Did you know that Tokyo is home (administratively) to a total of 219 islands? Of those, there are 11 inhabited islands called the Tokyo Treasure Islands.
The Tokyo Treasure Islands are split in two island chains: the Izu Islands (inhabited ones include: Oshima, Toshima, Niijima, Shikinejima, Kozushima, Miyakejima, Mikurashima, Hachijojima, and Aogashima) and the Ogasawara Islands (Chichijima and Hahajima). In this article, we focus on why Chichijima and Hahajima are perfect for a unique beach getaway and what visitors can expect in terms of attractions, activities and local specialties.
For oases away from the hustle and bustle of the city without taking long ferry rides, check out our article about the Izu Islands.
Chichijima is located 1,000 kilometers south of the Tokyo metropolis in the Pacific Ocean. The island is known for its rocky coasts, pristine natural features, and local wildlife, including whales, sea turtles and special breeds of seabirds, landbirds and saltwater fish.
Ogamiyama Park is located on the north side of the island. There you’ll find gentle green hillslopes and Ogamiyama Shrine. The observation deck at the top of Ogamiyama Park offers a great view of the area, including Futami Port; the villages of Omura, Kiyose, and Okumura; and Mt. Yagyu. You can also observe many plants indigenous to the Ogasawara Islands.
The deep green hills, blue ocean and white-sand beaches along the coast in the background makes for a great photo-op, so don’t forget your camera when visiting the park.
Chichijima is also home to Jinny Beach, an oasis only accessible by boat or sea kayak. From December to May, you can also visit the island’s whale watching spot and look out for humpback and sperm whales.
For the ultimate peace and quiet, you can visit Minamijima, an uninhabited island near Chichijima with a beautiful white-sand beach, with a guide.
Hahajima is surrounded by coral reefs, making it an incredible place for snorkeling, diving and seaside dolphin watching.
When visiting Hahajima, make sure to stop by Miyukinohama, a beach located on the southern part of the island. It is a great place for snorkeling and finding unique nummulite fossils on the beach.
To connect with nature and encounter unique wildlife, including Ogasawara’s insect and reptile species, climb up Mt. Chibusa to the island’s highest peak.
After climbing the 4-hour summit route, enjoy the view of the island and the endless blue ocean—a spectacular reward after the long trek up.
On the northside of the island is Sekimon, a field of indigenous plants unique to the area. As it is a forest ecosystem preservation area, you can only visit it with a certified guide, making it a one-of-a-kind experience!
Keep in mind that the guided tours are only provided in Japanese. To book a tour, you can contact the Hahajima Tourist Association. The tour takes around 7 hours and costs roughly 10,000 yen–15,000 yen. You can find out more about it here.
What to eat in Chichijima and Hahajima
Getting hungry? Sample Chichijima and Hahajima’s unique regional cuisine.
The surrounding area of Futami Port on Chichijima is home to most of the island’s restaurants and izakaya. There you can try some the local fare, including sea turtle dishes. Every year, a certain number of turtles is captured for the purpose of cooking. Here on the island, you can try turtle sashimi and stewed turtle. (At the same time, a group of NPO on Ogasawara Islands has been committed to conservation of marine life in the area, including sea turtles. Due to these efforts over the years, the number of nests where the sea turtles lay eggs has now recovered to about 10 times that of 30 years ago.)
If you are reluctant to try turtle, there are also many other local dishes, using fresh seafood and local produce. One of the common dishes eaten here is called pimaka. It is made with a fish called kyphosus, marinated in vinegar and sour orange juice, along with strips of daikon and onion.
Shimazushi, which translates to “island sushi”, is popular in Chichijima, Hahajima, and throughout the Izu Islands. Shimazushi are hand-shaped sushi made with white fish meat pickled in a soy sauce base.
Another regional specialty is fried shark sandwich. Instead of a meat patty, fried local shark is sandwiched in a hamburger bun. (Be sure to read our sustainability guide about eating shark in Japan before you order.)
You can also taste seasonal passion fruit from spring to early summer.
How to get to Chichijima and Hahajima
To get to Chichijima, you can take Ogasawara-maru Ferry from Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo. It takes roughly 24 hours and the ferry operates once a week. During high seasons, the frequency increases to one ferry every three days.
On the ferry, there are different cabin classes, and you have access to a restaurant, lounge, showers, store, vending machines and various other facilities. The cost varies depending on the month, so check the website for schedule and fee information ahead of your travels.
From Chichijima, you can take the Hahajima-maru Ferry to get to Hahajima. It takes 2 hours and the price varies depending on the month. It runs once a day on most days and you can catch it to travel between the two islands.
You can find out more about the Ogasawara-maru and Hahajima-maru Ferry here.
Accommodation on Chichijima and Hahajima
Both Chichijima and Hahajima offer a wide range of accommodation options, including minshuku (Japanese-style bed and breakfast), guesthouses, hotels and even resorts.
You can check the following website to check the different accommodation options available to you.
Learn more about the Tokyo Treasure Islands.