Tokyo’s Secret Island Paradise | AOGASHIMA ★ ONLY in JAPAN


ONLY in JAPAN I’m in Tokyo. Yes this really is Tokyo. It’s about 360 kilometers away from the city center and I’m on this tropical island in the middle the Pacific for an entire week. There’s lots of things to see and do here, but the thing I love the most about this island is the view. Yeah. Welcome to Aogashima. Central Tokyo is one of the world’s biggest and most well known cities, but it’s a lot bigger than many people think Besides the mountains to its west, Tokyo includes many Pacific islands. The closest ones have airports. There’s Aogashima at the end, but Tokyo doesn’t stop there. You have to stretch out over 1,800 kilometers, 1,100 miles away from the city center to islands that include Iwo Jima and Okinotori. Further south than Hong Kong. Ogasawara island is a 24 hour ferry ride, but they’re all administered by Tokyo. Aogashima is our destination. Tokyo’s Jurassic Park looking island with a volcano inside a volcano. Maruyama is the volcano inside this crater, a jungle, and the town sits 200 metres above the sea in the north. Getting there means a long ferry ride or a flight from Tokyo to nearby Hachijojima. Where you have to change to another ferry or, one of Tokyo’s most unique forms of public transportation, the helicopter. That’s right Tokyo has buses, subways, ferries, and helicopters. It’s eleven thousand five hundred and thirty yen, or about a hundred dollars for the 20 minute ride. You have to reserve a month in advance because it only seats eight. The helicopter departs Hachijojima airport after the ANA flight returns to Haneda airport in Central Tokyo. 9:20 a.m. daily. Tokyo’s island helicopter system has ten daily flights transporting commuters and tourists over the Pacific. The other way is by ferry, but Aogashima’s port is very tough to dock at and trips are sometimes canceled or turned back in route. Helicopter is the most reliable method. There’s Aogashima now. On the approach you can see that the town is high off the sea. Many residents come to the heliport. The owner of the inn I was staying at was there to pick me up. I think helicopter is the best way to get to Aogashima. The community on the island is small and close. When one student left the island for summer break, she was given a wonderful send off. Aogashima is officially 358 kilometers from Central Tokyo. It’s also the smallest town in Japan, with only 160 residents. The post office, it’s where the only ATM is. The power plant. The main road. An official city sign for Tokyo’s most peaceful avenue. The traffic light. There’s only one here and it’s used in front of the school to teach kids that yeah, there are traffic lights out there in the world. There are vending machines and izakaya too. This pub was closed because the owner was away for a wedding. But this one was open. From 6:00 p.m., Monji Izakaya may be the liveliest place on the island. The food is good and yes, they have karaoke too. Aogashima’s famous for its shochu, potato distilled alcohol. And Akira-san gives an amazing tour that includes a lot of tasting. By the end of it I tasted over 12 different shochus including this one. But seriously, the island shochu is really good. Most people bought the premium label and they got to put it on themselves at the factory. I stayed at Tametomo, a cozy inn and just a couple of minutes walk from the heliport. It was an incredibly comfortable stay with free coffee and tea, and three meals a day. Besides the two izakaya there’s no restaurant on the island. So it’s a good idea to sign up for the meals. This is Kyoko-san, and for over a week she made my stay a lot of fun, and I felt like I was part of a family just after a couple of days here. The food is home-cooked island fare, and very good. Upon request you can get a bento to eat out. That allows you to explore the island and stay energized. Yoshino-san came to pick me up in the morning for a trip to the crater. It’s a long hour walk from the town, or a 10 minute drive. The town is about 200 meters up, and the crater is at the bottom so, there’s a tunnel, a long one lane tunnel. The openings are a little wider to allow traffic to pull to the side. Welcome to the crater. That’s Maruyama in the center, all of it covered in jungle. Few people live down here. Those clearings are mostly vinyl covered farms. There are no taxis here so people rent a car, walk, or hitchhike. There’s some good hiking around Maruyama, and a viewpoint to see the island. It’s mostly pristine jungle. The side near the port has the most activity. Basically it’s a lot of green down there. Summers are hot, but it’s about to get even hotter. This is a unique volcanic steamer open to the public for cooking. One resident has prepared quite a feast for lunch. Fish, vegetables, eggs, and a steamed cake. Yoshino-san and I had our lunch prepared by Kyoko-san at the inn. Lots of vegetables in a bag with curry sauce. Egg. Yoshino-san: Mystery. John: Mystery, LOL. They’ll be in there for 30 to 45 minutes. There’s a lever under the steamer to turn it on and off. Yep it’s on. All that steam coming naturally from the ground. After 40 minutes lunch was ready, and served in a nearby picnic area. The volcanic steamed lunch is a real Aogashima treat, and inside that mystery foil, delicious fish. But I was curious about Maruyama in the center. Maru meaning circle. Yama, Mountain. The island is scientifically considered a complex Quaternary volcanic island. The ridges on the side of Maruyama are man-made. They were used to plant flowers in the rows. But if you want to go inside this class C volcano, you’d better bring someone local, and Akira-san from the shochu factory volunteered to guide me. He’s one of the only people who still wanders into the center of the crater, and he knows the island’s long history. We wandered off the trail into the dense jungle. The humidity level in here was insanely high. This is really dangerous going into the center of the… Center of Maruyama. I’m glad Akira-san is with me because I wouldn’t be able to do this alone. This area used to be inhabited. Akira-san went even deeper. There weren’t any visible landmarks and he navigates from memory. We’re going now down deep into the crater. There’s a lot more mosquitoes. Just go slowly. I should have worn pants and a long shirt but, you know what, let’s go with it. I’m glad I have socks on at least. So between the two ferns here. These two trees. There used to be a house. Centuries ago they really seemed to like to barbecue stuff on the island. So this is the center here. This is where it erupted about 200 years ago and people… So this is the place where the last eruption was about 200 years ago, and after the eruption people lived down in here. Now you can’t see from the drone from above what’s down inside there so, I thought that was pretty cool that Akira-san showed us some of the history of the island. Even though it’s a jungle down there, LOL. This is the oldest tree on the island. A lot of the younger residents don’t know about it, but it’s believed to have survived the last eruptions between 1781 and 1785. And it was beautiful enough to make me a real tree hugger. Not far from Maruyama is Akira-san’s farm, where one of his produce is the island’s passion fruit. Almost all of the produce on these farms are eaten by the farmers because there’s no marketplace to sell them. In the evening Akira-san came to the inn with a pot of the islands famous dish, Torinabe. Torinabe uses the bones and meat from older hens when they can no longer lay eggs. Like a fine wine, age gives extra flavor and the dish contains more bones than meat. Torinabe is really about the dashi or soup stock. The next day I decided to leave the inn and town for a night to live out in the jungle. Today I’m moving from Onyado the inn to the camp spot, and this is the only store on the island and I need to come here to get some supplies. The store has just about everything you need for an adventure. The family run supermarket also runs a rent-a-car business, and offers guide services. Fresh produce come from the local farms are from nearby Hachijojima on the ferry, when it’s running. There’s even ice cream, and a lot of food with a longer shelf life. In some ways this could be considered the center of town. The hour-long hike to the crater from the town splits at the tunnel, where the old road is now a hiking trail. The jungle has taken over much of it. If you want a camp, there’s a campsite, but call ahead to let the staff know you’re there. So the camp area in Aogashima is free. There aren’t that many people that come here. There aren’t that many facilities to speak of but there’s a place to pitch your tent. It’s quiet; its natural, and it’s jungle. It really is, the only clearing is where volcanic gas is still leaked out of the sand and rock. Volcanic Sauna Steam Bath This is the island sauna powered entirely by the geothermal energy below. It’s open from afternoon to 8:00 p.m. and costs 300 yen. There’s a shower and bath but we’re here for this, the sauna. Woah! So hot! Oh my gosh. It’s like I’ve just entered the surface of the sun. It’s all coming out of this heater here. Ah. I don’t know how this can be healthy it’s so hot. You can hardly breathe. It’s like… like I’m breathing water. I gotta get out. It’s just too hot. In only 90 seconds my skin got this red. You spend a couple of minutes in there You go back outside, it’s not that hot anymore. That’s a sauna. Outside, that’s just summer. This is the Aogashima’s port or Sanbō. A ferry is scheduled to come five to six days a week, but some of those are canceled due to rough seas or high winds. It’s the cheapest way to get to Aogashima but, it’s not dependable so if you have to catch a flight back home, you’d better take the helicopter. It’s about a three hour trip from Aogashima to Hachijojima. There’s no beach on Aogashima, and the only way to access the sea is here. It attracts a lot of people to come catch dinner. In the summer kampachi or giant almaco jacks are easy to catch. It’s also a great place to relax. Favorite Spots on Aogashima That down there is Akira-san’s ranch where I filmed the opening. It’s a majestic view and I learned about it, from Moemi. She’s the island’s nurse stationed on Aogashima for six months. She showed me one of her favorite places on the island. We had to go up an overgrown path that led to this hill. From here there are long views to Hachijojima that include the green pastures of the island. Down below was the sea. I asked Moemi about her story. I’m really glad I ran into Moemi on the island. The people I met here became my friends, and that is what makes this island special to me. Aogashima is more than just an island. I’ve been on the island for a few days now and in order to get from one side of the town to the other, you can walk around which takes you a couple minutes longer or you can go the direct route. Which is a little bit challenging and I affectionately called this road, “The Steep Road Pit of Death” Over the week I stayed here. This route was always an obstacle. I’ve climbed steeper roads but it’s the fact that I had to climb it so often that made it one of those memories I won’t forget. It seems pretty harmless going down, but it’s the road going back up that’s a killer. You have to take little teeny baby steps to get up there. You combine the heat of the sun pounding down on you and this steep. Yeah, you know if this was the city of Tokyo, they would have built a bridge. But they didn’t and that’s what makes this place pretty cool, it moves with nature. Even after going up and down 25 times during my stay, I’d happily do it again which would mean, I’m back on Aogashima. Most visitors stay for just a day or two, but the longer I stayed the longer I felt a part of the island. It really is Tokyo but, it moves at its own pace. The forces of nature are always present but when the skies are clear, it’s paradise in the Pacific. What an incredible island. This is a side of Tokyo that I never knew existed 380 kilometres from the city center. This is still Tokyo and, it’s a tropical paradise in the middle of the Pacific. If you put in the effort and you make the time, this island Aogashima has loads and loads of adventures to give you. Next time I head to the north of Honshu island to Aomori prefecture. Oma, home of the world’s best
Blue Fin tuna, maguro. From the sea to the restaurant, to my stomach. A Blue Fin tuna adventure is swimming your way. If you liked it, hit that subscribe button, and check out another one of our shows. Don’t miss my second livestreaming channel ONLY in JAPAN * GO & check out location photos on Instagram. http://instagram.com/onlyinjapantv またね (Bye for now)

100 thoughts on “Tokyo’s Secret Island Paradise | AOGASHIMA ★ ONLY in JAPAN

  1. 行ったことのある身として、是非お薦めしたいんだけど
    青ヶ島、行くの大変なんですよ!
    フェリーは、欠航が当たり前で、ヘリも定員9名だから
    予約開始と同時に即満杯!
    予約表と睨めっこしながら、苦労して往復ヘリの予約を
    GETしたときは興奮しました(^^)

    港にある温泉、入らなかったのですか?
    僕はこれが目的で青ヶ島に行きました!
    日中は、燦々と太陽を浴びながら、
    夜は、満天の星空を眺めながら、
    海からの波音をBGMに最高の入浴でした!
    それになんといっても、料金無料です。

    また行きたい!

  2. Amazing video mate i'm planning a trip there and I cannot wait. Thank you for your helpful video

  3. 青ヶ島での思い出を少々カキコします。

    島民は皆優しく、集落以外を歩いていると
    「どこ行くんだ?乗ってくか?」と通りがかった車が
    気軽に声を掛けてくださいます。

    駐在所を覗いたら、一画の棚に古いビデオテープが陳列されており
    「レンタルビデオ」とありました。
    娯楽が何もない(僕が行ったときは居酒屋もまだありませんでした)
    島に、全国組織の警察が視なくなったビデオを集め、島民のために
    設置したのかなと(お巡りさんが不在だったため未確認故に自分の想像)思うと実に微笑ましかった。

    キャンプ場は無料で使用できますが、役場で許可が必要です。
    地熱が高いので、場所を選ばないとテント内がサウナ状態に
    なります。この島は生きている!と実感できます(^^)

    周囲を断崖絶壁に囲まれているため、海との接点は
    港しかありません。ですので、釣りも海水浴もすべて
    港で行います。ビーチなどありません。僕はGWに
    行ったのですが、充分海水浴を楽しめました。
    僕の目的だった温泉は、海水浴後の上がり湯的に使われて
    ます。ポリバスみたいのものがポツンと置かれており、
    ボタンを押すと、ドドッと湯が注がれ直ぐ貯まります。
    湯はちょっと塩味がしたので、弱食塩泉かな。
    湯温は体感で42℃前後?ちょうどいい感じです。
    東京とはとても思えない秘湯中の秘湯です!
    港は規模も小さく荒波のため、漁船を停泊することができず
    陸に揚がっており、出入の度にクレーンで上げ下げします。

    ヘリで島を発った際、島を見下ろすと島民が至るところで、
    ヘリに向かって手を振る光景に接し、涙がとまりませんでした。

    定期交通手段のあるところで、日本でも1、2を争う屈指の
    行きにくい場所、青ヶ島。そんなところでもれっきとした東京
    (車のナンバーは品川!) 東京も奥が深い!

  4. Brilliant documentary on this Island that I doubt I would ever visit myself, so interesting to know all the details and the walk about.👍😊

  5. I want to go there someday, but not alone! anyone interested? 😂😭 I want to hiking in the jungle and eat the native island food. so impressed!!! I really want to go fishing there too and stargaze & have a nice adventure time 😄🌄🏞🏝

  6. Wait, so what happened to those people who lived in the jungle? What happened to their homes, etc.? It wasn’t explained. Where did they migrate to?

  7. I am impressed how Japan manage and take care this remote island with proper infrastrusture..mind blowing!!!

  8. Just drop the word "secret" and no one will be considered stupid when this video published what are the details regarding the subject.

  9. The Question is….how Active is that Volcano? If i were a Volcanologist i would build a Tunnel from the side into Volcanos heart, the Magma Chamber and let the Ocean fill it up to become a Harbor inside the Island.

  10. it's kinda funny that I'm practically living in a tiny wee small island too. But, it's definitely not like this place. :p

  11. Out of this whole video he never mentioned the activity of the volcano? This volcano erupted in the 17th century killing half the population on the Islands. I think it had some other smaller eruptions since……..don't you think that would be the first question someone would ask? Did I miss it?

  12. Dude, I enjoyed your video Thanks for showing this hidden beautiful Island Paradise. I'm just curious, why there is NO Mountain Bike? I think its one best way to explore and enjoy more hence the transport is limited all over the island.

  13. I hope some kids will stay there and help their parents. That place is a treasure and scary also. Thanks for this video

  14. I'd love to see japan .. BUT I Don't eat FISH YUCK <. & sushi NO FFFFING WAY .. give me beef. lamb etc just STRICTLY NO FISH .. Well I only eat 1 thing that comes from the sea SHARK aka Flake 🙂 NOTHING ELSE ….

  15. 今度、友ヶ島に行ってください!そこには天空の城ラピュタがあります。

  16. やっぱりヘリが現実的な交通機関なんだな青ヶ島(;´∀`)島民は大変だろうけど、すごく面白い島だなぁ。写真しか見たことなかったから動画は嬉しい!有難うございます!

  17. I was told by "Copper" that this was a secret Japanese U-Boat base for secret advanced technology the American's called it Monster Island or kiyshuoo.

  18. 知られざるというよりなかなか行けない場所にある島だからねえ。こんな島、太平洋にたくさんあるんじゃあないの?

  19. 一度は訪れてみたいと思っていた島です。
    とても見ごたえがある動画でした。ありがとうございます。

  20. I buy chicken bone would add flavor, BUT, chicken skin is VERY unhealthy n look gross indeed (!) n John has NO dam choice eat that light rubber gross chicken skin n I can see his face John is not crazy about eating proud islander made chicken soup does not looks healthy! It is any wonder why the Japanese man does NOT look so healthy considering he lives without any pollution n clean fresh fishes, but he is NOT eating healthy I will say "C" n maybe he drinks too much, likely, Saki, Japanese homemade wine?

  21. 日本人にとっても魅力的で不思議な所です!
    It is a place that is attractive and mysterious for Japanese!

  22. Since the Island has electricity, I would get myself a couple of electric golf carts to get around in. Actually, I would get several and rent them out to tourists.

  23. Somewhere on this island is at least one teenager thinking: "One day I'm gonna leave this place and never come back!"

  24. Fortress island. There is a castle with a green volcanic mouth in the volcanic mouth of the steep quay. There is a history of the islanders and there are well-maintained lives, but once there is a storm there is a danger of destruction. A paradise and a deeply closed volcanic island. Only foreigners who have “power” can reach this island.

  25. No , not for me , not action packed enough ( Beautiful Island though ), probably only a day trip for me AND I don’t eat fish . Give me a Full English in the Morning and a Steak in the Evening , DONT like Karaoke too noisy i prefer to chill out with soft Back ground music and lots of wine .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *