A 55-minute flight takes you directly from Haneda Airport to Hachijojima, a subtropical volcanic island with dense vegetation in the middle of the Pacific. You are, technically, still in Tokyo—Hachijojima is part of the Izu Island cluster, and falls under the prefecture’s jurisdiction. Take a stroll on Hachijo’s hibiscus-lined streets, head down to the beach for some turtle snorkeling, or go into the jungle for waterfalls and hikes—here is all the info you need to plan your beach escape.
How to get from Tokyo to Hachijojima
There are two ways to get to the island: ferry or airplane. The easiest option is to fly. A flex roundtrip fare (meaning you can change the date/time freely) is usually available from around ¥15,000 one-way, but if you book early, you can snatch up super-value fares from around ¥10,000.
Flights to Hachijojima
Return flights leave Hachijo Island shortly after the plane from Tokyo lands, at 09:00, 13:55 and 17:25. The journey takes 55 minutes there and one hour back. See what’s available below.
Ferry to Hachijojima
The ferry is the cheaper option, but will take you almost 11 hours, leaving Tokyo’s Takeshiba Pier at 22:30 and arriving at 8:50 the next morning. Prices start from ¥8,600 and the trip can be quite fun if you want to do some Titanic king-of-the-world reenactments on deck and drink beer and chat with your fellow travelers. However, the accommodation on board is quite basic.
How to get around on Hachijojima
You have three options: rental car (recommended), bus (can do) and rental bicycles/scooters (if you are into it).
The island is roughly 72 square kilometers and for scale, the main ring road covers about the same distance as Tokyo’s Yamanote Line. There are cool spots and activities scattered all over the island, so only staying in one spot would mean you miss out. With very irregular and slow bus schedules, a rental car is the way to go if you have an international or Japanese driver’s license. Prices start from about ¥3,000 a day, making this a really reasonable option if you are traveling with two or more people in your group.
If you are traveling alone, it’s probably best to get a bus pass. However, the schedule is veeeeery irregular. There are about 10 buses a day in each direction, so you’ve got to plan ahead if you want to use public transport on Hachijo. Often, the gaps between arriving somewhere and being able to leave again can be something like two hours. So make sure you check and schedule all the starting and finishing times of your activities, e.g. tours, accordingly. A two-day pass costs ¥1,000 and on top of transport includes entrance to all of the island’s hot springs.
The last option is to rent a bicycle or scooter. The cost is usually ¥1,500 for a whole day or ¥1,000 for a half-day, which again is not even cheaper than a rental car if you are 2+ people. The bike can help you to get around locally, e.g. to one of the two supermarkets in town. Bike rental is available at many places and accommodations, just look for the signs or ask your hosts.
Accommodation on Hachijojima
There is a dorm hostel, as well as B&Bs and hotels. The B&Bs tend to work out best in terms of experience and price.
But let’s start with the dorm, Seadive. The location is perfect—right across from Sokodo, which is the waterfront area that hosts Hachijo’s only sand beach, the ferry port and is also the access point for the turtle snorkeling as well as discovery dive trips. The interior is nice and the bunk can be fully closed with a curtain, giving you privacy. They will also pick you up and drop you off at the airport or give you a lift to the supermarket or other local spots. I wasn’t a fan of the fact that the lights in the dorm are on 24h prison-style, and the showers outside are quite basic. But at ¥2,500/night, this is the cheapest you can do on the island and is a good option for single budget travelers.
If there are two or more of you, it’s better to stay at a B&B, called minshuku in Japanese. They start at around ¥7,000 per person and include dinner and breakfast, which really makes it worth the deal. You will have your private room, usually Japanese style, and the bath and toilet are most often shared. If you like the mountains, staying at Garden So should suit you perfectly. It’s an old Japanese inn surrounded by a tropical garden, close to the tree fern jungle hike, Uramiga Waterfall and a natural outdoor hot spring.
There are also medium-sized hotels on the island, but they clock in much higher, starting from around ¥10,000 per night without food, and around ¥18,000 per person with two meals, so they don’t really beat the minshuku in terms of price or experience. However, if you really want to stay at a small resort with a pool, you might like Hotel Lido Azzurro.
Things to do on Hachijojima
People come to Hachijojima for one or all of three reasons: the ocean, hiking, or onsen. If you are staying for 2-3 days, I would say go for all of them!
Turtle snorkeling experience
The turtle tour includes all snorkeling gear and a wetsuit. As the waters are on the calmer side of the island and sheltered by a breakwater, there is no current and almost no waves, making it ideal for beginners. More info and booking link.
The tree fern forest hike transports you right into a Jurassic Park-esque jungle and the tour guide is extremely knowledgable on the unique local fauna and flora. The tours are priced very reasonably and in summer there are also night hike options that take you to see bioluminescent mushrooms that glow in the dark! More info and booking link.
Hot springs (onsen)
Don’t miss out on stopping by at least one onsen. The top pick is Miharashi no yu, which overlooks the whole island and the Pacific from the top of mountain, a truly once-in-a-lifetime hot spring experience. It is included in the island bus pass or ¥500 per person.
Finally, remember that Hachijojima is a tiny isle of 7,000 souls in the Pacific and definitely runs on island time. Things close early: the ATM shuts down at 6pm and the supermarkets at 8pm. A lot of places aren’t open at night or don’t serve food past 9pm, but plan ahead and you should have a really good experience.