Nestled between the islands of Toshima and Shikinejima, Niijima is renowned among the surfing fraternity as the best place to catch waves. Of course, you don't have to be a surfer to appreciate the breath-taking "milky blue" waters of Niijima. And Niijima has so much more panoramic scenery to offer. Let's take a tour of the key sites, and keep your smartphone handy for those great Instagram shots!
The Yunohama open-air hot spring is located directly in front of the port of Niijima, where passenger ships and jet boats come in to dock. The hot spring center is open 24 hours and the entry is free, although unlike most hot springs in Japan, swimwear must be worn. You can enjoy a hot bath while gazing out to sea, and because it faces west, if you're lucky you might be treated to a truly spectacular sunset — the ultimate Niijima experience.
Our next stop is the Mamashita hot spring, which in addition to the traditional bathing pools offers the unique experience of a "sunamushi" steam bath in white sand sourced from the nearby Habushiura Beach and heated up by natural hot springs. First you have to put on a special bathrobe, then you lay down on the sand and the staff covers your body in more sand for the full steaming effect.
As you travel around Niijima, you see a number of intriguing stone structures and art pieces. These are fashioned from local Koga stone. The ones in Water Park are simply captivating!
Another breathtakingly beautiful place to visit — definitely worth posting on Instagram! — is the Shiromama cliffs, where the volcanic ash layer protrudes upwards to form a series of spectacular cliffs along the coastline. The cliffs have been eroded over time by the effects of wind, rain, and pounding waves, and in some places there is a real danger of unexpected collapse. Unfortunately it's not safe enough to get close up, but don't worry — the view from afar is still worth the trip.