Sightseeing Trips from Tokyo: Experiencing the Volcanic Miyake Island (三宅島) - Vikingess Voyages

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sightseeing Trips from Tokyo: Experiencing the Volcanic Miyake Island (三宅島)

With its 6,852 islands Japan sure has enough islands to choose from for those who like to explore the wild nature on the outskirts of Japan's bustling cities. Just a couple of hours south of Tokyo and the Izu Peninsula you can find the Izu Islands, a group of volcanic islands that administratively are a part of Tokyo. These islands are relatively easy to get to, as you can reach some of the islands by plane in about an hour or so from Haneda airport. If you're on a budget it is also possible to take a night ferry from Tokyo's Hamamatsu-cho getting you to some of the islands in as little as 6 1/2 hours.
Departing from Tokyo by ferry
I visited the volcanic island Miyakejima (三宅島) by ferry with Yuma for three days as a part of our summer vacation. The price of the ferry depends on the class you travel on, and in our case we had chosen one of the cheaper options where you sleep on the floor (you can check the prices here but it's all in Japanese).
Our "bed" for the night
I didn't sleep that well to be honest, there had been a typhoon sweeping by the day before and the sea was anything but calm. Despite the rather turbulent sea on the way there we arrived safely at Miyakejima's harbor at 5 am in the morning where we were picked up by the owner of the guest house we were staying at.

On a side note, the ferry of Tokai Kisen's logo looks suspiciously similar to the Norwegian flag..
The main activities you can do as a tourist at Miyake Island are diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and bird watching. If you're interested in volcanos you might be particularly interested in learning more about the island and its history, as its volcano remains active to date.

The Shiitori Shrine getting covered in mudflow
The main volcano on the island, Mount Oyama, has an eruption every 20 year or so. The most recent one in 2000 resulted in the whole population of Miyake Island having to evacuate the island, and the residents were only able to settle down on the island again four years later. There are still a number of buildings on the island that were destroyed by the eruption and remain in the same state until today which you can pay a visit. One example can be seen in the pictures below where the eruption in 2000 led to the torii of the Shiitori Shrineto to be covered in volcanic mudflows.

The torii of the Shiitori Shrine
The rebuilt Shiitori Shrine
The Shiitori Shrine can be reached on foot as the island is not that big, but you can also get there by taking a bus to the Shiitori Jinja Mae bus stop.

For those who like to take a closer look at the life underneath the ocean there are loads of opportunities for both snorkeling and diving. In our case the guesthouse we stayed at also offered diving tours at a cheap price, and we ended up taking a couple of dives of Miyake Island's coast. The water was very clear, and there were many types of fishes to be seen as well. I have included some of the pictures Yuma took during our dives:

Although seeing the remains of the volcanic activity on Miyake Island and diving of the islands coast was a lot of fun our main reason for coming here was actually the opportunity to swim with wild dolphins. I will write more about the experience in my next blog post so stay in tuned.!

There are a number of tour operators providing diving trips and other activities at Miyake Island. We only went on trips arranged by the owner of the guesthouse we stayed at, but for those who don't speak Japanese there are other tour operators who might be more suitable for the trip. For more information, please check out the links below.

Other Pages:
三宅島スナッパー Snapper (Japanese Only) - Our guesthouse and tour operator
Dolphin Club Miyake - A tour operator offering tours in English

Agoda Partner Links:
Hotels in Japan

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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