Due to the destructive nature of volcanoes, it seems quite difficult to live nearby. Despite the apparent dangers of an active volcano, the people of Aogashima finds paradise in their home-island.

Aogashima is a Japanese island found in the middle of the Philippine Sea. Although located 385 kilometers south of Japan’s capital, the island is still under the administration of Tokyo Metropolis, under the Hachijo subprefecture. Aogashima is also within the boundaries of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and the total population of locals is 170 people.

The 1785 Volcanic Eruption

The present island inhabitants are well-aware of the dangers of living on a volcanic island. Aogashima’s volcano is listed as an active one by the Japanese Meteorological Society. Aside from this, the local people of this island also remember the great eruption that resulted in the deadly disaster of 1785. The present inhabitants heard the stories of how the ground began shaking on May 19th and it was accompanied by gases, mud, and stones being expelled from the volcano. On June 4th it was decided to evacuate 324 residents but it was too late. The volcano’s eruption claimed the lives of half the population. The present inhabitants remember this history, but they try their best to not worry about the casualties of an event that happened 230 years ago. Aogashima’s citizens focus on the positive as they go on with their everyday lives.

Local Industry and Pastimes

Aogashima is an island and the primary source of livelihood is fishing. Residents and tourists use boats to go around the island and find the right fishing spots. The island’s geography consists of various terrains such as hills, cliffs, beaches and plains which are great spots for recreational activities like camping, hiking, and swimming. Some of the island’s population are office workers in Tokyo, so they commute often from the island to the urban center. However, the majority of Aogashima’s citizens are fishermen, farmers, and small business owners. Aside from the agricultural lands, the island has a shochu distillery which produces a variety of Japan’s local liquor. They also have some general stores, hotels for tourists, a salt manufacturing plant, and an automobile repair factory.

Things to do in Aogashima

Aogashima is a volcanic island, so there many hot spring resorts that tourists can visit. Guests are even encouraged to cook their food, such as eggs, over the natural vents. Even though the island is very close to Tokyo, tourists can head over to Aogashima for a calming and peaceful rural setting. There are a lot of paths for daytime walks while going around the town admiring the natural environment as well as meeting the locals and trying out the delicacies served in the restaurants. There is the Oyama Observation Park located at one of the highest points of Aogashima Island. From this vantage point, visitors can have a 360-degree view of the entire island. From the observation park, Mt. Maruyama can be viewed at the center of the volcano’s caldera.