How to Travel Aogashima Island, Japan

stars over izu peninsula - how to travel aogashima island, japan

The incredible island of Aogashima lies in the Izu peninsula in the middle of the Philippine Sea. It’s one of the most out of the way places you can visit in Japan. The island itself is a volcanic crater with a smaller volcanic crater in its centre. This rare phenomenon, known as a double caldera, gives the island its dramatic topography. Aogashima is a spectacular escape for hikers, outdoorsy folks and anyone who appreciates a bit of rugged isolation and beautiful views of sea and sky. 

At only 3.5 kilometres long by 2.5 kilometres wide, it’s a tiny island that's home to only 178 people. The difficulty of getting to the island has kept its beauty pristine and relatively undeveloped. As you might expect of a place where tourism hasn’t really taken hold, there aren’t a lot of amenities. There are a few B and Bs, a free campground, a store and two bars, where you can sample the local sochu – a vodka-like spirit made from sweet potatoes. Most people who travel to Aogashima, however, are happy to trade amenities for the rare chance to really get off the beaten path in Japan. 


  • Hike to Maruyama, the island’s inner volcanic crater. Rows of planted camellia trees create a lovely striped effect on the landscape, which is about an hour’s walk from the village office. Alternatively, you can hike to Otombu for a bird’s eye view of the double caldera.
  • Unwind in a volcano-powered sauna – Fureai Sauna is the island’s geothermal-powered public sauna, where you can relax after all the vigorous hiking you’ve just done.
  • While you’re at the sauna, cook up lunch on a geothermal vent. There are facilities with pots for cooking over the volcanic heat.
  • Stargaze at Oyamatenbo Park. The 360-degree views from this observation park are stunning at any time of day but on clear nights, the stargazing is simply unforgettable. It’s about a 40-minute hike from the village office.
  • Visit Ootaniwatari Habitat and immerse yourself in a forest of Japanese bird’s nest ferns. A wander through the lush, green vegetation of the island is one of the island’s big draws.

How to Get There

Aogashima is 358 kilometres south of Tokyo. You won’t be able to travel directly from the main island, though. You’ll have to travel to Hachijō-jima first. Flights from Tokyo to Hachijō-jima take about an hour or you can go from Tokyo by boat, an 11-hour trip. 

The remaining 64 kilometres from Hachijō-jima to Aogashima can be covered by ship or by helicopter. Helicopter tends to be the preferred method of travel – boat service is more frequently disrupted by bad weather. In fact, if you’re planning to arrive and leave by boat, make sure you have a few days’ leeway just in case the boat is delayed by rough seas. 

Best Time to Go

The best months to visit Aogashima are June to August. The breezy conditions on this island make it a nice escape from the sweltering temperatures of Tokyo.
Safe travels!

Image credit: Noriaki Tanaka

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