The beautiful blue ocean extends endlessly around the Izu Islands. Only a little under three hours from the heart of Tokyo, time flows slowly on the Tokyo islands, where you'll be greeted by friendly people whenever you visit.
The travel enthusiasts Yukako Kawano and Haruka Komagata take an island-hopping tour of Niijima, Shikinejima, and Kozushima islands.
Niijima Island is about three hours by high-speed jet ferry from Takeshiba, Tokyo. With its Pacific waves that attract surfers, stylish cafés and inns, and photogenic spots perfect for posting on social media, it's the hottest island right now. Since it has good access to other nearby islands like Shinejima and Kozushima, it's also the perfect hub for island hopping. Let's take a trip to an otherworldly paradise of milky-blue waters and pure-white beaches at Habushiura Beach, and the artistic stone structures made from the island's special kogaseki volcanic stone!
This enormous white wall was created by a layer of volcanic ash. Even now, its white sands are carried to the beaches of Niijima Island. Since there are often falling rocks, it's best to view it from a distance.
Made of Niijima Island's characteristic kogaseki stone, Yunohama Outdoor Hot Spring is like an ancient Greek temple where you can relax while taking in the view of Shikinejima and Kozushima Islands across the sea.
Niijima Water Park is a very photogenic spot for relaxation and refreshment. You'll be soothed by abundant green trees and the clear water that flows from the forest that looks like it might be from a certain famous anime.
Since they're at the surfing island, Niijima, they just have to try some beach activities. Neither of these two have any surfing experience, so they attended bodyboarding school. The pro bodyboarder Akiko Sato is a kind instructor, so even beginners will feel at ease. Ms. Sato headed into the water with the other two, and they succeeded on their third wave! "Riding the waves feels awesome! I could get addicted to it," said Ms. Kawano.
Ms. Sato fell in love with Habushiura Beach, and ended up moving to Niijima Island about 20 years ago. "Life on the island is like a never-ending vacation. It feels so nice that wherever I go, I always end up returning to Niijima Island."
Pro Bodyboarder Akiko Sato's Bodyboarding School
Phone: 04992-5-0001 (Niijima Tourist Office)
Duration: About two and a half hours
Cost: 6,000 yen (includes equipment rental and insurance)
They enjoyed two kinds of cake à la mode for 750 yen and café au lait for 550 yen in the café's swimming-pool blue interior. Their menu is also filled with lunches made with ingredients from the island. Then they checked out the original items like t-shirts and bags at the attached shop.
The shop's manager, Minami Onuma, born and raised on the island, warmly receives visitors to the café and store. The shop employees and other locals remodeled the former warehouse into a place with an atmosphere where "people can gather," so the place is always full of tourists and islanders.
Ms. Onuma says, "Enjoy hopping to the nearby islands and getting in touch with nature." Take a break at the islands most stylish spot.
Address: 2-9-23 Honson, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
They stayed the night at Hostel NABLA, an old building that was renovated into a guest house in April 2017. While fascinated by the beautiful blue and white of the lounge, the owner Kumi Umeda mentioned, "The walls are made of kogaseki stone."
Having been raised on the island, Ms. Umeda has a particular affection for the stone materials and kogaseki that have been used for construction on Niijima Island since long ago. "They've always been around, but in the last few years there have been fewer and fewer buildings constructed of kogaseki. I've always fondly admired the streets lined with buildings constructed from stone. So, when I decided to open a guest house, I just had to make it to communicate the charm of the beautiful, white kogaseki." The hostel is overflowing with affection for the island, from the floor painted the ocean blue of Niijima Island, to the tables built from driftwood washed up on its shores. Touched by the love of Ms. Umeda, the two ladies were wrapped in warm feelings.
"When you're tired of the bustle of the city, come to Niijima Island to leave it all behind. There aren't many remarkable tourist spots, but that's what's so great about Niijima Island. You'll feel soothed just by strolling along the beach, and gazing dreamily into the sunset and sunrise will release you from your everyday cares."
Address: 6-3-1 Honson, Niijima-mura, Tokyo
Cost: 5,500 yen per person per night (dormitory style)
After waking to the gentle sunlight, the two ladies headed for Habushiura Beach. Since Ms. Kawano holds a yoga instructor's certificate, she taught Ms. Komagata some yoga poses. While bathing in the morning sunlight, their ears were tickled by the sound of the waves. After the serene yoga session on the expansive white beach, they smiled and exclaimed, "It's like my body and soul have grown lighter."