Miyakejima is an island in the Izu Island group, off the coast of Tokyo. It is a volcanic island, with a currently active volcano at the center by the name of おやまさん or Mt. Oyama. There is no big town or city on the island, but their government is based in Miyakemura. This area consists of parts of the island, as well as Onoharojima, a nearby small island.
There are a few different ways you can get to Miyake island. One very simple way is to take the overnight ferry from Takeshiba Sanbashi Pier, in Hamamatsucho, Tokyo. The ferry travels to Miyakejima overnight, and then back to Tokyo in the afternoon. The ferry ride is around 6 hours long, and you can choose to purchase different types of accommodation on the ship. These range from private first class cabins, to second class public space tickets, which allows you to sleep outside on the deck! You can also reach the island by plane from Haneda or Chofu airports. Flights take around 50 minutes. Or, if you want something a little different, you can travel there by helicopter!
Miyakejima is a volcanic island, and most of its famous history concerns previous eruptions. One of their largest eruptions was in 1983, when the molten lava moved across the island, destroying many buildings in its path. The lava flow was extremely slow-moving though, so thankfully, nobody was hurt. But, the island’s school was buried completely, all the way up to the roof. Today, you can view the buried building via a wooden walkway that has been built on top of the ruin. While travelling around the island, if you look closely, you can also spot some interesting after effects from the eruption!
The most recent eruption on the island was in the year 2000. After this eruption, flights in and out were cancelled for 8 years, and the whole island had to be evacuated until 2005. Everyone on the island needed to wear gas masks to protect themselves against the sulphuric gas that still lingered in the air. Even today, Mt. Oyama still releases these gases every day. But, don’t worry! It is completely safe to visit and stay on the island now. After the eruption in 2000, a lot of the land on the island was affected by the heat from the volcano. One of the popular photo spots is the sunken torii gate. Since it sank, they have rebuilt the shrine and another gate nearby. But, you can still see the original just inches above the ground.
Miyakejima is a wonderful island, with an interesting and beautiful coastline. So, it’s no surprise that underwater activities are very popular here. Snorkelling and scuba diving around the island will reward you with beautiful views of sea life, sea turtles, and even dolphins! You can even arrange to take a boat out into the sea, and go swimming with dolphins in the wild! There’s also lots of beautiful and interesting sights to be seen as you walk/drive around the island.
So, when you’re planning your next adventure in Japan, give Miyakejima a try!