Checking in: Beachcomber on Chichijima Island
My favorite thing about Beachcomber was the home made cuisine on offer. We enjoyed plenty of fresh produce and delicious desserts and the variety of local dishes, raw fish, carpaccio, sauteed fish and chicken and fried vegetables. Every dinner had its original dessert and one day was Sata Andagi donut which tasted unforgettable.
If I have a chance to visit Ogasawara again, I definitely would choose Beachcomber even though it is a little bit far away from the Omura area. Ougiura and Sakaiura areas are not as convenient as the Omura area, but it is near to the starting point of a night tour and Heart Rock climbing tour and Kominato Beach. Usually, the tour company picked us at last and dropped off at first so it was very convenient. We gave ourselves one rule boarding Ogasawara Ship to Ogasawara Islands: catch every sunset and sunrise. The sun rises early around 5:00 am so we started quite early each day. Then every evening we would catch the sunset on the deck. After landing on Chichijima Island, we kept our rule. Having finished eating sweets at Tomaton, I drove my way up to the lookout for sunset near Sakaiura observatory, as this was certain to give one of the best sunset views on the entire island. The sky lit up in shades of pink, blue and orange for around 30 mins before and after the sun broke through. Another great sunset location and a personal favorite of mine when in the Omura area, is to drop by the Weather Station.
Hotel Horizon on Chichijima Island
Hotel Horizon might be the most expensive hotel on Chichijima Island, or in the Ogasawara Island group. Members of the Imperial Family have stayed here before, so the atmosphere is a little bit elegant which made my kids behave well, but if you communicate with the staff you will be relaxed. We enjoyed sophisticated aspects in Ogasawara during my 2 weeks stay in Ogasawara Islands. The guest rooms are very spacious and each room has its own bathroom. The hotel laundry has three washing and drying machines, so it was so convenient. Pick-up service is available.
Lamere Inn on Hahajima Island
There are several inns and guest houses near Oki Port on Hahajima Island. I was late to book hotels on Hahajima, but I still had choices and Lamere was my first choice to book. The landlady of Lamere was awarded for running one of the best guest houses in Japan and she serves local vegetables and fish. My kids and I could stay in a maisonette room with a private bathroom, so we could take a shower whenever we wanted after fishing or swimming. The dining room had a high ceiling and single wooden tables were located there. We shared the dining room and easily communicated with other guests. My kids started to talk with other guests without needing parent intervention and I could see their growth during the Ogasawara trip. When we met the same guests again on Ogasawara Islands while doing various activities, they cherished my kids kindly.
Ogasawara Islands’ local foods include not only its fresh fish and vegetables but also well thought out canned and preserved foods. Sometimes, Ogasawara Maru’s trip to Ogasawara Island is cancelled by typhoon and foods are not delivered. When we visited Chichijima Island, the previous ship had been cancelled and as a result we saw fewer vegetables and meats than usual at the local supermarkets, but each “Minshuku” Inn carefully prepared dinner and lunch boxes for guests.
How to book
When booking for Ogasawara Maru to go to Ogasawara Islands, you need to make reservations for your accommodations immediately. Asking the tour company to arrange everything is the easiest way, but usually they provide only a 6-day tour, including 2 nights on board Ogasawara Maru for the round trip from Tokyo Takeshiba Port to Ogasawara Islands, and 3 nights staying at Ogasawara Islands. We wanted to stay for 2 weeks, so we made reservations by ourselves.
Where to stay
The Omura area is the biggest town in Chichijima Island and many “Minshuku” Inns, hotels, guest houses and tour companies are located here. Staying in the Omura area makes it easy to travel anywhere on Chichijima Island. I planned to rent a car, so I chose two Minshuku Inns that serve local dishes in the Ougiura area which was 15 to 20 mins away by car from the Omura area.
How to see around
Transportation in Chichijima Island consists of community buses, taxis, rental cars, motorcycles and bicycles. Some guest houses offer a send and fetch service, but this depends on the time of day and the season. Renting a car or motorbike is useful to see all around. The number of automobiles is limited, so please make reservations before coming to Ogasawara Island. If you stay 3 nights at Chichijima Island and plan to join several guided tours, you don’t need to rent a car.