If hearing the word ‘Niijima’ brings to mind cherished memories, then there’s a good chance you spent your youth from the late 70’s to early 90’s.
The writer of this post also spent his youth during those years, and during my 3 years in high school, I would pack my things and make my way across the ocean to this island every summer.
Habushiura, a long stretch of white sand beach that extends for 7 km.
Emerald blue sea.
Bright blue sky.
Clear, pure air.
These were part of what set the scene for romanticizing the meetings between men and women.
Then times changed, and the youth that sought these encounters began to disappear from the island.
The summers at Niijima once so full of energy was close to becoming just a thing of the past. Then Niijima, with its already established reputation for beautiful nature came to breathe again.
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.
Robby Kegel, charismatic world class surfer and surfboard builder said the following when he visited Niijima.
‘I’ve visited Japan many times in the past, but this is my first time coming to Niijima. I was shocked to find out that such a beautiful island exists in Japan. Why did no one bring me here earlier? I’m slightly annoyed.’
This writer works as a professional surf writer.
As a result I often meet surfers from all over the world.
When they find out that I am Japanese, I become an object of curiosity and often get asked questions about ‘Niijima’.
Is Niijima really that beautiful?
Is it easily accessible? When’s the best season?
Are the waves any good?
In the same way that Zipangu came to be known as the legendary Land of Gold by Marco Polo in the age of discovery, it is now Niijima that has gained a new status as the new ‘Mystery of the Orient’.
The abundance of fish helps fill the surfer’s hunger, while natural hot springs wrap their cold bodies in warmth.
There’s even snorkeling and fishing to be enjoyed.
That’s right. Let’s board that boat that is going to take me to the island with a surfboard in my arms.
Come into contact with the island culture that has been passed on for generations, trust myself to the gentle air that flows through the island, and connect with the warm personalities of island locals.
And most of all there is world class waves here that can captivate any surfer.
Reconnecting with the good old days of Japan, and tackling Japan’s prided surf break can’t be too bad a trip.