Did you know that while Tokyo is a metropolitan hub offering modern spots and world-famous tourist attractions, it is also home to a number of scenic islands? Izu islands (伊豆諸島) refers to a group of volcanic islands located several hundred kilometers south of Tokyo. In Japanese there are called the seven islands of Tokyo, but they actually consist of more than a dozen islands of which 9 are currently inhabited.
Shikinejima (式根島) is one of the islands of Tokyo which is visited by a number of tourists as a popular spring and summer destination. Especially during Golden Week, many Tokyoites flock to the island. It welcomes you with sandy beaches, hot spring spots by the scenic ocean, and stunning views from observation decks, all while being surrounded by beautiful nature. Located only a few hours south of the city centre, the contrast between the two couldn’t be any bigger! Renting a bike and exploring the island will enable you to discover hidden natural spots and interact with friendly locals. Here is our 2 days itinerary to make the most of your time in Shikinejima!
- 1. How to get to Shikinejima from Tokyo
- How to get around Shikinejima Island
- Best time to visit Tokyo’s Shikinejima Island
- Day 1 on Shikinejima Island
- Day 2 on Shikinejima Island
- Japan Wonder Travel Private Tours
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1. How to get to Shikinejima from Tokyo
There are basically 3 ways to get to Shikinejima from Tokyo. Choose the best option that suits your itinerary and budget the most below!
1. High-speed Jet ferry service (From Takeshiba Pier)
The high-speed ferry service is regularly available from Takeshiba Pier. It is known as the main gateway to both Izu and Ogasawara islands from Tokyo.
– 3 hours
– ¥8,970 (adult/one-way)
2. Large passenger ship service (From Takeshiba Pier)
Boarding a large passenger ship service is another option if you prefer a slow, overnight journey that will save you some money.
– 10 hours
– ¥5,850～ (adult/one-way) ※Note that the fare may vary depending on time and season.
For more information including up-to-date service schedule visit their official website.
3. Fly to Tokyo Islands (From Chofu Airport)
Take a domestic flight from Chofu Airport to Niijima and transfer to a ferry service which takes you to Shikinejima in less than 15 min.
– 1 hour
– ¥14,400～ (adult/one-way) ※The fare varies depending on time and season.
How to get around Shikinejima Island
Shikinejima is the smallest of the populated Izu Islands, only about 3 km across so renting a bike is probably the best option if you want to make the most of your time at Shikinejima. There are several bike rental shops around Shikinejima which allow you to get around the small island easily and conveniently. The price for one day is between ¥800 for a normal bike up to ¥2,000 for an electric bike. Make sure to check their location and availability prior to your visit, especially during the summer season reservations are recommended. Two bike rental shops in Shikinejima (※available only in Japanese)
Best time to visit Tokyo’s Shikinejima Island
Being located near Tokyo and Yokohama, the climate is quite similar to these cities, but being an island located out in the ocean, the island is subject to more extreme weather and also the weather can change quickly. A day that starts off cloudy, can turn in a perfect beach day with clear blue skies and vice versa. Depending on the purpose of your trip, Tokyo’s island Shikinejima is great to visit all year round. There are natural hot springs to heat up in on the colder (winter) days, sakura blooming in spring time and being an island there will be a cooler breeze in summer to escape the hot, sticky days in the cityscape. Autumn is great to visit, however this is also the season that has the most typhoons. Especially in October, there are high chances for a typhoon which may cause havoc in your travel plans.
Day 1 on Shikinejima Island
1. Tomari beach (泊海水浴場)
Our first destination is Tomari Beach, located only about a 5min walk from Nobushi Port. Shikinejima is popular for the picture perfect beaches and Tomari is the champion of all. The white sandy beach is shaped like an inlet and is surrounded by giant rocks. This makes it a perfect spot to enjoy sea bathing and a range of marine sports without worrying about high waves or rapid, changing tides. The shallow, emerald green water and beautiful sandy beach are perfect for swimming, also for families with little children. In the summer season, there is a small cafe selling some snacks and drinks.
If you don’t visit there during summer season, there are still other ways which enable you to make the most of your time there. Relax on the beautiful beach and play some beach sports and take a refreshing stroll along the calm water. Dipping your toe in the water will be enough to see the clearness of water!
Other noteworthy beaches include Oura Beach for stunning sunsets and Nakanoura Beach for snorkeling. Near Oura beach (only during high season) you will also find a free campsite with BBQ facilities that also rents out kayaks for exploring the coastline. Because of the compact size of the island, you can easily visit several beaches on a day.
2. Lunch at Shima Cafe 963
Shima Café 963 is a popular dining spot opened in 2017. It’s located in a renovated traditional Japanese-style house which offers a cozy, relaxing atmosphere. Try their original dishes made with fresh seafood and vegetables that are locally produced. Unlike other cafes, they are open from early morning through the night time, making it a popular place to enjoy not only light meals but also satisfying dinners along with some beers and highballs!
8.30am-3pm (breakfast & lunch)
3. Natural hot springs Shikinejima
Being a volcanic island Shikinejima is home to a number of (natural) hotsprings, to be found across the small island. It boasts 3 natural open-air tide pools which can be enjoyed for free! Bring your own swimsuit and soak your body in the relaxing onsen will bring you an unforgettable experience. Here are the most popular hot springs in Shikinejima that are open 24 hrs and freely accessible:
1. Matsugashita Miyabi-yu (松が下雅湯)
– Scenic open-air bath located in the south part of Shikinejima
– Perfect spot to get to know locals and share a refreshing moment
– Parking, changing rooms, shower, washroom and free foot bath are available
2. Jinata Hot Spring (地鉈温泉)
– Most popular open-air in Shikinejima which is about 1.5km from Matsugashita yabi-yu
– Feel the dynamic scenery created by unique rock formations and the ocean
– Parking and washroom are available
4. Ashijiyama Tembo-dai (足地山展望台)
At the end of your first day on Shikinejima, head to Ashijiyama Tembo-dai, a popular observation spot accessible from Jinata Hot Spring in less than 10 min on foot. It offers a panoramic view of the entire island as well as other ones, including Niijima and Kozushima.
Day 2 on Shikinejima Island
1. Agepan for breakfast
Ikemura Shoten (池村商店) is a small, local shop which is famous for Agepan (揚げパン). It is a deep-fried bread which is generally seasoned with sugar and other sweet flavors. The crispy texture and sweet taste are not too heavy for the empty stomach in the morning, making it a perfect choice for breakfast to get you up and running.
Agepan (deep-fried bread) ¥130
2. Kanbiki Observation Deck (神引展望台)
After enjoying a satisfying breakfast, head to Kanbiki Observation Deck, which is situated at the highest point on the island! You need to leave your bike at the base of the mountain and take 100 steps leading to the observation spot. As you reach the top, you are welcomed with a stunning view of the entire island as well as the endless blue world of the ocean. When the weather permits, you can catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan in the distance. At night, you can get a crystal-clear view of the stars from the lookout.
The Kanbiki Observation Deck can be easily combined with a visit to Oura Beach, famous for its’ sunset views – the best on the island! Oura Beach has both sandy and rocky parts and shady trails that meander through the undeveloped part of the island and up to Kanbiki Lookout Point.
3. Snorkeling & diving
Besides hiking, sunbathing and the free natural hot springs, there are a couple of places to enjoy other more active activities such as fishing, snorkeling, diving and sea kayaking. As mentioned before the Oura Campsite hires out kayaks during the high season. Shikinejima Diving Service offers several options to discover the marine life underwater at several points around Shikinejima. You can rent all the diving gear and even get your padi. Nakanoura Beach is great for snorkeling, put on your mask and flippers to catch views of coral, colorful fish, and even sea turtles.
4. Souvenir Shopping
No trip in Japan is complete without getting some gifts and souvenirs to take home. There are attractive souvenir shops selling a large selection of merchandise and items around Shikinejima. Fresh life SHINYA is a popular shop conveniently located near Nobushi Port. They offer a range of items including some original merchandise and local specialties. If you want to get souvenirs on the first day, Okuyama could be another option which is close to the most hotels and inns in the main district of the island!
Japan Wonder Travel Private Tours
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1. [Virtual Tour] Tokyo Highlights
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Located only a few hours from Tokyo, Shikinejima is a great place to escape from the bustling city life of Tokyo. The islands rocky coastlines, white sandy beaches, and ocean-side hot springs are a great spot to visit for a (long) weekend reconnecting with nature. Go beach-hopping, snorkeling, trekking, and onsen-soaking on the small island and enjoy the interaction with the locals. It is not hard to understand by Shikinejima is a popular weekend trip destination. Especially in summer the island is a great getaway to escape the summer heat. Visiting Shikinejima will definitely offer you a special holiday experience while surrounded by beautiful nature and friendly locals.
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