Miyakejima Island Monitor Tour Report

Our trip to Miyakejima Island, where we experienced “the island living with a volcano and the ocean”.

Miyakejima Island is located 180 km south-southwest from Tokyo, roughly in the center of the Izu Islands. Miyakejima Island is one of the volcanic islands of Tokyo, belonging to the Fuji Volcanic Belt.

©Miyakejima Tourist Association

To get to Miyakejima Island, we took a small airplane from Chofu Airport.

Departing from Chofu Airport, we were blessed with a sunny day, so we had a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji throughout our flight. After an enjoyable flight with spectacular views just outside the window, we arrived at Miyakejima airport in only fifty minutes.

Miyakejima Island is a volcanic island with a diameter of 8 km and a circumference of 38km. The warm weather makes it an enjoyable place to live all throughout the year.

In recent history, the volcanic activity has been repeated roughly every twenty years. During the Showa era, there were eruptions in in 1940, 1962, and 1983. The eruption in 2000 forced all the Miyakejima Island residents evacuated from the island, and it took four and a half years to return to the island.

During the time, a new crater Hyotan-yama” was born due to an underwater eruption, lava flowed into the village, burying houses and elementary and junior high schools, and the phreatomagmatic eruption blew away Shinmyo-ike Pond and a new crater called Nippana Shinzan was emerged.

Today, the landscape created by these volcanic activities brings visitors an understanding of the dynamic, magical, and beautiful power of nature, and we wanted to experience these during our journey.

sightseeing spots of Miyakejima Island

We decided to visit some of Miyakejima Island’s best sightseeing spots with a nature guide for half a day each over the span of two days.

When you visit Miyakejima Island for sightseeing, it is good to use a rental car or a rental bicycle to visit the tourist attractions by yourself, but the best recommendation is to reach out to the Miyakejima Tourist Association to arrange for a nature guide to go with you to visit famous sites related to volcanic activities. As you listen to the nature guide’s detailed explanation and look at the landscape created by the volcanic activities, you will start seeing stories that you have never noticed before.

On the first day, we visited “Megane-iwa Rock”, a strange, arch-shaped rock created by lava.

“Ako Lava Flow Trail”, where you can see the ruins of an elementary and junior high school buried in lava spilled by the eruption in 1983; “Koshiki no Ana”, where you can walk along the crater that erupted in 1643; “Shichito Observatory, where you can overlook all the Izu Islands; and “Nippana Shinzan”, which was formed overnight due to a seabed explosion caused by 1983 eruption.

Visiting these unique and beautiful sites was an incredibly memorable excursion. We particularly enjoyed going to the mountainside “Shichito Observatory, and seeing the other Izu islands on both sides and the areas by the water. Ocean and volcanic activities make Miyakejima Island a truly special and beautiful place.

©Miyakejima Tourist Association

One the second day, we visited “Shiitori Shrine”, where the whole area was buried by the mudflow of the 2000 eruption; “Hyotan-yama, where a crater was born overnight in the 1940 eruption; “Sanshichi-yama, where a crater was created by the eruption in 1962; “Tairo-ike Pond”, which is the largest freshwater pond in the Izu Islands; and “Cape Izu-misaki”, where you can learn the history of past eruptions by seeing the layers there.

©Miyakejima Tourist Association

The sun came out and we saw these amazing sites. We were very happy to have the chance to visit such picturesque locations.

ISLAND SIGHTSEEING oN A TAXI

Apart from the tourist activities with the nature guide, we chartered a taxi for half a day and efficiently visited many of the other places we wanted to go.

We visited “Togahama beach”, where the stratum of several eruptions can be seen; “Miyake Nature Center, Akakkokko station”, where you can learn about the wild birds living on the island and rent a telescope for bird watching; “Chotaro-ike Tide Pool”, where a large tidal pool is surrounded by the cooled lava that flowed out due to an eruption long ago; “Cape Satado-misaki”, where you can enjoy a superb view of the steep cliffs.

The Miyakejima Island coastline is breathtaking with many incredible spots to stop and take in the true power of nature. The coast has varied landscapes and features with sandy beaches, steep cliffs, and volcanic rocky beaches. The spectacle of the waves breaking on the shore is not to be missed.

entertainment at miyakejima ISLAND

There is no end to talking about the charm of Miyakejima Island’s natural spaces, but there are ways to entertain yourself indoors on rainy days as well.

Miyake Village Recreation Center

We recommend “Miyake Village Recreation Center” in the Tsubota district. There you will find one of the largest bouldering facilities in Japan, catering to visitors from beginner to advanced, so you can enjoy it at your own level. After paying the entrance fee and the rental shoes fee, beginners are shown a video explaining how to enjoy bouldering, so don’t worry if you are a beginner at bouldering, you will be made to feel at ease. Yet, bouldering was quite a challenge at first. Even the beginner courses were difficult, but we tried many different courses and managed to reach our goals!

Atelier Fleur Aqua

Another great indoor program we experienced was the Herbarium craft experience, which can be participated in at “Atelier Fleur Aqua”, a weekend-only flower shop in the Ako district. Herbariums are ornamental flower arrangements in which dried and preserved flowers are confined to a glass bottle with a special oil.

The instructor showed us various samples and explained how to make them. If you tell them the instructor the colors and shapes you would like to achieve, you will be provided with various materials to accomplish the task. Use them to make a flower arrangement in a small bottle following your own design, and then pour the special oil into the bottle to finalize it.

We each worked hard for about an hour, arranging the ingredients in our respective bottles with tweezers. Finally, we were very satisfied with the outcome of the activity. While this was my first experience making an Herbarium, it may become my new hobby. Ultimately, the Herbarium I made in Miyakejima Island was a sweet and memorable souvenir for myself.

MIYAKEJIMA ISLAND CUISINE

So far we have only been talking about our interesting experiences, but let us share some of the delicious meals we ate while in Miyakejima Island. We are going to introduce our favorite lunch and dinner places that we visited.

GIZMO CAFE & RESTAURANT

Our favorite lunch place was “GIZMO”, a terrace café restaurant in a white building facing the coast in Tsubota district near Miyakejima Airport. This beautiful building was originally built as a villa by a famous photographer, but it is now run as a cafe restaurant by people on the island.

The nice thing about this café restaurant is that there is a large terrace in front of the building, from which you can see the ocean.

When it gets warmer, it should be a nice place to have a relaxing lunch on this terrace on a sunny day.

We enjoyed a delicious fried local fish, pasta, and fruit sandwich with plenty of cream for a dessert.

Nritano Bar

The recommended dinner place is a bar called “nritano”, where you can enjoy creative Italian cuisine in the northern part of the island in the Kamitsuki district. We took a taxi to go there because the place where “nritano” is located is difficult to find when you visit it for the first time.

The meal at “nritano” were absolutely delicious, with every single dish boasting top-quality fresh vegetables and local fish from Miyakejima Island. It was delicious – truly a hidden gem combining local food with Western influences. We stayed longer than anticipated because we really enjoyed the feast. I would go there all the time if it was located in the center of Tokyo.

Apart from these, all the food we ate during our stay in Miyakejima Island was delicious. In particular, vegetables and fish harvested in Miyakejima Island were both fresh and especially noteworthy.

We would like to recommend “Kamameshi”, which uses ingredients such as kinmedai (Splendid Alfonsino), tocobushi (Small Abalone), and island clam (True Limpet). The ingredients on the island seem to have delicious choices during every season, so we wanted to come back again in a different season to enjoy the different seasonal ingredients.

At the end of an enjoyable stay in Miyakejima Island, be sure to visit the Miyakejima Tourist Association before you leave the island. You can use a service that allows you to print your memories of Miyakejima Island sightseeing taken with your own smartphone.

This is a service that allows you to connect your smartphone to the printer via Wi-Fi and print your favorite photos taken in Miyakejima Island on the spot. This is a great perk—being able to quickly get your pictures printed for a great memory.  The photo quality was great.

Our two-night three-day stay in Miyakejima Island ended rather quickly, but if we had more time, we would take a leisurely stroll on the beach, admire the sea, and do much more.

By all means, we want to come back to Miyakejima Island soon. Next time, we would probably like to visit Miyakejima Island in the summer season to swim and enjoy snorkeling in the surrounding sea.

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