DISCOVER THE BOUNTIES OF THE SEA IN DIVE-PARADISE, HACHIJO-ISLAND
Discover the Hidden Gems of the Kanto Region
Hachijo Island sits just under 300 kilometers south of Tokyo, within the boundaries of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, and is home to the highest peak within the Izu Islands, as well as their finest seascapes and diving spots. Measuring around 63 square kilometers, with a population of around 7,500, and its own (endangered) Hachijo language, Hachijo is a get-away-from-it-all island, a unique cultural encounter, the premier diving destination within easy striking distance of Tokyo, and through each of these, a perfect place to experience Japan’s relationship with the Sea, the country’s only true neighbor.
- 1Mt. Hachijo Fuji
- 4Sokodo Port
A Night on the Sea
What better way to start a tour exploring the bounties of the Sea, than by spending a night atop it? From the Takeshiba Pier, Tokyo’s newest Waterfront development, board a Tokai-Line ferry, the transportational life-line which connects the Izu Islands with the mainland, for an overnight passage to Hachijojima aboard a “Super-Eco-Ship”.
A Warm Welcome to Hachijo
The first day will have an early start, as the ferry will stop at the islands of Miyake and Mikura, before docking at Hachijo’s Sokodo Port.
Hachijo Island is a charming figure-8-shape, comprising two mountains, Mihara (700 meters tall) in the south, & Hachijo-Fuji (850 meters tall) in the north. Start the morning heading clockwise & south to Noguryu-Toge Observation Deck, for an island panorama, then on to the Nago Observation Site, with stunning views of the island’s south coast, and expansive Pacific beyond.
Continue to Uramigataki Falls, to try a particularly Japanese form of relaxation, soaking your feet in the ‘ashiyu’ natural hot spring foot-bath while gazing across the beach to the Pacific.
Re-energized, complete the circuit around Mt. Mihara before continuing north around Hachijo-Fuji, stopping en-route at Hachijo Shrine, before lunch showcasing island produce cooked western-style.
The restaurant is just a 10-minute walk from the hotel, so after lunch, stroll over, check-in, and freshen up ahead of the first dive of the tour. The order of dives will be finalized on-site to take best advantage of local conditions, but the tentative plan is for this first dive to be in the Sokodo area, famous for Sea Turtles and Hammerhead Sharks. For each dive, 3 different programs will be prepared for snorkeling, and intermediate & advanced-level scuba diving.
In the evening, is a chance to meet and get to know some of the islanders, over a traditional local dinner.
Hachijo from the Sea-Bed Rock-Garden to the Mountain Top
Today, we really get to grips with the highs and lows of life on Hachijo. A second dive of the tour is scheduled for the morning, planned for the famous dive spot of Yaene, off the island’s west coast. Wildlife to watch out for here includes Sea Turtles and Lobsters, and one of the courses will take in Yaene’s famous “sea-bed rock garden.”
After a morning dive, what better than a lunch showcasing the island’s freshest seafood at its most decorated sushi restaurant?
And, suitably fed and energized, this afternoon offers a choice of activities.
Keen divers, and particularly those flying out of Hachijo on the next day, may be interested to take the opportunity for a third dive at the particularly challenging Nazumado site off the islands North-west coast, a walled reef area set-up with ropes to assist divers in getting around, home to a colorful variety of sea life including nudibranch molluscs, wrought-iron butterflyfish found only in Hachijo & Ogasawara, and Lenten sea-otters.
And for those wanting a more complete picture of Hachijo-life, an afternoon opportunity to ascend the island’s highest peak, active volcano Hachijo Fuji, combining an e-bike ride and a hike up a 1,280 step stairway built into the mountain-side to reach the summit, where a stunning walk around the mountain’s crater puts the exclamation point on a breathtaking day.
And, for those still feeling enthused and energetic after a revitalizing dinner at the hotel, this evening there’s an optional opportunity to try the unique experience of night-diving at Ochogahama, off the island’s south-west coast (anyone flying out of Hachijo on the following day should not take this dive, in order to maintain a minimum 18-hour pre-flight surface interval).
Harvesting and Enjoying the Bounties of the Pacific
The final morning on Hachijo starts early, with, or even before the sunrise, with a drive to the harbor to board a fishing boat and experience the island main industry, sea-fishing, first-hand.
After a couple of hours, return to the hotel for breakfast, before a short rest ahead of checking out.
From the hotel, drive to Isozaki-en, a charming local restaurant in a traditional house, offering local delicacies showcasing the island’s seafood and its other famous product, ashitaba, a leaf-herb member of the carrot family.
Those leaving by air will head straight from lunch to the island airport, for the hour flight back to Tokyo, while those departing on the ferry have a further afternoon and overnight to enjoy on Hachijo.
Our suggested schedule is the option not chosen on the previous afternoon, either one final dive at Nazumado, or an e-bike-and-hike ascent of the Hachijo-Fuji volcano.
This evening, choose your final dinner venue from a variety of restaurant options.
The “Super-Eco” boat back to Tokyo
After an early breakfast, say your farewells to the relaxing islands and head straight to Sokodo Port to board the ferry back to Tokyo, and enjoy a restful day heading north across the Pacific on a “Super-Eco-Boat”, reaching Tokyo’s Takeshiba Pier just before 8 pm.
The contents of this page are meant as an example to use in creating your travel plans and do not represent a package tour. Lodgings, travel, guides, and all other accommodations must be arranged for by the traveler.