bus, you need to catch a taxi, which is hard to find since there are not many taxis on Niijima.
tips for traveling around Niijima
Best Season To Visit
A common misconception is that the best time to go to an island is in the summer. Sure, it’s very nice in the summer, and there’s always the advantage of being able to swim in the ocean.
As a result, the izu islands are packed during the summer season. Many in the know of how busy it gets book hotels 2 to 3 months ahead. There aren’t that many restaurants and eateries, so you end up having to fight for seats. It’s best to call ahead and book a table.
There’s a free camping site on the island, so if you own a tent, it’s a great place to camp in the summer too! (You need to check that it is available in that year before going) But other than that, just about everything else needs advanced preparation.
Here is a recommendation for visiting outside of the summer season. It’s a lot quieter during the other periods of the year and it doesn’t get too cold in spring or fall. The beaches are closed but the water is still very clear. If anything, the water is more beautiful in fall and winter. The sky is clear and the night sky is dazzling. As there are no street lights near Habushiura beach, it’s possible to catch sight of many, many stars. Plus, it’s much easier to book hotels outside of the peak season. True island aficionados visit outside of the summer season.
That Moyai Statue In Shibuya? It Comes From Niijima
You may know of the famous moyai statue outside of Tokyo’s Shibuya station. The statue, which over time has come to be a popular meeting spot, actually originates from Niijima island.
Don’t believe us? Come see for yourself. You’ll see why when you’re here. The whole island is full of moyai statues!
There are so many that it’s fun to look out for one with a face that you like. The sheer number of statues makes for an enjoyable art piece.
A Most Satisfying stay In Niijima!
As it’s a very small island, it’s possible to have plenty of fun in just 1 night and 2 days. You can rent a car, or choose to bike around the island. You can surf, or swim in the ocean. It’s a beautiful island where there’s plenty of fun to be had in the wild. It comes as a bit of a shock that there are such beautifully white sands and clear blue waters in Tokyo, but the warmth of the island and slow pace of life is very comforting. Go on, we urge you to take a trip to Niijima.