Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands)

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  • Ogasawara Islands Japan

    Ogasawara Islands

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Facts & Figures

Ogasawara Islands, also known as Bonin Islands, are an amazing place 1000km south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean. It is a group of over 30 tropical and subtropical islands with a unique flora and fauna. The islands Muko-jima, Haha-jima and Chichi-jima, with a land area of 24 square km are the largest of the Ogasawara Islands, forming the first group. Chichi-jima (Father Island) has a population of approx. 2000 and Haha-jima (Mother Island) of 400. To the second group belongs Io Islands and three other islands and last but not least Oki-no-shima, Nishi-no-shima and Minani-tori-shima are part of the third group. Each of the islands was originally an undersea volcano. 140 different animals and plants can be found there. Some of them are unique because these islands were never connected to a continent. This is the reason why people also use the term - Galapagos of the East - to describe Ogasawara Islands. It is interesting to know, that you can reach the islands only by a long ferry ride once a week from Takeshiba pier in Tokyo. In the time between January and April you have the chance to do some whale watching when humpback and sperm whales pay the islands a visit. Another advantage of being in such a remote unpolluted place on planet earth is the amazing night sky. Take your time to just look at the stars and enjoy the moment.

History

The Ogasawara Islands are a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site since 2011. They are the largest breeding ground for green sea turtles in the country. In 1593 the islands were discovered by ronin Ogasawara Sadayori (n/a - 1625). In 1875 Ogasawara became part of Japan. During World War 2 the islands, especially at Iwo Jima, were the place of cruel battles. After the war the islands were under the control of United States. In 1968 the power went back to the Japanese Government.

Location

Map of Japan

Ogasawara Islands are located appr. 1000km south of Tokyo.

How to get to Ogasawara Islands?

  • 25,5 hrs from Takeshiba Passenger Terminal in Tokyo to Futami Port Chichijima Island by Ogasawara Kaiun Ship

Sightseeing spots and activities

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Chichijima - Chichijima is the only inhabited island besides Hahajima. Ferries from Tokyo arrive here at the Futami Port. Most of the hotels are located here. The island is known for its beautiful beaches like Kominato Beach, Hatsuneura Beach, Miyanohama Beach, Sakaiura Beach, Kopepe Beach, Jinny and John Beaches. The highlight for tourists are the tours to watch bottlenose and spinner dolphins and whales.

Chihiroiwa (Heart Rock) - This cliff on Chichijima island with a height of 260m above the sea can be reached within a 2,5 hours hiking tour through subtropical forest. The panoramic views from the top over the Bonin Blue sea is just breathtaking.

Dolphin and Whale watching - Get infos at the B-Ship tourist information office (Futami Port) and book a trip for 6000 yen (half day) or 10000 yen (full day).

Mount Chuo Observatory - The observatory is located on Chichijima and offers amazing views over the island.

Ogasawara-kaichu-koen Sea Park - It is a diving paradise. Enjoy there the clear water, tropical fish and coral reefs.

Minamijima Island - Access to this tiny uninhabited island in the southern of Chichijima is restricted to only 100 people a day from March to October. The visitors will be joined by a nature guide. It is a must-see for outdoor lovers. This island is designated as a natural monument of Japan. The absolute highlight of Minamijima Island is the Ogi-ike lagoon with its white sand beach and a unique rock gate.

Hahajima Island - The remote inhabited island 40km south of Chichijima is famous for birds, offers great beaches, beautiful hiking trails, whale watching opportunities and much more.

Anijima Island - The underwater park there gives you the chance to dive for World War 2 shipwrecks located on the ocean floor.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

August

Summer Festival (9th to 11th)
Enjoy the huge and amazing fireworks at Chichijima Higashimachi, Ogasawara-mura. The event includes the Bon Dance Festival ("Bon-odori"), Outdoor Film Festival, JAMMIN (rock event), good food and a lot of fun.

Where to stay on Ogasawara Islands?

My 100 Best Moments in Japan

Train ride from Osaka to Kyoto

I am visiting Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
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