Tokyo, arguably one of the world’s most exciting city. But no more than two hours from the metropolitan center and you can be in a completely different world, all the while never leaving ‘Tokyo’. Take a high-speed jet ferry and the journey is less than two hours. Here, on the Izu Islands it is peaceful, lush, calming to the soul. This is the magic of these islands, this other side of Tokyo that not many people know about.
Oshima Motomachi is the largest town on the largest island, and therefore the hub of the Izu Islands.
Like most island and coastal towns, Motomachi, also a harbor town, is the center of everyday hustle and bustle. The streets get very busy when the ferries arrive, which is also why life can be much quieter on days that the ferry docks on the other side of the island, which is determined by the weather.
That other port, at the south-eastern side of the island is called Habu-minato, usually just called ‘Habu.’ This was one of the first inhabited places by the island’s early settlers, usually fishermen, looking for shelter and safety. For fishermen this means a safe harbor and nobody creates better harbors than Mother Nature. Habu is a great example, just look at the shape of the place. A hole in the coastline, sheltering its inside. This hole is the crater of a dormant volcano, explaining why it is so circular. The fishing fleet is still active and delicious sushi can be found for lunch!
Hachijojima is 50 minutes by plane from Haneda airport. Alternative route is to take a leisurely ferry ride. The ferry takes 10 hours to get there but leaves Tokyo at night, which means you can wake up on the island to a full day of fun. The island, which is known as the sub-tropical prefecture of Tokyo, is also a sister-city of Maui in the USA with their connection being surfing. There are some good surf-spots and the water is a bit warmer than mainland Japan because of its proximity to the warm Kuroshio current.
The island is decorated with colorful flowers year round, extending as far and wide as Mother Nature itself, and touching on the warm hearts of the islanders.