Miyakejima Island (one-night, two-day course)

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(Day 1) Shichito (Seven Islands) Observatory >> Mt. Nippana-Shinzan >> Shiitori Shrine >> Volcanic trail >> Megane Rock >> Furusato-no-Yu Hot Spring >> Cape Izu
(Day 2) Miyake Nature Center, Akakokko Station >> Tairo Pond >> Maigo-jii (“wanderer’s chinquapin”)

The one-night, two-day course explores one of the seven Izu Islands, Miyakejima, about 6 hours 40 minutes away from Tokyo. Miyakejima is known for its unique volcanic topography and as a bird-watching destination. Feel the dynamic energy of the Earth by trekking across the island and witnessing the countless “geo-spots” (volcanic landscapes). Try your hand at bird-watching on the island that’s both home to wild birds and a regular stop for migratory birds.

(Day 1)

5:00 Arrival Miike Port

Miyakejima is about 6 hours 40 minutes by large passenger ship from Takeshiba Pier. (Departure and arrival times, service availability, and the port of entry will vary by the condition of the waters and harbors.) Flights about 50 minutes long from Chofu Airport are also available.

Use the shuttle service, if available, and head to your lodging facility (reservations required). Take a nap during the early morning hours before sightseeing. Buses do run, although infrequently. A rental car or motorcycle is more convenient.

9:00 Map: 1Miyakejima Tourist Association

Stop by the Miyakejima Tourist Association, at Sabigahama Beach, to pick up a map and pamphlet. The staff can recommend a tour guide, too. The office is in a building called Kokoport. On the second floor is a passenger waiting area, a dining hall, and a terrace with a good view. (The dining hall is open only when a ship is scheduled to enter Sabigahama Port.)

Car 20 minutes

10:00 Map: 2Shichito (Seven Islands) Observatory

Climb to the observatory on the hills of Mt. Oyama. On a fine day, it offers a panorama of the Izu Islands, from Oshima in the north to Hachijojima in the south. If you’re lucky, you might even see Mt. Fuji. The view of the expansive lava field below is dynamic on any day.

Car 20 minutes

11:00 Map: 3Mt. Nippana-Shinzan

Mt. Nippana-Shinzan—“new nose-shaped mountain”—is so named for its profile reminiscent of a human nose jutting out from the sea. The explosion in 1983 sprayed pillars of magma, which later cooled to form a spectacular pattern of scoria.

Car 20 minutes
(take lunch along the way)

14:00 Map: 4Shiitori Shrine

Shiitori-jinja Shrine is the source of all the myths of Miyakejima. The current building was erected anew after the original was buried under mudslides caused by the eruption in 2000.

Car 30 minutes

15:00 Map: 5Volcanic trail

Miyakejima suffered four major eruptions in the past century. This trail was laid out on top of the stream of lava from the 1983 eruption that buried the entire village of Ako. It offers hints of the power of volcanic eruptions and the terror of lava flows.

Car 3 minutes

16:00 Map: 6Megane Rock

The whole of the Imasaki Coast was formed by lava from the 1643 eruption. Over time, corrosion from the waves formed enormous arches—two of them, lined side by side, which inspired the name Spectacles Rock. Although one arch collapsed in a typhoon, the site remains a prominent “geo-spot” (volcanic landscape) today. After this stop, return to your lodging facility for a short break, and then savor a dinner of Miyakejima specialties.


19:00 Map: 7Furusato Taiken (Homely Experience) Village

The complex established by the Miyake Village Office in 1995 comprises the hot spring Furusato-no-Yu and restaurant Furusato Mikakukan. Relish local dishes made with bounties of the sea around Miyakejima, and then soak in a natural hot spring bath, distinct to the volcanic island, while taking in a stunning view of the sun setting in the Pacific.

Car 20 minutes

21:00 Map: 8Cape Izu

Cape Izu features a lighthouse with an unusual square column. This is a popular spot for viewing the sunset as well as the star-studded sky. If the night is clear, the sky over Miyakejima filled with stars is a must-see.

(Day 2)

9:00 Map: 9Miyake Nature Center, Akakokko Station

Miyakejima is a celebrated bird-watching destination. After checking out, head to Akakokko (Izu Thrush) Station, established in 1993 and run by Miyake Village. Rangers of the Wild Bird Society of Japan conduct surveys and research, and organize nature observation tours. Borrow one of the available free pair of binoculars and try your hand at bird-watching.

Walk 10 minutes

9:45 Map: 10Tairo Pond

Tairo-ike is a crater pond formed some 2,500 years ago. The thick forest surrounding it is home to many wild birds—the Izu thrush, Iijima’s leaf warbler, and the Japanese wood pigeon—and attracts bird-watchers from both on and off the island. The promenade leads to a jetty at the edge of the lake, which offers a sweeping view of the tranquil waters and woodland.

Walk 10 minutes

10:20 Map: 11Maigo-jii (“wanderer’s chinquapin”)

In antiquity, volcanic eruptions were believed to be the act of god. This giant chinquapin was believed to embody the god of eruption. It was named Maigo-jii, or “wanderer’s chinquapin,” for it served as a beacon for anyone who got lost in the dense forest. The powerful limbs radiating from the trunk indeed appear sacred.

Car 15 minutes
(take lunch along the way)

12:45 Arrival Miike Port

Board the large passenger ship for the terminal at Takeshiba Pier. The ship departs Miike Port at 13:35. (Departure and arrival times, service availability, and the port of entry will vary by the condition of the waters and harbors.)

Model course Miyakejima Island (one-night, two-day course) is displayed on a larger map

The red lines indicate trains and subways, blue lines are buses and cars, green lines are for walking, pink lines are for bicycles, purple lines are ships and water buses.