Today’s photo is Ogasawara islands （小笠原諸島）in Tokyo prefecture.
Although it’s in Tokyo prefecture, this island locates about 1000 km away from Tokyo metropolis.
The Ogasawara Islands (小笠原諸島 Ogasawara Shotō) are an archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands. These islands were added to UNESCO’s list of World Natural Heritage sites in 2011 as animals and plants there have undergone unique evolutionary processes since these islands have never been connected with a continent, thus often dubbed as the “Galapagos of the East”.
One of the islands, Iwō-jima (硫黄島) is known as fierce battle field during World War II. This island is prohibited to enter except administrators.
Ogasawara has a very diverse and rich history. The first inhabitants to colonize Chichi-jima (父島 “Father Island”) came from the West. Although Ogasawara islands are made up of over islands, only Chichijima and Haha-jima (母島 “Mother Island”) are inhabited. Almost the whole area of the islands is included in the Ogasawara National Park, which is full of beautiful nature. You can visit the marine park as well. This is an area known for whale watching. Although the access to the islands is limited to ship, it is always highly popular among tourists.
How to get there:
There are no airports in the islands, so transportation is limited to the Ogasawara Kaiun ferry, the Ogasawara Maru, departing from Takeshiba, Tokyo to Chichijima. The ferry runs every three days in each direction and takes about 25 hrs one way in good weather, but longer if the sea is rough (and it often is). Please note that in bad weather the Ogasawara Maru travels at a slower speed and thus arrives at the destination late. As a result, many tourists have missed connecting trains and flights. Be sure to purchase travel insurance and to schedule your travel itinerary to compensate for this unpredictable event. One-way tickets start from ¥29,250 for second class tickets.
Haha-jima locates about 50km south from Chichi-jima, and it takes 2 hrs by ferry.