As you head along the road leading towards the Takeshima Pier, take in the lights of Tokyo. Note as you walk among tall buildings and under wide highway passes that soon your surroundings will be quite different.
On this island retreat you will be greeted by sandy beaches protected by coves of jagged cliffs. The height above you will come from the 2000m lush green mountain that climbs steeply from the shore. At night instead of city lights, look up to see a sky full of stars. Instead of the noises of traffic, in the mornings you will be woken by the sound of crashing waves as you open up your tent flap to view the ocean only a few feet away.
Not many people have heard of Kozushima (神津島）, a small volcanic island off the coast of Japan whose name means "Gods Haven Island." Its relative obscurity is what makes it such a special retreat. This sleepy community is a member of the stunning group of 9 inhabited Izu Islands whose main income comes from its fisheries. Thankfully, the fishing industry has not spoiled the natural beauty of this island and the waters remain spectacularly crystal clear.
While hiking along the coast of the island, take a moment to look down every so often. Don’t be surprised if you see schools of large and brightly colored fish swimming near the surface. If grilled fish for dinner sounds good to you, you might consider purchasing a trident at one of the shops in town to try your hand at spear fishing. If you prefer to buy your food at the grocery store, then perhaps purchasing a snorkeling kit or arranging for a SCUBA diving tour is a better way to get closer to these sea creatures.
In addition to the plentiful oceans, outdoor lovers will enjoy taking advantage of the numerous opportunities to experience nature. Activities range from hiking to the 360 degree view of the island atop Mt. Tenjo, walking along cliffs and jumping off them at the Akazaki Shiokaze Wooden Trail, or soaking sore muscles while watching the sun set from the outdoor baths at the Kozushima Hot Spring Center.
There are limited ways to reach the island, but that is what makes this place such a retreat. For those that are budget conscious, hop on the regular ferry for a 8-12 hour cruise to the island for about ¥6000. Those who are more pressed for time might do better with the jet ferry which takes between 2-4 hours. Once on the island, transportation is limited, but most attractions are within walking distance from each other, adding to the laid back feel.
Looking to getaway from the busy streets of Tokyo? Head to the Izu Islands! Its easy to see why the gods liked to gather here.