Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not Quite Iwo Jima



Ahh... Tanegashima and Yakushima included, there are so many islands to explore here.

This weekend (assuming I can find an open minshuku), I'll be taking the first ferry on Saturday over to Ioujima (硫黄島), a small island in the Mishima chain just south of Kaimondake off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture.

Both Ioujima and the famous WWII island Iwo Jima have the same kanji name, 硫黄島, "sulfur island", though if you've been following the news, you'd have noticed that Iwo Jima's pronunciation (though not the kanji characters) was recently changed back to its original, Iōtō.

Useful website for this island group

Unlike its charred counterpart, Ioujima remains on the active ferry route and is ripe for tourists. However, this island, and so many others like it in the Mishima and Tokara Islands, are so small that ferries are pretty infrequent: once or twice a week, and not always convenient departures for staying one or two days. As such, I'll have about 22 hours on Ioujima before the same ferry turns around and comes back to pick me up. If I end up stranded for the week, しょうがない.

Diving opportunites, two outdoor onsen fueled by a very prominent volcano, and so little space as to just relax and write. Maybe I'll discover a new favorite place to watch the sunrise.

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