One City, Two Worlds: A Virtual Journey to the Islands of Tokyo

Take a Trip Through Tokyo’s Islands of Enchantment

Serena Ogawa   - 9 min read

Not much could be better than experiencing the beautiful beaches and sapphire-blue waters off the coast of Japan. When you imagine such a scene, Okinawa may come to mind. However, you may be surprised to learn that Tokyo is home to some of the most beautiful islands that Japan has to offer. The mega-metropolis has more to offer than skyscrapers and Michelin-star restaurants. Take a short boat ride off the coast of Tokyo to explore 11 fantastic islands and discover a whole new side of the city’s luxury.

It’s time to embark on a virtual adventure to see some of the wondrous sights that are only available on Tokyo’s islands. During this virtual event, you'll gain a deeper understanding of Kozushima and Oshima as well as explore unique vistas and locations that can only be seen here. Meet locals and listen to their tales of island life and history. Discover the water and land activities that will entice you to visit as soon as you can in person. Let our experienced team guide you through these island wonders.


Whether you like smooth beaches or craggy shorelines, Kozushima is the perfect place to get away from city life. This small island, about 3.5 hours from Tokyo, holds charms aplenty. Visit the boardwalk over the jagged rocks of Akasaki and take a plunge into the waters below or relax on the pure-white sands of Maehama Beach. The island itself is dominated by a centrally located volcano, which only adds to the contrast between the mountains, sea, and sky.


Oshima is a volcanic island that is blanketed by vibrant red camellia flowers come early spring; with an annual camellia festival held every January to March, they aren’t to be missed. Oshima is easy and quick to get to, making it the perfect paradise retreat. While on your Oshima Island escape, be sure to taste test some of the locally made camellia jam.

A Virtual Island Tour

Travel off the coast of Tokyo from the comfort of your home. Discover the secrets of Kozushima and Oshima, two of Tokyo’s islands.

Follow Along: Tokyo Island Highlights

Kozushima and Oshima both have a plethora of fabulous sights to see. Follow along with the virtual tour, or visit the spots that interest you most.

Kozushima Island / Akasaki Promenade

Located in the northern part of Kozushima, this network of eco-friendly wooden walking paths over the rocky outcroppings of craggy stone is one of the most famous and impressive Kozushima attractions. Thanks to scattered diving boards, it's the perfect place for ocean-lovers to dive into the waters and experience nearby coral reefs. The aura of the ocean combined with the rough terrain makes for a beautiful juxtaposition of natural elements. A bonus for any inked visitors, Akasaki Promenade is completely tattoo-friendly.

Island Water Activities

Swimming and surfing only skim the surface of the water activities available on Kozushima. Give yourself over to the waves for some jet skiing and snorkeling, along with many others. Dotted around the islands, you'll find dive shops with rentable equipment ready to take you under or over the waves. Experience fish, turtles, coral reefs while diving and snorkeling, or reserve a boat ride.

Oshima Island Introduction

Oshima is the largest of the eleven Tokyo islands and home to superb flora and geographical features. With a rich history and richer seas, you’ll fall in love with island life. Explore the caldera of the central volcano with a hike and let your inner photographer take over. It's a great walk for casual hikers and even children or the elderly can do it. While also being the largest island, Oshima is also the most populated so you'll find all kinds of shops and restaurants to experience.

Oshima's Anko-san

Anko-san were a type of popular girl’s style in the past on the island. Oshima keeps the tradition alive with these lovely ladies by wearing their unique style of kimono and tenugui headwear, worn for promotion purposes.

Oshima Foods and Local Products

Camellia flowers are at the center of much of Oshima's life and culture. It should come as no surprise that these gorgeous flowers can also be enjoyed in an assortment of foods like jam and are also used for their fragrance in natural oils and other skincare products. While camellia flowers are the main star of the show, Oshima also has some other great products, like gyunyu senbei and bekko-zushi. Gyunyu senbei (Oshima milk cookies) are made with Oshima-produced milk and have a mild taste to them. On the opposite end of the taste palette is bekko-zushi, a spicy-and-sweet sushi made with white fish or tuna marinated in chili-infused soy sauce.

Island Festivals and Dance

The Camellia Festival and O-bon dance are some of the most festive times on Oshima. Experience and enjoy this immersion into island life and a first-hand dip into the culture. In early spring too, you can experience the joy and love that Oshima people have for their culture via the Oshima Tsubaki Festival.

Island Hot Springs and Hama-no-Yu

Scenic views of Mount Fuji on the mainland as the golden sun sinks over the horizon, all while you’re submerged in the healing waters of Hama-no-Yu hot spring. What could be better? Whether you like to go with friends or solo, a soak in outdoor hot springs, called rotemburo, is a great way to relax after a day of island activities. Hama-no-Yu is one of the most famous rotemburo on Oshima.

Monoimina-no-Mikoto Shrine on Kozushima

Monoimina-no-Mikoto Shrine dates back to the 9th century when beliefs centered around fishing and the ocean. This sacred spot of the island is also reflected today as offerings of fish are still made at the shrine.

Kozushima Maehama Beach / Kozushima Foods

Maehama Beach is the place to beat the heat on Kozushima; especially with island-grown passion fruit in hand. Slurp up the juice from a fresh passion fruit or try other passionfruit products like homemade jam, cakes, and cookies. Another popular treat is the locally made craft beer and shochu, brewed at Hyuga Brewery. Their products use local flavors to spice up the flavor, like ashitaba (a medicinal plant) or passionfruit.

Island Music / Taiko Drums

Taiko drumming is a big part of Kozushima history and the island’s festivities. Pre-corona, the Kozushima Taiko Team would play several times every year. Recently, taiko is becoming an important part of island culture and even schoolchildren are working to preserve the unique taiko music of Kozushima.

Today’s Locations

If you’re craving a taste of that sweet island life, Kozushima and Oshima await with open arms.

Travel to Kozushima by high-speed jetfoil in under 4 hours; on a large passenger ship via overnight voyage in 12 hours; or flight from Tokyo Chofu Airport in 45 minutes.

With Oshima being even closer to Tokyo, you’ll be there in no time! Depart by high-speed jetfoil and arrive in 2 hours; large passenger ships take around 8 hours, and a flight from Tokyo Chofu Airport will take you less than 30 minutes.

Ready to Visit? Next Steps...


Are you ready to recharge yourself on these hidden islands off Tokyo’s twinkling shores? Let hand you the ticket to your next island experience.

Serena Ogawa

Serena Ogawa @serena.ogawa

Associate Editor for Japan Travel.