Aogashima Island of the Izu Islands

Tokyo’s Aogashima Island is a globally rare double-caldera island. It is said to be one of the most difficult islands to visit among all the inhabited islands of Tokyo, and we confirmed it with our own experience. 🙂 The surrounding sea is often impossibly rough due to strong wind all year round, and the island is completely exposed, so the ferry’s in-service rate is as low as 50% as opposed to 80% in-service rate of the helicopter. The humid jungle and steamy ground inside the volcano crater create thick fog with rain, resulting in poor visibility for the helicopter to operate. The helicopter can only take up to 9 passengers to and from Hachijo Island daily, and it’s very difficult to book the tickets. They accept bookings only one month before, and you will need to phone them at 9am sharp, exactly one month before the departure date. From our experience, it is essential to use multiple phones and set up auto redial in order to successfully connect.

Accommodation on Aogashima is limited and very basic, and overpriced for what it is compared to other Japanese islands. They only accept bookings after you have purchased your helicopter/ferry ticket. Also they are often booked out by construction workers (infrastructure maintenance) apart from the Japanese holiday seasons. Because of these reasons, camping is often the only option. The campsite is located inside the crater of the active volcano (and it is even possible to cook with steam from the volcano). Even though the island is tiny, car rental is recommended if you want to explore the island as it is very hilly due to the unique geography.

We didn’t see any wild mammals on the island, but we saw many types of ferns, palm trees, wild lilies and hibiscus, and even banyan trees and tall tree ferns inside the crater jungle, whose seeds are all believed to have been dispersed by typhoons and migratory birds.

About the Tokyo/Izu Islands:
Apart from the Ogasawara Islands (and Aogashima!), the Tokyo Islands (also known as the Izu Seven Islands) are a great weekend getaway for Tokyo locals. Usually people aim for the Friday night overnight passenger ferry which arrives early on Saturday mornings, where they can enjoy nature activities for the weekend. It is usual to take the high-speed jet ferry on the return to Tokyo on Sunday afternoons, or a flight depending on the island. All these islands of Tokyo are excellent for anglers of all skill levels as the surrounding sea is very rich in fish due to the Kuroshio Current and rugged underwater topography.


PrefectureTokyoSize8.75 sq km PopulationApproximately 160AccessHelicopter or ferry from Hachijo IslandGetting aroundCar rental