When you arrive at Chichijima Island, it’s a good idea to see an overview of the area. The landscapes of Ogasawara are extremely diverse: from a calm quiet port city to mountainous scenery and various coastlines. Here’s a look at the highlights of Ogasawara neighborhood to help plan your own adventure!
You can walk to Ogamiyama Park from the center of Omura town. The steep stairways looked daunting in front of us, but the view from the top was worth the effort of climbing the stairs. Please make sure to bring a bottle of water. Outside of the towns on Ogasawara, there are no places to buy drinking water. After visiting Ogamiyama Shrine, you can visit the Main Observation Deck and the Panorama Observation Deck.
Weather Station Observation Deck
The Weather Station Observation Deck is located on the west side of the Chichijima Island. This observation Deck is the best location to view the sunset and whales. If the weather permits, you can see Minami Island and Hahajima Island. You can walk from the center of Omura town to the Weather Station Observatory in 35 mins, but the slope is so steep. I saw many exhausted tourists at the Weather Station after walking the way, so my recommendation is to drive there.
Tourist Information Centers
There are two Tourist Information Centers in Oura area: B-ship or Futami Port Tourist Information Center by Ogasawara Commerce and Tourist Association. The former is the main Information Center in Chichijima and provides guided tours and accommodation information. It is located approximately 400 meters from Futami Port. Advanced reservations are preferable, but you can find available guided tours and accommodation here. Ogasawara Visitor Center exhibits the history and ecosystem of Ogasawara Island. They protect wildlife too. When we visited the center, they captured a waterfowl and released her.
Ogasawara Summer Festival
Ogasawara Summer Festival happens at the open space near the B-ship every mid-August. You can enjoy Bon Dance, fireworks, releasing baby turtles and a music event. I had never seen such a huge fireworks display in front of me before.During O-bon season, three days in mid-August, we usually honor our ancestors. It is believed their spirits return to the earth. Many people go back to their hometowns to clean the grave and participate in Bon Dance Festivals. At Ogasawara Summer Festival, we could mingle with local people to know the islands atmosphere.
The Omura area is the biggest town in Chichijima Island with hotels, guest houses, shops and tour companies. There are 3 supermarkets to buy daily goods, lunch, drinking water, sunscreen, medicine for motion sickness, sandals, etc. Shops at Omura close at 6pm or 7pm. Outside of the town on Ogasawara Island, there are no places to buy drinking water and lunch, so make sure to prepare them before joining guided tours and going swimming.An ATM is available at the Post Office and Agricultural Cooperative shops, but bringing cash is preferable. The sunlight in Ogasawara Island is strong, even during winter, and it can quickly lead to minor burns. Please bring your hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to prevent too much sunburn. Before coming to Ogasawara Islands, be sure to prepare for the journey. What I regretted having not prepared before visiting Ogasawara Islands were; a waterproof camera, smartphone case, insect repellent, antipruritic drug and long sleeves and pants for trekking.
In the Omura town, there are several choices of cafe and restaurants and my favorite shop-cafe is Tomaton, a sweet shop, producing donuts and fruit cakes, juice, ice and jams. Everyday, we went by rental-car to Tomaton sweet shop in Omura area from our hotel to have donuts. I spent a lot of time at Papa’s Island Resort Hale while my kids were fishing at Futami Port.
In the Ogasawara Islands, there are many choices for sea activities including; diving, canoeing, stand up paddle boating, snorkeling, whale and dolphin watching, fishing, etc. We took a dolphin watching cruise visiting the Minami Island. Minami Island is located 1 km away in a southwest direction.
Mount Chuo Hiking
We also went to Mount Chuo (height 319m), the highest peak on Chichijima Island, from where we could easily see the overall size of Chichijima Island. From the top of Mount Chuo, we saw the eastern part of Chichijima Island, where untouched nature still exists.
We joined a night tour to see Green pepe, Sea Turtles and the Ogasawara Flying fox. About 150 Flying foxes are living on Chichijima Island. When we saw them, they were fighting to get breadfruits on the tree and roaring. We saw babies hanging onto their mothers. We were lucky to see the stars. We lay down, counted shooting stars and watched Jupiter and Diamond star by using the special, huge astronomical telescope. However, star tours can only succeed when the weather allows. From July to August is the typhoon season, so it might be difficult to see the stars in those months.
How to get around
The two most popular ways to see around are by rent-a-car or hiring a motorbike. If all auto vehicles are taken, other choices are renting a bicycle or taking public transportation. Accommodations and tour companies also offer shuttle bus to the beach or meeting places for guided tours.