The Ogasawara Islands are located approximately 1,000km (621 miles) south of Tokyo. There is no air transportation available to this beautiful island, and there is only one mean of transportation available to get to this far removed tropical island - 25.5 hour-ferry ride one-way from Tokyo to Chichijima Island. Furthermore, the ship service is scheduled approximately once a week for the ordinary seasons, and the basic itinerary would be a 6-day trip departing from/arriving at Tokyo. Although this travel destination is a bit challenging for those who are working full time, the wonderful aspects of the island is worth a visit. The island offers a variety of attractions, however, we shall focus particularly on the beautiful Ogasawara Islands, and beautiful blue sea of Chichijima Island.
Futami Port, the gateway to Chichijima Island, and Omura District, the center of the island.
When the regular ferry, Ogasawara-Maru, departs Tokyo, and sails on to south for over 20 hours, your heart may start pounding when you see the Mukojima Islands, the northernmost part of the Ogasawara Islands, you are now entering into the Ogasawara area which you have dreamed of visiting. As the ferry sails further, Chichijima Island gets closer and closer, and arrive at Futami Port at 11:30 am. Now we are ready to land Chichijima Island of the Ogasawara Islands. (Based on the schedule as at March 15, 2013).
Upon the arrival of the ferry to the islands, pier is bustled with locals being there to receive people, and tourists just arrived. Later on, each traveler head to the place of accommodation. Omura District, which abuts the port is a center of the Ogasawara Islands, where there are rows of public agencies, and stores, accommodations. This is the area tourists make frequent visits as there are souvenir shops, and supermarkets. While the ferry is in the port, the number of tourists increase around the center of the town, the area is filled with relaxing atmosphere, far removed from the urban hustle. In addition, there is a beach within Omura District, the center of the Island, where you can enjoy swimming freely on the beautiful tropical sea from the date of arrival.
Kominato Beach, a beatiful beach with white sand and deep blue sea.
There are several beautiful beaches on Chichijima Island scattered across the island. Kominato Beach, which is located at the south-western part of the island is one of our favorites.
The beach is the best place to enjoy the relaxed time by the sea as this quieter beach is away from the center of the Island, and deep blue sea and blue sky, and the beach covered with white sands spreads into the tropical atmosphere. Although shore reeves and coral reeves are forming around the beaches around the Ogasawara Islands, this beach features the fine sands and easy to swim.In addition, there are mangrove forests by the river around Kominato Beach, and this is something you don’t want to miss. The access to the beach is great as there is a village-operated bus route from Omura District, the center of the island, to this area, and it is about 15 minute motorbike/car rides away, so you may want to visit at least once during your stay.
Access to Kominato Beach (via route bus) Time required: Approximately 15 minutes from Futami Port by village-operated bus. Fare: JPY 200 per ride for adults (One-day pass is available at JPY 700). *Please refer to village-operated bus section in Ogasawara-village website for the details including bus schedule.
Superb view of Bonin blue sea and cliff - Nagasaki Observation Platform
The view from Nagasaki Observation Platform features the beautiful scenery that makes everyone utters “It’s so beautiful!”.
The scenery from the observation platform to view Nagasaki (the jutting cape on the right of the photo), where rough cliffs, and the deep blue sea, which is referred to as “Bonin blue”, provides strong impressions to visitors. “Bonin blue” is the name for the color of sea of the Ogasawara Islands, and Bonin means uninhabited. The Ogasawara Islands were referred to as “Munin” (also meaning of uninhabited), Island during the Edo era, and the name was changed to Bonin as it was transformed while changing the name in English. The sea around the Ogasawara Islands, which is far removed from the mainland of Japan, still has unspoiled nature, and it features its pristine unique blue, which is different from that of the seas around Okinawa.
Access to Nagasaki Observation Platform is about 10 minutes from Futami Port by a car or a motorbike.
Enjoy snorkeling at crystal-clear sea.
The beautiful Bonin blue scenery of the sea of the Ogasawara Islands that makes strong impression to us is filled with its charms not only the view from the land, but also inside the water. Inside the crystal clear water, where colorful tropical fish swimming through coral reef the amazing world unfolds. If you are interested in enjoying the world under the sea, you may want to try snorkeling. There are several beaches scattered across Chichijima Island where you can enjoy snorkeling, and there are snorkeling tours which guide you to the recommended spots for snorkeling by boat are available.
Anijima Seto, which is in between Chichijima Island and Anijima Island on the opposite shore is the excellent spot where coral reef formation is particularly flourishing, and it is included as a destination for many tours. When you are swimming in the water while enjoying the scenery under the sea, it is so beautiful that the time just flies by.
If you are in the Ogasawara Islands, I definitely suggest you to try diving or snorkeling at least once. It’s such a loss if you missed the wonderful world under the sea. There are life jackets available through the tours for those who are not too confident about their swimming, so you can enjoy those activities without a fear.
*Ogasawara Village Tourism Association’s website provides some information on the snorkeling tours.
The perfect spot for viewing a beautiful sunset - Weather Station
What you must view at the end of the day is the sunset on Ogasawara Islands. Mikazukiyama Observation Platform (a.k.a Weather Station) is a perfect spot for viewing sunset, and it is popular among tourists as well as the locals. The impressively deep blue sea and sky of the Ogasawara Islands during the day time gradually change their colors to madder red, and the sun sets to the horizon far away across the sea , little by little. This place is also known as one of the rare spots which offers more chances of encountering the phenomenon rare around the globe, which is called “Green Flash”, a phenomenon in which the flashing green light right before the sun set. Many tourists visit the observation platform with the expectation of encountering “Green Flash” on the evening of the fine days. Although it is not frequently sighted phenomenon, it is worth a while to visit there just to see the beautiful scenery with sun setting into the sea, and it is a nice observation spot which offers great view during the day time. When I visit there, the sunset was blocked by the cloud, but the scenery of tropical sky and sea colored in madder red was so impressive.
Access to Weather Station is about 10 minutes from Futami Port by a car or a motorbike.
Although many people want to visit the Ogasawara Islands at least once, they hesitate to go ahead to do so. After the long ferry trip, however, what awaits you is the amazing world. Although Okinawa and other overseas resort destinations each have their own charm, the Ogasawara Islands offer attractive unspoiled nature that are not unseen at bustling resorts. We have made introduction with focus on the sea around Chichijima Island for this occasion, but in addition, there are many animal and plant species on the land indigenous to the island, and the island is blessed with many attractions rich with nature. Why don’t you take a plunge and start planning a trip to the Ogasawara Islands once in for all? What you need is a 6-day vacation to go to and enjoy the Ogasawara Islands.
The Ogasawara Islands was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a Natural Heritage site in 2011. Since then, the number of tourists to the islands has significantly been increased regardless of inconvenient transportation access as the values and attraction of the islands are increasingly covered by the TV ad magazines. Recently, there are many senior travelers are seen there in addition to young people. I would advise you to plan your trip to Ogasawara Islands ahead of time and make reservation for your ferry and accommodations. The reason for my advice is that there are those days difficult to make reservations even on the weekdays, albeit the high seasons such as Golden week, Japanese public holidays, summer break, and end and beginning of the year, particularly when the means of transportation is limited to the Ogasawara-Maru from Tokyo.
By the way, the swimming season starts from the new year’s day in Ogasawara that you can swim in the sea throughout the year, but the most comfortable season to swim in the sea is between June and October.
Access to Chichijima Island of the Ogasawara Islands
By the “Ogasawara-Maru” operated by Ogasawara Kaiun Co., Ltd.
Time required: 25.5 hours between Tokyo and Chichijima Island per trip.
Sailing schedule: Vary for each month. Approximately once a week. Twice a week for the high season.
Basic travel itinerary will be 5 nights and 6 days (two nights on the ship, and three nights at the destination.) (Except some schedule)
*Please check for the details on the Ogasawara Kaiun’s website
Fares: For the second-class cabin: JPY 24,270 per trip for adult (as at March, 2013)
*Please note the fare fluctuate depending on the month.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.