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Exploring Aogashima!

About 358 kilometers south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean lies the island of Aogashima. The entire remote island is a volcanic crater within an even smaller volacano. Aogashima is truly a one-of-a-kind island destination for visitors looking for an adventure!

Aogashima was first mentioned in records kept at Hachijō-jima from the Edo period. The records recorded volcanic activity in 1652 and from 1670 to 1680. In July of 1780 a sequence of seismic events occurred followed by steam rising from the lakes in the Ikenosawa Caldera. More earthquakes led to an eruption and lava flows from the Maruyama cone that resulted in the evacuation of the residents of the island. In a massive eruption in 1785, almost half of the residents of the tiny island perished.

Aogashima pathWith less than 200 residents on the remote island, it is a perfect getaway to enjoy all of what nature has to offer. Cliffs surround the island rising from the depths of the ocean dropping inwards toward the island creating what seems like a bowl. The island can be reached by air or by boat from Tokyo to Hachijojima, a larger island 70km north. Boat trips from Hachijojima takes around 3 hours. It’s a mere 20 minutes by air. Hiking trails with lookout points across the crater dot the island to get the best views across the crater looking out into the sea. Bask in the stars at night and enjoy the pristine outdoors!

Aogashima IslandOther places for daytrips from Tokyo

Mount Takao – is a mountain located in the city of Hachiōji in the western part of the Tokyo about an hour from downtown. The mountain attracts many visitors for its eight hiking trails and other attractions such as the Tama Forest Science Garden. At the base of the mountain is an experimental forest and an arboretum.

Kameiwa Cave – located in Chiba Prefecture is extra popular during the equinox about twice a year. This is a time when morning sunlight that passes through the arch of Kameiwa Cave creating the image of a shining heart. Visitors describe Shimizu Keiryū Park where the cave is located as real-life scenes from Studio Ghibli’s anime films such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine in Kagoshima Prefecture, is another inspiration for the scenes in Princess Mononoke.

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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!