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Living Things of the Ogasawara Islands|The History and Attractions of Tokyo’s World Heritage Site

Ogasawara islands Tokyo

The Ogasawara Islands are a World Heritage Site located in Tokyo.

The Ogasawara Islands have never been connected to the mainland. As a result, the islands are home to endemic species of flora and fauna that can only be found in the Ogasawara Islands.

In this article you’ll learn about the history of the Ogasawara Islands, the creatures you can only see here, and how to visit and get around.


About the Ogasawara Islands

History of the Ogasawara Islands

It is said that the Ogasawara Islands were first discovered by the Japanese in 1670 during the Edo period.

It was not until 1830 that more than two dozen people from the Pacific Islands settled on the islands.

Then, in 1876, the islands became Japanese territory, and the Japanese began to settle there. For a time during the Pacific War, the people of the Ogasawara Islands are evacuated to Honshu, but they return to the islands in 1968.


Isolated islands of the Pacific

The Ogasawara Islands are made up of about 30 islands in total. Of these, only Chichijima island and Hahajima island are inhabited, the others being uninhabited.


Species found only in the Ogasawara Islands

The Ogasawara Islands are home to birds and insects that can only be seen on these islands, such as Meguro (Bonin white-eye), the Ogasawara lacewing (butterfly) and the shimakane (dragonfly).


Meguro (Bonin white-eye)


The bird in the photo above is the Meguro (Bonin white-eye) of the Ogasawara Islands, which is designated as a rare species of wild animal and plant. As the name Meguro “目黒” suggests, it has black eyes surrounding with white ring.


Islands working to prevent invasive species

The Ogasawara Islands were registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2011 in recognition of the unique biological evolutionary processes that can be seen here.

The number of mammals and reptiles is small, and there are no amphibians living in the islands, so the variety of life on the islands is limited.

The flora and fauna of the Ogasawara Islands are vulnerable to attack by non-native species, many of which are threatened with extinction, so a variety of efforts are being made every day in Ogasawara to prevent invasive species.


Activities in the Ogasawara Islands

The Ogasawara Islands offer many activities for tourists to enjoy the natural beauty of the sea and mountains of the Ogasawara Islands, including sea kayaking, snorkeling, farm experiences, and star watching. You can also explore Chichijima island by bike or rent a car.

For more information, please visit The Tourism Association link here.


Summary of Nature in the Ogasawara Islands

The Ogasawara Islands are visited by 20,000 people a year

Although the Ogasawara Islands are part of Tokyo, they are an isolated group of islands 1,000 kilometres from Honshu. As such, they are not an easy place to visit.

However, after the Ogasawara Islands were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the number of tourists has increased, and today around 20,000 people visit the islands each year.

The Ogasawara Islands are definitely worth a visit.


How to get there from Honshu

Ferry from Tokyo, which operates once a week

Construction of an airfield is currently under consideration in the Ogasawara Islands, but for now the only way to get there is by ferry.

A ferry called the Ogasawara Maru runs once a week between Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo and Chichijima, taking 24 hours each way.

To get from Chichijima to Hahajima, you can take the Hahajima Maru. The Hahajima Maru operates once a day and takes about two hours one way from Chichijima.


Access and parking at Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal

Access 8 minutes walk from Hamamatsucho Station on the JR Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Lines.
URL Official Website
Parking Paid parking is available


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