We hiked Mount Kofuji and Minamizaki Beach on Hahajima Island. The second most renowned hike on Hahajima Island can be completed without a guide. Mount Kofuji is 86m as compared to Mount Chibusa 463m, but you can enjoy the overall picture of the island. Mount Kofuji and Minamizaki Beach hiking is highly regarded by locals as offering the best views on the entire island. Rainwear and trekking shoes are needed for hiking in the Ogasawara Islands.
Starting point to Mount Kofuji
After our arrival on Hahajima Island, we firstly set off to Minamizaki and climbed Mount Kofuji. The southernmost point of Tokyo Prefectural Road 241 is the starting point to Mount Kofuji. It takes 15 mins from Oki Port.We made our way up to Suribachi Observatory with about one hour of hiking. Suribachi is a mortar shaped cliff and locals used to slide down with cardboard here. It is now surrounded by a fence, but it must have been fun. During this trek, we saw ponds and an old military base. Our tour guide explained how local people used to live in the mountains, cultivating fields and how nature can be protected now.After 30 mins walk, we finally arrived at the top of Mount Kofuji. As one of the best viewpoints to see the whole island and Mount Chibusa in the distance. Mount Kofuji was my favorite short hike on the island. The views of the green hills of Hahajima Island can be enjoyed from the top of Mount Kofuji. The chains of islands with deep blue ocean were so beautiful. We had happened to climb with a staff of the Environment Agency for researching the damage by alien plants on Ogasawara Islands. He showed us epidemic snails. In Ogasawara, snails have attained evolution. At least 90% of the snails are endemic species, so we could not catch them. We found a lot of Terrestrial Hermit Crabs in the Ogasawara Islands. 4 kinds of Terrestrial Hermit Crabs living in the Ogasawara Islands are nationally protected. We also saw breeding seabirds.
From Mount Kofuji we kept hiking all the way down to Minamizaki Beach. After going through a mildly undulating forest of Pandanus, we finally arrived at Minamizaki Beach which has coral reefs. We enjoyed the breathtaking contrast between the white sand and the bright blue ocean. A fish processing factory used to exist here, but we could not see any traces of it these days due to the dense forest. Over 70 years ago, a boy worked at the fish factory and walked back to his elementary school in his village. I pictured that he might not be able to go in a rainstorm, but still he was willing to attend classes. This is an island renowned for its natural beauty, so do yourself a favor and enjoy the scenery any which way you can. Other outdoor activities including fishing, scuba-diving, cycling are available and here’s a list of other precious hiking areas on Hahajima Island.
The weather was unstable during our stay due to the typhoon, so we didn’t climb Mount Chibusa. Mount Chibusa is the highest peak in the Ogasawara Islands with an elevation of 463m. The route takes 4 hours to walk. The height and damp sea winds running up Mt. Chibusa create clouds which cover over the upper part of the mountain. I imagined blue sky and blue ocean at Hahajima Island, but the white fog covering Mount Chibusa that I saw from Oki Port reminded me of the similar view of the high mountains in the center of Japan.
Sekimon area trekking
The Sekimon area is forbidden to climb without having a tour guide. It takes 6 to 7 hours to walk around. Some areas have no sidewalk to protect Ogasawara endemic species. A prior reservation is recommended at the tourist information center or through the website. The Sekimon area’s atmosphere was created by a dense semi tropical forest. You can see various kinds of unique animals, birds and plants here.
How to visit Hahajima Island
Hahajima Island is located about 50 km south of Chichijima Island. Hahajima Island is the second largest island in the Ogasawara Islands group with the population of Hahajima being 400. Tropical fruits and vegetables are harvested here and then shipped to the mainland via Chichijima Island. When you arrive at Chichijima Island from the mainland, there is enough time to connect to the Hahajima Maru before it departs from Chichijima Island. I could not make reservations for the Hahajima Maru, but I was told that I need not worry. It is very rare that this ship is full to capacity. It takes 2 hours from Chichijima Island to Hahajima Island. Two or three days on Hahajima Island will allow for plenty of time to see the sights. Hahajima Island showcases the more untouched side to Ogasawara Islands that will most impress you about Ogasawara.