Hachijojima Island, located 287 kilometers from Tokyo, is a sub-tropical island with jungle-like greenery and, especially due to its horse mackerel, is one of the major destinations for anglers. Knowing how to spend your time wisely is essential to ensure an unforgettable first visit to Hachijojima Island. Here’s a quick guide featuring what to do and see on Hachijojima Island.
1. Experience the Fishing
Hachijojima Island is surrounded by the warm Kuroshio current and with its coral and tropical fish, scuba diving and snorkeling are popular. However, these activities were not so easy for my small children, so we focused on fishing in the early morning and early evening and could catch as many as we wanted at Kounominato Port. Fishing is one of the major activities for visitors, so you can easily find fishing-tackle stores around the Hachijojima Airport and small harbors of the island.
2. Enjoy the Beaches
The beaches on Hachijojima Island aren’t always the easiest to reach and quite often require a rocky descent down, but what awaits is crystal blue waters. Our Hachijojima favourite is Sokodo Beach. As it is located near the center of the island’s city, this is a beach where you can relax and blend into local life.
3. Relax at Uramigataki Falls Hot Spring
Uramigataki Falls is often not the first destination on travellers’ lists when arriving on Hachijojima Island, but you can enjoy the lush green and refresh in streams of crystal clear water. The short walk to Uramigatake Falls is coupled with a volcanic mountain atmosphere and numerous natural outdoor hot springs.
4. Join a Luminous Mushroom Night Tour
You can join a free night tour to see luminous mushrooms at Hachijo Botanical Park. Some staffers are working as researchers too, so you can hear academic explanations by professionals. In Japan, there are more than 10 kinds of luminous mushrooms and 8 kinds are found on Hachijojima Island.
5. Encounter Numerous Tropical Plants
Mount Mihara, located on the southwest side of the island, contains lots of underground water. Hachijojima Geothermal Power Plant supplies electric power using the underground hot water. Green-housing to grow tropical fruits and foliage plants is located near the Geothermal Power Plant and you can rest assured you’ll find plenty of great fruits and vegetables on offer at Eco Agrimart Store.
Where to Eat
Ginpachi Sushi – If you’re looking for a nice little sushi restaurant – not too fancy – then I can recommend Ginpachi Sushi. The menu is typical and you’ll find Shima Sushi comes with marinated fish with Japanese mustard and soy sauce.
Hachijojima Jersey Cafe – Hachijojima has a local farm owned by Hachijo Dairy Industry Inc., and it runs Hachijojima Jersey Cafe where you can select cold cafe lattes and fresh dairy products.
Green Post Cafe – Green Post Cafe is situated on the coast and this is certainly my favourite spot for an unobstructed view of the ocean.
Boulangerie – A casual bakery with a variety of homemade breads. Don’t leave without trying the Kusaya semi-dried fish bread. On Hachijojima, horse mackerel can be easily caught but they decay rapidly, so people marinate them in fermented salt water and dry them to produce one of the stinkiest foods in Japan, Kusaya semi-dried fish.
When I was a child, I occasionally had Kusaya at home because my father loved to eat fermented foods, but since I have started living alone I tend not to eat it. I have never cooked Kusaya indoors because it is too stinky to cook in a small house.
When to go
The best time to go to Hachijojima is late spring (April-May) as the temperatures are still warm but the island is much less crowded. Summer (July-August) gets very busy and very hot so expect large crowds and high temperatures.
How to Get There & Around
You can fly from Haneda Airport to Hachijojima Airport (55 minutes) or take a leisurely ferry (approximately 11 hours) from Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo. Although the island is small in size, you’ll need a car to get around if you want to see and do all Hachijojima Island has to offer.
How Long to Stay
With so many great spots for fishing, it should be noted that a minimum of two nights is needed for your stay. My family was addicted to fishing and we spent 10 days on Hachijojima mainly for fishing.