So over the summer I made a visit to the most isolated place I have ever been to in my life. It was pretty amazing to see how things went on despite the fact that it was miles off the coast of mainland Japan. It had a bank, a school, a bar, and souvenir shops. Please notice that each of these are in singular form. I’m also sure there was at least one and possibly a second grocery store as you went further inland for any residents. To put things in better perspective, when we decided to take a ride to one end of the island, we were able to return to the opposite end in nearly 30-40 minutes on foot.
Now, the island itself is so far isolated that the easiest way to get there would be to take a plane from Tokyo. However, the most cost effective way involved a series of trains and a 4 hour ferry ride. Although this was not the most appealing point of entry, the end result was well worth it.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by our innkeeper. She was extremely accomodating and took us to the grocery store so we could pick up food for the next two days that we planned to stay on the island. Now like I previously mentioned, the island only had one bank. The only thing is, that one bank was only open for one day since we went on a holiday. Luckily we were smart enough to pull out JUST enough money to short the innkeeper ￥2000. (Not as bad as it sounds, only about $30)
Thankfully they were nice enough to let us send them the money after we returned to the mainland.
The wildlife on Niijima was absolutely beautiful. It seemed as if nothing had been touched or bothered by outside sources. The beach and lack of people gave a ‘Jurassic Park’ feel. It was comparable to a movie because most of the places we walked to were empty. It was like a ghost town in some areas and many of the buildings seemed abandoned. At night, the only thing to do was to visit the only bar on the island. “WAX” at Wadahama beach.
After walking down the beach for a bit we noticed some lights in the distance. Assuming this was the “WAX” party we went to have a closer look.
The crowd was made up of mostly residents of the island, but there were also a good number of people visiting on vacation.
The next couple days we made sure to get an early start on the beach. On the way to the beach we browsed through the souvenir shops and made a few interesting discoveries.
Most of the souvenirs appeared to be beach-ware and even had a Hawaiian feeling. There were also things ranging from a great deal of Bob Marley gear, petrified bugs, and even candy that claimed to affect your sex drive! haha
After picking up a few souvenirs, it was on to the beach!
The water was absolutely gorgeous. When I swam out to the barrier the water seemed to be nearly 20 feet deep and it was still possible to see the bottom. Diving under with a mask was great with such clarity, but sadly the 100 yen rental mask couldn’t stop water from leaking into my eyes.
Following all that swimming, it felt necessary that we build a sand castle. Sadly the sand was so thick that it was tough to pile it without any structure collapsing under its own weight. Despite that, I do have quite the moat building skills.
Our checklist had quickly begun to fill up. Swimming, sand castles, souvenirs, sunburn, next was to check out the natural hot spring bath free to anyone interested.
On the way we found something to climb.
If you’re wondering where the steps are, then look no further! You’re already looking at them!
After the climb the sun had set and we had a great view of the hot spring.
Since I had taken on quite a sunburn I didn’t take part in the 温泉(hot spring), but there were foreigners and Japanese alike enjoying the gifts of the earth.
The last day was as beautiful as the rest. If and when I visit Okinawa, I hope it is as wonderful as it was here in Niijima. I’m not sure how it can top this experience though considering we had so much fun while we were here.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the pictures!