Tokyo is full of beautiful islands and Niijima is three stops away from Takeshiba Terminal. After visiting Ogasawara islands, I wanted to visit the other seven islands of Izu. Here is a guide to help you make your decision – whether looking for a relaxing time, or taking a solo escape in Tokyo.
I rented a bicycle and headed for Habusiura Beach. The 30-minute-cycle led me to Habushiura Beach located on the east side of Niijima Island. This is also a great surf spot with a 6 km length beach and in summer it hosts surfing tournaments. At the beach, you can tell how waves are good for surfing, though my favorite part is Shiro mama Dangai, a white cliff standing in front of the beach. The reason why surfers and locals love Habushiura is the quietness and serenity of the milky white beach with koga stone sands. On the weekend, this area is also full of visitors for camping, but you need to bring your gear, as there is no renting shop here.
Yunohama Beach Public Bath
In Niijima, there is so much more on offer outside of the typical tropical islands, and most guests stay at least a few nights. One of the main activities is taking a public bath. At the front of the entrance to the island, you’ll see an outdoor public bath that is free and open 24 hours. Wearing a swimsuit is required here. People take this public bath after swimming on the nearest beach to enjoy the sunset.
Glass Art Center
Niijima Island is also famous for green glass arts. This olive green glass is made from Koga Stone. You can visit the Glass Art Center which was built in late 1990 and join a 30-minute class to create your own glass.
Monuments of White Koga
Niijima is made up of koga stone, which is light with high fire-resistance and this stone was used to build a house. Japan is known for being an earthquake country and houses are usually made of wood, but you could see stone houses here arranged in small villages. You will also notice soon, there are more than 100 stone monuments. Those monuments were made as sightseeing symbols in 1960. There was a huge movement to attract visitors to the islands. One of them is located in Shibuya and is known as the Moyai statue.
Eats & Drinks
Need your lunch and dinner? You will find all that and more by making your way to the Honmura area where you still find old houses made of Koga stones.
Beniya cafe – This cute little cafe is a personal favorite in the village. The coffee and hot-dogs are good and the prices are friendly like the staff. This small corner cafe is so packed with vintage grabs that you’ll find 80’s flavors.
Sakae sushi – Located on the main street of the Honmura area is a humble but well-established sushi restaurant known as Sakae sushi. The menu is authentic. Shima-sushi with marinated fish is popular, so be sure to arrive hungry.
Kajiya Bakery – The bakery is housed inside a small and unassuming building front that opens up into a grand area with some chairs. They have many kinds of offerings and sure, they’re pretty good.
How to get around
There are a few ways to get around the island but before naming these, it should be noted that Niijima is a rather large island to traverse and there’s plenty of great spots to enjoy. Should you wish to see more, your best option is to rent a cycle, although you can also rent a car or take a taxi to wherever you wish to go on the island.