Overwhelming Beauty! How to Enjoy the World Heritage Site Surrounded by Deep Blue Seas, the Ogasawara Islands
The Ogasawara Islands is a southern paradise that takes a full day from Tokyo to get to. The islands, held among the deep blue seas, is registered as a World Heritage for its rich nature. Here is how to enjoy the Ogasawara Islands.
What are the Ogasawara Islands Like?
The Ogasawara Islands are 30+ islands, large and small, located approximately 1,000km to the south of Tokyo. They are islands created by volcanic activity with distinctive flora and fauna that evolved independently. They were registered as a World Heritage in 2011 for their unique ecosystem.
The deep blue ocean surrounding the islands is among the most beautiful in the world. It is also known as a habitat for many dolphins and whales. There are Japanese-style and Western-style inns to stay in on Chichijima and Hahajima islands, so you can thoroughly enjoy the islands' charms.
The islands are in the subtropics so they are warm throughout the year, with little temperature variation from winter to summer. They have an oceanic climate so are humid, with a lot of rainfall in May and November.
The only transportation to the islands are the regular ferry services from Tokyo. The ferries from Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo to Futami Harbor in Chichijima take about 24 hours. They usually run once every six days, but are increased to once every three to four days during high season. There are also ferries that run between Chichijima and Hahajima, which take about two hours.
The activity you'll want to experience in the oceans around Ogasawara Islands is swimming with dolphins.
If you move slowly so as not to surprise the dolphins, they will come to you. It is healing just to watch them swim elegantly in front of you.
There are many tours that depart from Chichijima, so be sure to participate. You will see colorful tropical fish and coral reef during the tour.
Whale watching tours are also recommended.
The sperm whale that live 10 to 30km off shore can be seen all year round. They are whales that are like submarines that dive more than 1,000m into the deep waters for their food but come up close to the surface to rest.
The humpback whales, which are 13m long and 40t in weight, come to the waters near the islands during February to April. It is quite thrilling to see the dynamic way in which they jump. You can also listen to their songs through an underwater microphone.
There are also many tours for exploring the ocean on sea kayaks. You can row at leisure, enjoying the ocean breeze and a pleasant and relaxing time on the water.
Look into the transparent water and you will see tropical fish and coral reefs! You can go to a beach in a small cove that is only accessible by sea kayaks and enjoy snorkeling and nature observation.
No experience is necessary to join the tours. The guides will give you thorough instructions on how to manage a sea kayak.
When the sun sets in the Pacific and night arrives, you'll see a sky full of stars! You can enjoy a romantic view with thousands of shimmering stars at the end of the day.
The recommended observation spot is Kopepe Beach in eastern Chichijima. It is said that it has the most beautiful view of the night skies in Japan.
You can also join a stargazing tour and observe the stars through telescopes. There are also night tours, on which you can see animals that only come out at night, and Green Pepe, a type of mushroom that glows in the dark, together with the starry skies.
One of the biggest appeals of the Ogasawara Islands is the ocean. There are tours to observe the islands' unique flora and fauna, so check them out if you are interested.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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