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Dreamy Niijima, An Island Paradise Near Tokyo


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Vanny Sink



Welcome to Niijima, a hidden gem of an island paradise located just a short ferry ride away from the bustling city of Tokyo. Known for its pristine beaches, lush greenery, and tranquil atmosphere, Niijima offers a perfect escape for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. With its stunning natural beauty, diverse wildlife, delicious local cuisine, and unique cultural heritage, Niijima has something for everyone.


Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, Niijima is part of the Izu Islands chain and is renowned for its unspoiled landscapes and crystal-clear waters. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the island’s hiking trails, indulge in delicious seafood, or immerse yourself in local traditions and festivities, Niijima promises an unforgettable experience.


One of the biggest draws of Niijima is its accessibility. With regular ferry services from Tokyo’s Takeshiba Terminal, getting to this island paradise is a breeze. In just a couple of hours, you can leave behind the city’s hectic pace and find yourself in a serene and idyllic setting.


Whether you’re seeking an intimate getaway with your loved one, a family-friendly vacation, or a solo adventure, Niijima offers a range of activities and experiences to suit all interests. From basking in the sun on pristine sandy beaches to exploring the island’s hiking trails, there’s no shortage of adventures to embark on.


In this comprehensive guide, we will take you on a journey through the enchanting world of Niijima. We’ll showcase the island’s natural beauty, highlight its top attractions, delve into its delectable cuisine, discuss its cultural and historical sites, and provide you with valuable tips to make the most of your trip. So pack your bags, and get ready to explore the dreamy island of Niijima!


Location and Access

Niijima is located approximately 163 kilometers south of Tokyo in the Philippine Sea. It is part of the Izu Islands chain, which is famous for its volcanic landscapes and natural beauty. To reach Niijima, you can take a ferry from Tokyo’s Takeshiba Terminal to the island. The journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on the ferry speed and weather conditions.


Takeshiba Terminal is conveniently located in Tokyo, making it easily accessible by public transportation. You can take the Yurikamome Line to Takeshiba Station, just a short walk away from the terminal. The ferry services to Niijima are operated by Tokyo Prefecture and run several times a day, with more frequent services during the summer months.


It’s important to note that ferry schedules may vary depending on the season, so it’s recommended to check the timetable in advance and plan your trip accordingly. It’s also advisable to book your ferry tickets in advance, especially during peak travel periods, to secure your seat on the desired departure.


Once you arrive on Niijima, you’ll find that the island is relatively small and easy to navigate. There are rental car services available for those who prefer to explore the island at their own pace. However, many of the attractions on Niijima can be reached on foot or by bicycle, which is a popular mode of transportation among visitors.


For those who are short on time or prefer a more convenient option, there are also domestic flights available from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Niijima Airport. The flight takes approximately 40 minutes, offering breathtaking aerial views of the surrounding islands and ocean. However, keep in mind that flight schedules may be more limited compared to ferry services, so it’s recommended to check for availability and book in advance.


Overall, Niijima’s location and accessibility make it a perfect destination for a day trip from Tokyo or a longer getaway. Whether you choose to take the ferry or opt for a scenic flight, the journey to Niijima is part of the adventure, offering glimpses of the natural beauty that awaits you on this enchanting island.


Natural Beauty

Niijima is a haven of natural beauty, with its picturesque landscapes and diverse ecosystems. The island is blessed with stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, lush greenery, and unique geological formations. Whether you’re a nature lover, photographer, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Niijima’s natural beauty will leave you in awe.


One of the highlights of Niijima is its pristine beaches. From the popular Habushiura Beach to the secluded Mizugame Beach, you’ll find a variety of sandy shores to suit your preference. The turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean offer the perfect backdrop for swimming, snorkeling, and even surfing during certain seasons. If you’re lucky, you may even spot dolphins or sea turtles frolicking in the waves.


Exploring the underwater world around Niijima is a must for diving enthusiasts. The island is surrounded by vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Take a dive and discover colorful tropical fish, graceful manta rays, and curious octopuses. The clear visibility and calm currents make Niijima an ideal destination for both experienced divers and beginners.


Inland, Niijima is adorned with lush forests, rolling hills, and volcanic formations. The island is home to Mt. Oyama, a dormant volcano that offers breathtaking panoramic views from its summit. Hiking enthusiasts can embark on the Oyama Nature Trail, a well-maintained path that winds through the forest, leading to the crater at the top. Along the way, you’ll be greeted by the sweet scent of cedar trees and the songs of native birds.


Another natural wonder to explore on Niijima is the Nagame-no-oka viewpoint. This elevated vantage point offers sweeping views of the coastline, where you can witness the dramatic clash of waves against the rugged cliffs. The viewpoint is especially picturesque during sunrise and sunset, when the sky is ablaze with vibrant colors.


For those seeking a more tranquil experience, Niijima also boasts several onsen (hot springs) where you can soak in the rejuvenating mineral-rich waters. Imagine soaking in a natural outdoor hot spring, surrounded by lush greenery and listening to the sounds of nature—pure bliss.


When visiting Niijima, take the time to appreciate the island’s natural beauty. Whether you’re lounging on the beach, hiking through the forests, or marveling at the volcanic landscapes, Niijima’s untouched allure will leave a lasting impression.


Beaches and Water Activities

Niijima is renowned for its stunning beaches and offers a wide range of water activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sandy shores, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, or engage in thrilling water sports, Niijima has it all.


Habushiura Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. With its powdery white sand and calm turquoise waters, it’s an ideal spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is also equipped with facilities such as showers, toilets, and beachside cafes, making it convenient for a day of leisure.


If you’re a fan of surfing, head to Shikinejima Beach. This beach is known for its consistent waves and is a favorite spot among local surfers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, Shikinejima Beach offers the perfect conditions for catching some waves.


Niijima is also a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Head to Nagahama Beach, where you’ll find vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Dive beneath the surface and discover a world of colorful fish, fascinating sea creatures, and enchanting underwater landscapes.


If you prefer a more laid-back water activity, try kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the serene coastline at your own pace. Glide over the calm waters, bask in the glorious sunshine, and take in the breathtaking views of the island.


For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Niijima offers opportunities for fishing and deep-sea fishing. Join a fishing tour and try your hand at catching some of the native fish species found in the waters surrounding the island. It’s a thrilling experience that allows you to connect with nature while enjoying the excitement of reeling in your own catch.


If you’re visiting Niijima during the summer months, don’t miss the chance to witness the magical phenomenon of bioluminescent plankton. At certain times, the waters around the island glow with a blue-green light due to the presence of these tiny organisms. It’s a surreal and captivating sight that truly showcases the wonders of nature.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Niijima’s beaches and water activities offer something for everyone. Dive into the pristine waters, soak up the sun on the sandy shores, or try your hand at exciting water sports—the choice is yours on this picturesque island.


Hiking and Nature Trails

Niijima is not only renowned for its beautiful beaches, but also for its stunning hiking trails and abundance of natural beauty. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking to enjoy a leisurely walk in nature, Niijima offers a range of scenic trails that will captivate your senses.


One of the must-visit hiking destinations on Niijima is Mount Oyama. Standing at 432 meters high, it offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding ocean. The hike to the summit of Mount Oyama is a moderate challenge, with well-marked paths and resting spots along the way. As you ascend, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, dotted with vibrant wildflowers during the spring and summer seasons.


Another popular hiking trail on Niijima is the Nagame-no-oka Nature Trail. This scenic trail leads you through enchanting forests, where you’ll encounter ancient cedar trees, moss-covered rocks, and babbling streams. The trail culminates at Nagame-no-oka, a viewpoint that offers breathtaking vistas of the coastline. It’s the perfect spot to pause, catch your breath, and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the island.


If you prefer a shorter hike, the Tsutsuroi-no-Mori trail is an excellent choice. This circular path takes you through a dense forest, where you’ll be surrounded by the gentle rustling of leaves and the songs of birds. Along the way, you’ll discover hidden spots, such as a serene pond and a charming wooden bridge, adding to the overall enchantment of the hike.


As you venture along these hiking trails, keep an eye out for the island’s unique flora and fauna. Niijima is home to a variety of plant species, including rare orchids and colorful wildflowers. You may also come across fascinating creatures like the Japanese bush warbler and the vibrant blue-eared kingfisher, adding to the charm of the hiking experience.


It’s important to note that caution should be exercised when hiking in Niijima, especially during hot summer months. Remember to dress appropriately, wear sunscreen, carry sufficient water and snacks, and inform someone of your hiking plans. It’s also advisable to check weather conditions and trail conditions before setting off.


Whether you’re an avid hiker or someone who simply enjoys being surrounded by nature, Niijima’s hiking trails are a delight to explore. From panoramic views to peaceful forests, the island’s natural beauty will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.


Local Cuisine and Dining

When it comes to dining on Niijima, you’re in for a treat. The island showcases a vibrant culinary scene, offering a variety of delicious local dishes that highlight its abundant seafood and fresh produce. From traditional Japanese cuisine to international flavors, there’s something to satisfy every palate.


Seafood is the star of the dining experience on Niijima. With its close proximity to the ocean, the island boasts an array of mouthwatering options. Indulge in the freshest sashimi, where you can taste the flavors of locally caught fish such as yellowtail, tuna, and squid. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the local specialty of sea urchin (uni). The delicate and creamy texture of the uni, paired with its unique flavor, will leave a lasting impression.


Niijima is also known for its delicious grilled fish, prepared with simplicity and precision. Whether it’s freshly caught mackerel or saba, or a succulent piece of grilled eel, these dishes showcase the natural flavors of the seafood. Combined with a squeeze of lemon and a side of steamed rice, you’ll savor every bite.


When it comes to traditional Japanese cuisine, Niijima offers an authentic experience. You can sample dishes like tempura, where seafood and vegetables are lightly battered and fried to crispy perfection. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the island’s take on tempura, using local ingredients for an added touch of freshness.


For those seeking international flavors, Niijima has a few surprises in store. From Italian restaurants to Western-style cafes, you’ll find a range of options to cater to different tastes. Savor a wood-fired pizza topped with local ingredients, or enjoy a hearty burger made with Niijima beef.


When dining on Niijima, it’s impossible to overlook the importance of the island’s agriculture. With fertile soil and a mild climate, Niijima produces an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. From tomatoes and cucumbers to melons and strawberries, the island’s produce is served in many dishes and adds a burst of flavor and vibrancy.


Don’t forget to pair your meals with a refreshing beverage. Niijima is known for its craft beer breweries, where you can sample a variety of locally brewed beers. Alternatively, sip on a glass of Izu wine, made from grapes grown in the nearby Izu peninsula.


Whether you’re a seafood lover, a fan of traditional Japanese cuisine, or an adventurous foodie, Niijima’s local cuisine and dining scene is sure to leave you satisfied. Indulge in the island’s flavors and savor the unique culinary experience that Niijima offers.


Accommodation Options

When it comes to accommodation on Niijima, you’ll find a range of options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious beachfront resort, a cozy guesthouse, or a traditional Japanese inn, the island has something to offer for every type of traveler.


For those seeking a luxury stay, there are several upscale resorts and hotels scattered across the island. These accommodations offer stunning ocean views, spacious rooms, and a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable and relaxing stay. Many of these resorts also provide direct access to the beach, allowing you to effortlessly enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.


If you’re looking for a more intimate and personal experience, consider staying at a guesthouse or a bed and breakfast. These charming accommodations offer a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, often run by friendly local hosts who can provide insider tips and recommendations. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and create lasting memories.


For those interested in experiencing traditional Japanese hospitality, there are ryokans (Japanese inns) on Niijima that offer a unique stay. These ryokans feature traditional tatami-matted rooms, futon bedding, and communal baths. You can indulge in a Japanese-style breakfast and dinner, consisting of fresh local ingredients prepared with meticulous care.


If you’re traveling on a budget, there are also affordable options such as guesthouses, hostels, and campgrounds. These accommodations provide a comfortable and budget-friendly stay, allowing you to save on accommodation costs and allocate your budget to other experiences on the island.


Regardless of the type of accommodation you choose, you can expect warm hospitality and a friendly atmosphere on Niijima. The island’s relaxed and welcoming nature extends to its accommodations, ensuring a pleasant and memorable stay.


It’s important to note that due to the island’s popularity, especially during peak travel periods, it’s recommended to book your accommodation well in advance to secure your desired dates and preferred type of lodging. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Niijima’s accommodation options will ensure you have a comfortable and enjoyable stay on the island.


Cultural and Historical Sites

Niijima is not only a destination for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts but also a place rich in cultural and historical significance. The island is home to a number of interesting sites that provide a glimpse into its unique heritage and offer opportunities for cultural exploration.


One of the must-visit cultural sites on Niijima is the Niijima Historical Museum. Located near the ferry terminal, the museum showcases the island’s history and culture through a collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits. Learn about the island’s volcanic origins, its connection to ancient trade routes, and the lives of its local residents throughout the centuries.


Another notable cultural site on Niijima is the Hachiman Shrine. As one of the oldest shrines on the island, it holds great significance in the local community. Take a stroll through the shrine grounds, surrounded by tall cedar trees and serene atmosphere. Observe the intricate architectural details and join in the traditional ceremonies and festivals that take place here.


Niijima also has its fair share of art and craft galleries, where you can appreciate the talents of local artisans. Visit the Fukugen Gallery, known for its unique ceramics inspired by the island’s natural beauty. Browse through galleries featuring works of local painters, photographers, and sculptors, capturing the essence of Niijima through their artistic expressions.


To experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, head to the Tokai-en tea house. Participate in the ancient rituals of preparing and enjoying matcha tea while sitting in a serene and tranquil setting. It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and gain insight into the art of tea.


As you explore the island, you’ll also come across various historical landmarks and remnants. The Shimazaki Toson Monument pays homage to the famous Japanese novelist who lived on Niijima for a brief period. His works reflect the island’s natural beauty and the lives of its inhabitants.


Take a leisurely stroll through Niijima’s towns and villages, and you’ll discover charming traditional houses, wooden bridges, and well-preserved historic buildings. These architectural gems provide a glimpse into the island’s past and showcase the unique blend of traditional and modern influences that shape Niijima’s identity.


Immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Niijima by visiting its significant sites, engaging in traditional activities, and appreciating the art and craft of its talented residents. It’s an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the island’s rich cultural tapestry.


Shopping and Souvenirs

When it comes to shopping and finding unique souvenirs, Niijima offers plenty of options to satisfy your retail therapy cravings. From local crafts and artworks to culinary delights and traditional handicrafts, there’s something for everyone to bring back a piece of the island’s charm.


One of the best places to explore for shopping is Niijima’s local markets. The Niijima Tuesday Market, held weekly, is a lively hub where you can find fresh local produce, handmade goods, and a variety of snacks and treats. It’s a perfect opportunity to interact with locals and get a taste of authentic island life.


If you’re looking to embrace the island’s artistic side, don’t miss the various art galleries and craft shops scattered across Niijima. These establishments offer a wide range of artworks, ceramics, jewelry, and other unique creations made by talented local artisans. You can find handmade pottery inspired by the island’s natural beauty or delicate glasswork reflecting the colors of the sea.


For food enthusiasts, Niijima has a wealth of culinary souvenirs to sample and take home. Look out for locally produced goods like soy sauce, miso, and dried fish, made by traditional methods that have been passed down through generations. You can also find delicious snacks such as dried squid, sesame oil, and a variety of seaweed-based products.


One of the island’s most popular souvenirs is the Niijima T-shirt. Designed with the island’s iconic logo and vibrant colors, these shirts are a stylish way to show your love for Niijima. They make for a perfect wearable memento of your island adventure.


Those interested in fashion can explore boutique shops that offer unique clothing items, accessories, and beachwear. You’ll find a blend of casual and bohemian styles that reflect the island’s relaxed atmosphere and beach culture.


When it comes to shopping in Niijima, it’s not just about the items themselves, but also about the connection to the island’s local community. Many of the shops are run by the residents themselves, and they take pride in sharing their crafts, stories, and traditions with visitors. Take the time to engage in conversations, ask questions, and learn about the significance of the items you’re purchasing.


Bringing home a piece of Niijima through unique souvenirs is a wonderful way to cherish your memories and share the island’s charm with others. Whether it’s a handmade craft, a local delicacy, or a stylish item of clothing, these souvenirs will always remind you of the beauty and warmth of Niijima.


Festivals and Events

Niijima is not only a destination of natural beauty and tranquility but also a place that comes alive with vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. These celebrations offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the island’s culture, witness traditional performances, and experience the lively spirit of the local community.


One of the most highly anticipated events on Niijima is the Niijima Festival. Held annually in early August, the festival showcases a vibrant display of dance, drumming, and traditional performances. Join the locals as they parade through the streets in colorful costumes and traditional attire, carrying portable shrines and celebrating with music and dance.


Another significant event is the Tsunari Kamakura Festival, which takes place in January. During this festival, large snow huts called kamakura are built on Tsunari Beach. Visitors can enter these huts, warm themselves by the fire, and enjoy traditional food and drinks. Fireworks, performances, and traditional dances add to the festive atmosphere.


For art enthusiasts, the Niijima International Glass Art Festival is a must-visit event. Held biennially, this festival brings together renowned glass artists from around the world to showcase their stunning creations. Marvel at the intricate glass sculptures and installations, attend workshops and demonstrations, and even purchase unique glass pieces to bring home as a lasting memento.


If you’re visiting Niijima during the summer months, be sure to catch the Niijima Summer Music Festival. This multi-day event features live performances by local musicians, bands, and DJs. Enjoy live music on the beach, dance under the starry sky, and soak up the lively atmosphere as the island comes alive with music, laughter, and celebration.


Throughout the year, Niijima also hosts various sporting events and competitions. From surfing competitions to beach volleyball tournaments, these events attract athletes and spectators from near and far. Whether you’re participating or simply cheering on the participants, these events offer a thrilling and energetic experience.


It’s worth noting that the festival dates may vary from year to year, so it’s recommended to check the latest schedule and plan your visit accordingly. Embracing the festivals and events on Niijima is a fantastic way to engage with the local community, learn about their traditions, and create unforgettable memories.


Relaxation and Wellness

Niijima is not only a place of natural beauty and cultural vibrancy, but also an oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation. For those seeking a tranquil getaway and a chance to unwind, the island offers a host of opportunities for relaxation and wellness.


One of the best ways to relax on Niijima is to indulge in the island’s natural hot springs, known as onsen. Immerse yourself in the therapeutic mineral-rich waters and let the soothing heat melt away your stress and tension. Many accommodations and public facilities on the island offer onsen baths, allowing you to enjoy this traditional Japanese wellness experience.


Niijima is also a paradise for those seeking a serene beach experience. The island boasts pristine sandy shores, where you can stretch out under the sun, read a book, or simply listen to the sound of the waves lapping against the shore. The peaceful and unspoiled beaches provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and meditation.


Yoga and meditation enthusiasts will find a sense of peace on Niijima. Join a yoga retreat or find a quiet spot on the beach to practice your own mindfulness techniques. The island’s natural beauty and serene atmosphere make it an ideal setting for connecting with your inner self and finding inner peace.


To enhance your relaxation and well-being, consider booking a spa treatment or a massage session. Many accommodations on Niijima offer these services, providing a variety of treatments to soothe your body and invigorate your senses. From aromatherapy massages to facial treatments, indulge in a rejuvenating experience that will leave you feeling refreshed.


For a unique wellness experience, you can also try forest bathing, known as shinrin-yoku. Niijima’s lush forests provide the ideal setting for this practice, where you can absorb the healing energies of nature and connect with the natural environment. Take a leisurely walk through the forest, breathe in the fresh air, and let the serene atmosphere wash away your worries.


As you explore the island, don’t forget to take moments to pause and appreciate the simple pleasures. Watch the sunset over the ocean, listen to the rustling of leaves in the forest, or simply sit by the beach and watch the waves roll in. Niijima offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere that allows you to rejuvenate and find solace in the beauty of the present moment.


Whether you’re seeking peaceful beach moments, restorative spa treatments, or a serene forest retreat, Niijima provides the perfect environment for relaxation and wellness. Take the time to embrace the island’s tranquility and indulge in self-care as you rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.



Niijima is a true hidden gem, offering a magnificent blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and serene tranquility. This island paradise near Tokyo is a haven for beach lovers, nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and those seeking a break from the fast-paced city life.


With its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery, Niijima captivates visitors with its pristine natural landscapes. Whether you’re relaxing on the sandy shores, exploring its hiking trails, or immersing yourself in the underwater world while snorkeling or diving, the island’s natural beauty is bound to leave you in awe.


Niijima is not only about its breathtaking scenery, but also its vibrant culture and history. Explore local museums, visit historic sites, and partake in traditional ceremonies to gain a deeper understanding of the island’s rich heritage. Engage with local artisans, enjoy the flavors of the local cuisine, and participate in the lively festivals and events that showcase the island’s vibrant spirit.


The island offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs, from luxurious beachfront resorts to cozy guesthouses and traditional inns. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a blend of both, Niijima has something for everyone.


As you explore Niijima, take the time to immerse yourself in moments of relaxation and wellness. Experience the therapeutic benefits of onsen, practice yoga on the beach, or indulge in spa treatments to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. Let the island’s serene atmosphere and natural beauty guide you towards a state of tranquility and inner harmony.


In conclusion, Niijima offers a unique and unforgettable adventure that brings together the best of nature, culture, and relaxation. Whether it’s lounging on the beach, exploring the island’s hiking trails, savoring the local cuisine, or immersing yourself in the vibrant festivals, Niijima promises a remarkable experience that will leave you with cherished memories and a desire to return again and again.