5 Must-Visit Islands In Japan That You Probably Didn't Know About | CoolJapan

If you look at a map, you would think that Japan is made up of only four large islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. But did you know that the country is actually an archipelago consisting of almost 7,000 islands in total? That’s a lot of new places to explore on your next Japan trip. Curious? We highlight five must-visit Japanese islands you probably didn't know about below. 

Oshima, Izu Islands, Tokyo


Oshima, Izu Islands, Tokyo

On top of Mount Mihara. © JNTO


The Izu group of islands may be governed by Tokyo, but it is still located a good 200 kilometres south of the capital. A cluster of nine islands, it is a popular summer destination, being famous for lovely beaches and beautiful blue waters. Oshima is the largest and most accessible of the islands. It is most known for its active volcano Mount Mihara, which stands at the centre of the island and is covered by a desert-like lava landscape that gets filled with camellia flowers in the first quarter of the year.

Aogashima, Izu Islands, Tokyo


Aogashima, Izu Islands, Tokyo

An aerial view of Aogashima shows its unusual geographical features. Photo by National Land Image Information (Color Aerial Photographs), created by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, distributed by Geospatial Information Authority of Japan via wikicommons 


Many of the islands in Japan are a result of volcanic activity and Aogashima is no different. Not only is the entire island made up of an active volcanic crater, it also houses yet a smaller volcano in its inner crater known as Maruyama. Hiking enthusiasts will love the abundance of nature on Aogashima, which has yet to be touched by congested tourism as it is located in the remote Izu Island archipelago.

Yonaguni, Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa 


Yonaguni, Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa

The underwater Yonaguni Monument. © JNTO 


Yonaguni is at the westernmost point of Japan and actually closer in distance to Taiwan than the rest of the main Japanese islands. Part of the dispersed Yaeyama Islands in Okinawa, Yonaguni is a scuba diver’s dream as it is famous for schools of hundreds of hammerhead sharks as well as the colossal underwater megaliths that no one quite knows the origin of.  It’s also the only place in the country where you can ride the endemic Yonaguni horse.


Hajima (Gunkanjima), Nagasaki


Hajima (Gunkanjima), Nagasaki

Hajima’s buildings make it look like a battleship from afar. © JNTO


Nagasaki’s waters are home to 505 uninhabited islands and Hajima is probably its most famous island that you can visit. A UNESCO Heritage landmark, the island is barely 500 metres long and was a former coal mine that has been abandoned to nature since the mid 70s. You can only visit the island on tour packages that let you poke around the dilapidated buildings and structures. This gave the island its nickname Gunkanjima or Battleship Island.

Akusekijima, Kagoshima, Kyushu




Akusejima is a volcanic island that’s a part of the Tokara island group south of Kagoshima. For most of the year, it’s a serene landscape that's home to lush greenery and tidal hot springs. But during the annual Bon matsuri in the seventh lunar month (usually around August), the islanders carry out an unusual tradition. This involves a traditional dance with men wearing large grotesque masks and palm leaves representing the deity, Boze. Interested? Be warned as getting to Akusejima is no easy feat. With no airport, the only way there is to take a boat that takes about 11 hours from Kagoshima. If you're up for the adventure, then it's definitely worth the time. 


(Cover photo from: wikicommons)

READ MORE ON THIS TOPIC
  1. 1.Oshima island
  2. 2.Aogashima island
  3. 3.Yonaguni island
  4. 4.Hashima island
  5. 5.Akusekijima island
  • Sights & Attractions
  • Hotels & Stays
  • Food & Drinks
  • Shopping
  • Services