Tips for Having Fun Of Exploring Tokyo Islands

4 minutes read

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There are many hotels on Izu Oshima island.
Among them, Oshima Hot Spa Hotel is renowned for its extravagant cuisine using local ingredients unique to the island such as camellia oil, and onsen hot springs with a spectacular view of Mount Mihara.
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I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Toki, General Manager of Oshima Hot Spa Hotel.

“Go and see what’s out there”
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I spoke to Mr. Toki, General Manager of Oshima Hot Spa Hotel which is known for their onsen hot spring and lavish cuisine.
A pleasant and straightforward man, you can tell just from talking with him that Mr. Toki has a great personality.
Mr. Toki, who has also worked before at Ogasawara Islands and Chichijima.

Oshima Hot Spa Hotel is perched on top of a mountain. A fantastic location surrounded by trees with a spectacular view of Mount Mihara.
The camellia and azalea gardens that surround the property, their own, look like a sea of trees.
The fairytale-like landscape when the hotel is surrounded by fog is simply beautiful.
When the sky is clear, you can even see Mt. Fuji in the distance from the backside of the hotel.
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At one of the guest rooms of Oshima Hot Spa Hotel.

A morning ritual to start the day
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Mr. Toki, who in the past has participated in the island’s annual marathon held every December, is an active man.

“In the mornings, I walk around Mount Mihara for about an hour. It’s very refreshing.”
“Even guests that arrive around 3 in the afternoon can go on an exploration for a good two hours”

I tried heading out for a little bit in the morning fog and did a bit of yoga.
There, it was so serene that it felt as though I was all alone in the world, the cry of insects underlining the large expanse of ground below me.
The trees appeared little by little through the fog.
Taking in one deep breath of that morning was enough to empty my head of thoughts.
I also recommend a dip in the outdoor onsen in the morning fog.
The onsen flows freely from its source.

“The bed of the onsen lies 300m underground, and by the time it surfaces from the ground, it’s at a perfect temperature of 50 degrees celsius.”
“As it’s a protected national park, there’s a lot that’s not been uncovered yet, and what with the sea of trees making compasses ineffective, I bet you there is a lot out there that’s yet to be discovered.”
“As there has been more interest in health, there has been an increasing number of visitors, from solo travelers to groups, who come here regardless of the season to hike in nature.”
“Most people make a stop at the hotel before heading to Mount Mihara. The hike takes a good 5 hours to complete.”
“I recommend having a guide with you as it makes the hike much more interesting”

Upon returning, you will be greeted with such extravagance as camellia fondue, Red Snapper in all forms, seafood and mountain vegetables in generous portions.
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Camellia fondue, their renowned dish which uses camellia oil, the local specialty.

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Menu filled with Red Snapper.
I can’t recall the number of times I nodded in delight at the food.

Having fun as one pleases
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“There are electric bicycles for rent that people use to get around. I’ve seen couples rent them together too”
“I also recommend traveling through Shimagirl (literally Island Girl). They offer trips that focus around fishing, or hiking.” (Link in Japanese only)
“Here at Izu Oshima Island, there are 6 villages all with a different vibe. They are dotted with shops and highlights, making for an interesting exploration.”
“I personally would like to recommend Sashikiji. At 2,000, the population is about the same as Motomachi, and while it’s not exactly packed with shops, I really like the atmosphere there. The ground is mostly flat, and it just makes you feel good.”
The Camellia Festival is almost 60 years” (Link in Japanese only)
“Following that, the Sakura Stump Festival takes place in April at Senzu, where this hotel is based, followed by Oshima’s traditional Azalea Festival in May. They are all characteristic of this island where nature is treasured.”
“During the day go see and experience the island until you are exhausted, and come back here for a good night’s sleep.”
The tea utensils and dresser in the room is in the local style, and I am somehow comforted by it.
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Exploring Oshima.
Shimagirl Tours offers a variety of active tours that incorporate all the best of the island including mountain and sea tours.(Link in Japanese only)
From scuba diving and camping, to glimpsing into the universe through a starry night sky, there are tours for all seasons of the year.
Come and discover a new way to have fun.

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