Published: February 6th 2009February 6th 2009
The island paradise Shikinejima is located 157 km South of Tokyo and belongs to one of the many volcanic islands stretching down from Tokyo bay. Some even have nice shaped cold volcano’s on them. Shikinejima is a long term favorite spot for spring and autumn camping outings of our hiking club. We met at the Takeshiba pier in Tokyo Friday evening and took the 10h long night ferry to the island. It is a very nice way to go there since the evening atmosphere with perfect views on the slowly vanishing Tokyo skyline is marvelous. The ferry passes rainbow bridge, stops at Yokohama and continues afterwards along Tokyo bay before heading to the open sea. We slept on the open deck and fell fast asleep with the sound of the wind and waves as well as the engine noise as background.
We reached the island next morning at around 8 am and sprinted of to secure tent spots on the campground. Luckily there were not many other people and we could occupy some of the best spots with sunrise and beach view. The island is not big and just 2-4 km in diameter, but is has a very jagged coastline with
cliffs and beaches as well some hills offering good view points and hikes. Best of all are the two hot springs Jinata and Ashitsuki only 10 minutes away from the campground. Both are natural hot springs directly at the seaside with a water temperature of around 55 C. It takes some testing until the best spot with the perfect temperature is found since the temperature varies greatly with the tide. The hot springs are wild, but nearby are toilets, changing rooms and some dimmed light built by the island community. The days passed fast with a similar pattern. Breakfast followed by a hike, mountain biking or coast walk. The evening started with common cooking of everything we could get the hand on. I was usually a mixture of all kind of ideas and what was available in the limited store selection. One evening we were lucky and got a special air dried fish for BBQ. After dinner we would walk to one of the hot springs (Onsen in Japanese) with several hour long soaking in the hot water and drinking Sake or wine. There is not much light and one can look to the ocean, hear the waves and has
above the night sky with endless stars. The evening was closed with long discussions about the island and alternatives and more outdoor trips on the bond fire at the campground.
The last day was exciting since a storm with some rain moved in and it was not clear if the ferry left Tokyo and would pick us up. This made some people who had to work the next day very nervous. In the end after long waiting and uncertainty the ferry left on schedule. While arriving in Tokyo the Shikinejima fan club discussed already the next trip to this “always come back island”.
temperature air 20-23 C, water 18 C
Ferry ticket with 35% discount coupon (Kinken shop) around 7000 Yen
Hot springs free
There are more photos below