Located in the Philippine Sea, a couple of hundred miles south of Tokyo, lies the remote and secluded island of Aogashima. Administered by Tokyo and part of the Izu Archipelago, the island is home to only 205 inhabitants (as of 2009) and boasts a unique volcanic caldera within a larger caldera, giving it a tropical and almost otherworldly appearance.
Access to the island is only possible by boat or helicopter, making it a true adventure for those who choose to visit. The best way to reach Aogashima is to fly to one of the larger islands in the archipelago, such as Hachijō-jima, with a landing strip and then organize a helicopter flight to the island.
Aogashima is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park system, which encompasses many of the islands in the area, making it a great destination for island hopping and taking in the surrounding natural beauty. The island itself offers a chance to relax and unwind, with a geothermal sauna, popular scuba diving, and an otherworldly landscape that will leave a lasting impression.
Although the island has been geologically calm since the 1780s, it is important to note that it was the site of a series of earthquakes, known as an “earthquake swarm” in the 1780’s and a large eruption in 1785 that killed 130-140 people, nearly half of the island’s population.
Despite its potential danger, Aogashima is a beautiful place to visit, and you can reach the island from Hachijō-jima by helicopter or ferry. The island offers hiking trails up to the rim of the interior volcano where you can cook eggs in the steam vents, beautiful views of the night sky absent light pollution, and a sauna powered by volcanic activity in town. Relaxed, quiet, and beautiful, Aogashima serves as an escape from the mania of modern Tokyo, and it just might be worth the risk of active volcano.