The Ogasawara islands, while administered by Tokyo Prefecture, are situated 1,000km south of Tokyo and consist of around 30 islands, 2 of which are inhabited: Chichijima and Hahajima. The only access to these islands is a weekly ferry that takes 25.5 hours and so these islands are not a part of your average traveller’s itinerary. However, those that do make this mammoth journey will be treated to islands that have been designated a UNESCO world heritage site and feature some of the very best scenery in Japan with a subtropical climate. Visitors here can enjoy hiking or trekking, snorkelling, whale watching and swimming with dolphins.
The first known inhabitants of the islands were in fact not Japanese, but a group of Europeans and Pacific islanders who set up a community here for whaling. Now most of the occupants are Japanese, and there is considerable effort to preserve the islands and the unique ecosystem that lives on them due to their long-time uninhabited status. The easiest way to see the islands is by scooter, which can be rented, although visitors are encouraged to walk as much as possible. If you are looking for a week away from normal life, are interested in outdoor activities of all varieties and don’t mind a long ferry journey, these islands might be the place for you.