Chichijima Island of the Ogasawara Islands

Have time? Like to take a voyage? The islands of Ogasawara (also known as the Bonin Islands) are accessible only by ferry – and it takes 24 hours!!! Listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2011, the Ogasawara archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands is located about 1000 km directly south of Tokyo, and are in fact a part of Tokyo prefecture. Most famous for the WWII battles at Iwo-jima, the Ogasawara islands have just two inhabited islands – Chichi-jima (“father island”) and neighboring Haha-jima (“mother island”). Haha-jima is a further 2 hours by ferry.

Until 1830, the Ogasawara Islands were uninhabited and called “Muninjima” (meaning “uninhabited island”) which transformed into the English name of Bonin Islands. Due to the remote location of these islands, the ecosystem is very unique, and since they had been free from human activities until recently, the ecosystem has been well preserved. The Ogasawara Islands are often referred to as the Galapagos of the Orient.

These islands are great for people who want to explore a truly unique wilderness. For a truly off-the-beaten-path experience, these remote islands are hard to beat if you love hiking, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, whale watching, scuba diving and fishing.

PrefectureTokyoSize23.8 sq kmPopulationApproximately 2,000AccessThe ferry from Tokyo (Takeshiba Passenger Terminal near Hamamatsucho) to Chichi-jima takes about 24 hours. It runs every three days in each direction.Getting aroundIt’s pretty hilly so car rental is recommended but bicycle rental is usually enough to get around the town and local beaches. Many minshuku (guesthouses) also offer a taxi service. There is also a bus which passes many of the places of interest.