Get away from the city to this tropical island.
Hachijojima, is a subtropical island located to the south of the capital. It only takes an hour to fly there from Haneda Airport. If you prefer to enjoy a longer trip with a beautiful ocean view, though, you can also go there by ferry...
On this unique island, there are two special ryokans located near the airport, Hachijo View Hotel and Hachijojima Park Hotel. From the outside, Hachijo View Hotel looks like a big resort hotel, but on the inside, there are traditional Japanese tatami rooms, as well as authentic Japanese cuisine that you can enjoy in your room. You can also enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean, or visit the bar downstairs called “Smile”, where you can take your local experience to the next level by trying all sorts of local Shochu (Japanese sake). Hachijojima Park Hotel has been run by a kindhearted married couple for a long time. There are 10 nice, comfortable tatami rooms, which will make you feel at home. In the lobby, you can find a Hachijo daiko (a traditional Japanese drum). The couple can show you a Hachijo daiko performance where they stand on either side of the drum and play together. The rhythm that they play is perfectly in sync because of their longtime relationship.
Uniqueness of Hachijojima
It is a special place, unlike any other place. One of the most surprising facts about Hachijojima is that it has a warm climate, similar to that of southern Japan or Hawaii, even though it is within Tokyo. A unique feature of Hachijojima is that it has a gourd-like shape because it is made up of two mountains connected to each other(Mt. Mihara and Mt. Hachijo-Fuji). Interestingly, for that reason, people usually call the island “Hyotan-jima”, meaning “a gourd island” in Japanese.
The origin of the name Hachijo came from “Kihachijo”, a famous traditional craft in Hachijojima. Silk fabric is handwoven and dyed with natural ink, resulting in a product that has a color and texture of insanely amazing quality. Historically, Kihachijo fabric has been used to make many types of clothes, such as Kimonos. In the old factory called “Kihachijo Yume Kobo”, a few professional craftsmen have been weaving and dyeing the silk to make many kinds of crafts. (You can watch them up close!)
Shimazushi and Kusaya
Have you ever heard of special sushi made on islands called “Shimazushi”? I tried it for the first time and it was much more flavorful the usual sushi. It is made with local ingredients from the ocean surrounding Hachijo. You can eat it by dipping it into a spicy soy sauce. The spiciness of the sauce comes from a chili pepper instead of wasabi.
Another interesting food in Hachijojima is “Kusaya”, a Japanese style salted dried fish, which has a pungent smell. The smell is very strong, but it tastes good when paired with rice or sake. If you want a new adventure, you should definitely try Kusaya at the famous Kusaya restaurant called “Aigae Suisan”.
Be surrounded by nature on a road and in an Onsen
Throughout my trip I walked on the roads, surrounded by nature and fresh air. It helped me release my daily stresses. On the roads, there were stone walls made with “Tama ishi”, formed by the ocean’s water. At night, I went to one of the best outdoor onset called “Miharashi no yu” and it felt as if my heart melted.
In conclusion, my first trip to Hachijojima was more memorable than I expected. It was really impressive that the locals were able to create so many things just by utilizing the natural materials on the island. Thanks to the great effort of Mr. Miyashiro, the owner of Hachijo View Hotel and a local master of Hachijojima, my trip was so enriched. It was a trip to remember. As I learn more about Japanese cultures, such as Kihachijo, Hachijo diako, and more, I felt the spirit of Japanese people and their hospitality for others.
Just an hour flight.
Makes your trip will last forever.
The locals of Hachijojima are filled with kindness and are truly helpful to travelers because they believe that Hachijo island is a special, lovely place to live, and want more people to understand the attraction of it. I heard that many Japanese people love to visit Hachijojima during their vacation to go hiking, fishing, diving, eat fresh seafood, and more. With the convenient transportation options and the great environment, many tourists would love this place. Some people visit for a short weekend trip, and others move to Hachijo island. Once you come to visit, you may want to stay on the island forever.