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Adventures on Monkey Island

Not far from the port of Yokosuka , Sarushima or Monkey Island is a great day-trip destination, offering beaches, ruins, and great views of Tokyo Bay in every direction.

Don't Miss

  • Explore the decaying ruins of a former fortress
  • The panoramic view from the observatory area
  • Take some food to BBQ by the beach

How to Get There

Located just two kilometers from New Mikasa Pier, the island is accessible by a 10-minute boat ride.

Catch a boat from Mikasa Pier, a 10-minute walk from Yokosuka Chuo Station on the Keikyu Line. It is about 45 minutes to Yokosuka Chuo Station from Tokyo's Shinagawa Station.

The boat service connecting the pier to Sarushima only takes about 10 minutes, and runs daily. An entrance and boarding fee is required.

So where are the monkeys?

This is the only genuinely natural island in Tokyo Bay (the rest are all reclaimed land), and despite its name, there are actually no monkeys to be found. Legend has it though that a pure white monkey appeared to guide the storm-tossed boat of the famous monk Nichiren to safety on the island in 1253, hence the name.

Exploring the island

Give yourself an hour or so to explore all the nooks and crannies of the island. Due to its ideal strategic location as a defensive outpost protecting the capital, Tokyo, and the port of Yokosuka , Sarushima was heavily fortified beginning near the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867) up to the WWII era.

Fortification remains include excavated earthen tunnels, a barracks, and an ammunition depot. Lots of the construction was done in red brick. Much is overgrown, covered with moss and ferns, as nature slowly reclaims the island. You can get further insights into the island and its history by visiting the small museum at the port.

Summertime is beach time

There is a beautiful sandy beach on the Yokosuka side of the island, and during the summer months you can join other vacationers and rent barbecue sets (bring your own food to grill) and beach umbrellas. The beaches are clean, and the water is clear, making it a fine place for soaking up some sun, beachcombing and cooling off. A small shop also sells drinks and some food.

Going further

Sarushima is a great place to spend just a few hours, but if you have an entire day to spend, make your way to the rockier areas of shoreline on the north side of the island where you can join Japanese families searching the tide pools for marine life. Just be sure to note the tide schedule, it rises quickly and can soak anyone who isn't paying attention.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.


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