Tokyo Islands have many specialty products made possible by its unique climate and are unavailable anywhere on the main island.
・ Camellia oil
Camellia is one of the main attractions of Tokyo Islands.
At Toshima, 200 thousand trees cover 80 percent of the island, while at Oshima, there are 3 million of these trees. The Japanese Camellia which blooms mostly in the winter, paints the island in vibrant colors.
Camellia oil is extracted from seeds taken from the many Camellia trees.
After being steamed, the oil is extracted by a compressor.
Not only is camellia oil used for cosmetic benefits such as moisturizing the skin and blocking out UV, it is sometimes called Japanese olive oil and is treasured as a cooking ingredient as well. With its long history, it is used even to this day as a perfume in the hair oil used by sumo wrestlers.
Known as a haven for surfing and diving, the izu islands is on the path of Kuroshio currents (black tide) which has very clear waters. Thanks to this pure sea water, it is possible to make salt without any chemical treatment.
Salt extracted from natural evaporation contain a good balance of minerals not normally found in table salt, and has a mild flavor typical of sea salt.
・Ashitaba (A Japanese herb of the parsley family)
In Tokyo Islands, there is a local vegetable that supports the islanders’ health called Ashitaba.
Ashitaba is known for its strong vitality. It is said that if you pluck it today, it will already have grown a sprout tomorrow. The locals discovered that those who ate this plant tended to live longer, and it is said that even Emperor Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty tried to hunt it down believing it to be a grass of eternal youth.
It is especially effective for anemia, and is the only plant known to man that contains vitamin B12, known as the blood making vitamin.
Ways to serve it include boiling, frying as tempura or as a topping for pizza.
Tea that is made from ashitaba crushed into fine powder is also gaining popularity these days.
Enjoy your trip by shopping for island specialties and help support the livelihoods of local islanders.