In 2020, Japan Wonder Travel was given a project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to promote 14 selected prefectures that have been affected by typhoons. We offered 20 internationals living in Japan, the opportunity to travel to several destinations and share their experiences while travelling and also after.
Mehdi Fliss – Asian Wanderlust
My name is Mehdi Fliss and I’m a blogger (Asian Wanderlust) traveling around Asia since 2015. I come from Tunisia and I lived in both France and the UK, but Asia (and particularly Japan) is the area in the world where I feel the most comfortable. Don’t ask me why, I actually can’t really explain it, but it was love at first sight!
In the beginning of 2020, I was invited to participate to a project in Japan organised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The purpose of the project was to promote areas in Japan that have been affected by natural disasters like tsunami or earthquakes. And for my trip, I was assigned to visit one of Tokyo islands. After a quick research, I finally decided to visit the island of Hachijojima that has been impacted by several typhoons recently.
After all my trips in Japan, I visited most of the country but I’ve never been to Tokyo islands. So yes, it was going to be a new experience for me and it was actually a wonderful trip. Let me tell you more about it now.
Day 1 – Tokyo to Hachijojima
I choose Hachijojima cause it was actually pretty convenient to go there from Tokyo. After arriving at Haneda airport, I took a quick 1-hour flight and I was already on the island. If you prefer to take a boat, it will be a 5-hour trip.
To visit Hachijojima, the best would be to rent a car when you arrive at the island. I didn’t prepare my International driving license so I finally used bus lines and taxis.
The first area I visited was the north-west coast with the beautiful Nambara Sensojiki cliffs. From that coast, you can easily see the neighbour island Hachijo-kojima and you can also walk on black volcanic rocks! Near the cliffs, I also found the statue of Ukita Hideie, an ancient Daimyo during Edo period who was exiled in Hachijojima.
The whole island was actually used as a prison during Edo era. I know, it sounds creepy but it was a long time ago so don’t worry! :)
Day 2 – Tour of the island
The day 2 is the day I visited most of the places. It was a lovely sunny day so I made sure to take advantage of it. The first stop was the beautiful Fureai farm which is located near the peak of Mount Hachijo-Fuji. You can see many cows pretty close and enjoy an amazing panoramic view on the whole island. Don’t miss the delicious ice cream made with local milk. So yummy!
After that, I went to Noboryo Toge Observation Deck where you can have a wonderful view on Mount Hachijo-Fuji. By the way, do you know why we call it like that? It’s because its shape looks like Mount Fuji.
Now, it’s onsen time my friends. And what an onsen it was! Miharashinoyu hot spring was actually my favorite place in Hachijojima, as simple as that. Why? First because the onsen water were so relaxing. But the main reason is that you can get an amazing sea view from the rotenburo (outside bath) and I was also lucky enough to see whales! Definitely my best memory of Hachijojima.
How about diving into the beautiful nature of Hachijojima now? That’s what I did when I went to the Uramigataki waterfall. You will need to go through a beautiful jungle covered by green moss. You will finally find a small waterfall at the end of the path but as I always say, happiness is in the journey, not the destination.
Near the waterfall, you can also visit Uramigataki onsen. The bath is actually completely outdoor with no doors so you need to wear swim suits if you want to go inside. Its location is absolutely amazing, surrounded by trees and another small waterfall.
Day 3 – More Onsen and more views!
I started my day with a small hike to reach the Kurosuna Sakyu black sand dunes. The view is really nice and it’s pretty impressive to see the huge amount of black sand on the coast. The contrast with the black sand and the blue of the sea and of the sky was so pleasing.
At mid-day, I decided to try another onsen called Kashitate. The water of the hot spring was a bit milky and it’s apparently very good for the body and skin. I had a bit of a back pain before my trip to Hachijojima but it completely disappeared thanks to the onsen!
Day 4 – Time to go home
It’s already time to leave this beautiful island but not before to say a last goodbye to Mount Hachijo-Fuji. I went to Hachijojima during February and the Sakura were already here. To view them, I followed the advices of a nice old man and I went to the park Hakkei Freesia. And as you can see, it was a good tip!
As you were able to see, Hachijojima is really a hidden gem that deserves a lot more exposure. So if you are looking to relax during few days, enjoy amazing onsen and watch whales in the sea, you know what to do!
Before to leave, I would like to let you know that you can find more info about traveling to Japan on my blog Asian Wanderlust but also on Sugoii Japan, a new blog dedicated to Japan that I created recently.
Hotels he stayed during the trip
We were very excited to work with Mehdi-san, and all the other guests for this project, and will continue to do our best to promote the less known destinations as much as we can. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram to find another project with us.
And of course, if you need any help to find hidden gems in Japan, Japan Wonder Travel will happily help you out.