Oshima Island: Tokyo’s Forgotten Island | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Oshima Island: Tokyo’s Forgotten Island

By Guidable Writers Apr 14, 2023

Oshima Island (or Izu Oshima), despite being the largest island of Izu archipelago in the Tokyo prefecture hosts a meagre population of around 8,000 people. It is almost 91 square kilometers in terms of area, and every single kilometer is worth seeing!

Read on to find all about my trip to this unexplored area of Tokyo, and why you should visit Izu Oshima.

What Is Oshima Island Like?

Izu Oshima isn’t anything we would imagine a part of Tokyo Prefecture to be like. In fact, it might be surprising for you to know that it has no convenience stores, no tall buildings and no crowded streets. But, what makes this area intriguing is its nature. Nature blooms in every corner of this island.

Consider visiting a desert, a beach and a mountain – that too and active volcano – at the same location. All of this tied in a small area of 91 square kilometers.

There are many places to explore in this untapped Island. I am mentioning only a few.

How To Get There

The island is located about 100 kilometers South of Tokyo, more or less 2 hours by high-speed ferry ride from JR Hamamatsucho station. There are other ways to get there. Such as a slow ferry, or you can even travel by air. But the best way is to visit by boat, where you can watch inland Tokyo gradually becoming smaller and smaller, inching towards this naturally scenic place.

How to Get Around Oshima Island

There are two main ways to explore this beautiful island. If you’re a strong rider and think you have it in you to rent a bike and ride on a series of uphill and downhill roads, go for it. The other option for lazy people like me is to rent a car. Do consider the weather as it would play a crucial role in what kind of wheels you would like to choose for yourself.

Where to Stay

It is better to make a reservation for your hotel in advance, as there are a limited number of places to stay on the island. We decided to stay at the Akamon Hotel. They provide some of the most delicious seafood you’ll have your life! And they have indoor and outdoor hot springs to relax your body. There are other options available too. Oshima Onsen hotel for example is nearer to Mount Mihara and has spectacular views, but can be expensive at the same time. So, it is better to look for hotels that your budget allows.

Mount Mihara

Picture taken by the author during the mountain hike

When deciding what to see, let’s start with what makes this piece of land very special – a 758 meters high active volcano mountain. Mount Mihara is generally said to erupt every 100-150 years, and it erupted last in 1990. It is always nice to go on a hike but have you ever wondered what it’s like to hike an active volcano? You will have an amazing experience passing in between the mercurial volcano soil, seeing different kinds of flowers popping out with their bright colors in front of the dark rocks and beautifully picturesque spots in between the trail.

Picture taken by the author during the mountain hike

While you are hiking Mount Mihara, you can find this one and only black desert in Japan. What makes it special is how its black sand dunes resemble the moon’s surface. Some people argue that this is the only desert of Japan, and that Tottori Sakyu is no more than sand dunes. If you are hiking Mount Mihara, this dessert is a must-see! It is better to wear proper shoes as the loose volcanic soil might make its way inside your shoes and make your hike very uncomfortable.

Miharayama Onsen

After a tiring hike, your muscles deserve some relaxation. What’s better than a natural onsen? Being at the base of a volcano provides certain natural perks like a wonderful natural onsen! Filled with the right amounts of natural minerals for your skin and the temperature to relax your muscular tissues, Miharayama Onsen is a place you should add if you go to Izu Oshima Island.

Kobo Beach

kobo beach on oshima island

Picture taken by the author

If, like me, you are someone who has never seen a beach with black soil, I’m sure you will be interested in spending a lot of time taking photos at Kobo Beach – it’s so beautiful! The place is peaceful and clean, unlike other beaches, which are crowded all year long and end up being littered. You might even want to dive in for a little swim.  


Motomachi Hama hot spring, commonly known as Hama-no-yu, is unequivocally one of the finest onsen experiences in the Tokyo Prefecture because it’s natural and gives you access to a scenic sunset view that no other onsen can. The visitors must pay a fee of 300 yen for adults and 150 yen for children. It is recommended to take your swimsuit with you since it’s a mixed onsen, but you can also rent one there. This is the only mixed gender onsen on Oshima Island.

Baumkuchen Rock Layers

Picture taken by the author

This stratigraphic cross-section (locally nicknamed “Baumkuchen”), showcases nature and its wonder in a unique way. You can see the compressed layers of soil, taking thousands of years to form. It resembles the famous German Baumkuchen cake and is must-see attraction when visiting the Island.


Visit Oshima Island for a Natural Experience in Tokyo

If you are here in Tokyo and have already seen all the places and would like to explore a place that even most Japanese people haven’t, this place is for you. You can immerse yourself in this all-natural experience. Also, if photography is something you would like to do, believe me, you shouldn’t miss this.

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