World Heritage Ogasawara IslandsJapan now has sixteen World Heritage sites. Ogasawara Islands and Hiraizumi: the new World Heritage sites are born!2011.07.

In June 2011, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has inscribed Ogasawara Islands (Ogasawara-mura, Tokyo) and Hiraizumi (Hiraizumi-cho, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate Prefecture) on the World Heritage List as a Natural Heritage site and a Cultural Heritage site respectively. Following the inscriptions of Shiretoko (Hokkaido) in 2005 and Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape (Oda City, Shimane Prefecture) in 2007, it increased the number of the World Heritage sites in Japan to sixteen. This time, we will introduce Ogasawara Islands, a World Heritage site in the Pacific Ocean. How about going to the paradise in the ocean created by the great subtropical nature to watch whales and a sky full of stars?

The secluded region of Japan: Ogasawara Islands

Ogasawara-maru
There are places on the earth that are completely out of touch with our world such as the mountain ranges of Himalayas, Galapagos Islands and the isolated islands of Tahiti. People are attracted to such places. It is because one of the real pleasures of travel is to be away from the everyday life. Ogasawara Islands, which consist of about 30 uninhabited islands of various sizes centered on inhabited islands of Chichijima and Hahajima, can be one of those places. How to get there? The Ogasawara Islands is lying in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers south of the Japanese archipelago. The only way to get there is by ship as there is no airport. It really is secluded. It takes about 25 hours and a half to get to Futami Port of Chichijima Island by the ferry “Ogasawara-maru” from Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo. The ocean ferry Ogasawara-maru with gross tonnage of 6,700 tons has hotel-like cabins, a deck-snack bar where you can enjoy tea while viewing the Pacific Ocean, and a restaurant featuring dishes made with specialty products of Ogasawara. You can enjoy a comfortable voyage.
 

Galapagos of the Orient

To have been inscribed on the World Heritage List means to have been recognized as a property of great importance on the Earth. Ogasawara Islands are referred to as the Galapagos of the Orient. There are dolphins and whales as well as the fauna such as the globally valuable Laysan Albatross and the Bonin Flying Fox and the rare flora endemic to the Islands such as the Munin-nobotan (Melastoma tetramerum) and Munin-tsusuji (Rhododendron boninense).
At the time of selection, the World Heritage Committee has praised that the fauna and flora rare in the world have been through a unique evolutionary process and that the organisms have genetic diversity because of being in a different habitat even if the origin is the same. The “oceanic islands” secluded from the continents are the “evolutionary experiment field” in which organisms arrived in primeval time, passed the genes on to next generations while having diversified into different species
 

Experience the Ogasawara Island World Heritage site to the full

The dazzling clear blue ocean, the forests filled with sparks of life and the sky so thick with stars that you feel like being pulled in – Ogasawara is a part of the universe and the place nestled in the great nature where you can feel the beat of the earth. Have a memorable time forgetting about the everyday life and indulging yourself in the pace of the islands. There are guided tours offering nature experiences special to Ogasawara that everyone can enjoy.
 
First of all, go to the ocean. You can take a boat for whale watching, excursions or swimming with dolphins from Futami Port of Chichijima. The diving expert, the sperm whale can go down about 1000 meters below the surface and broaches like a submarine. The humpback whale is about 13 meters long and weighs approximately 40 tons. The scene in which the bulk repeats jumping vigorously is breathtaking. The “songs” of humpback whales can be heard through the underwater microphone.
 
You can also go into the sea and swim with wild dolphins when they are spotted. You will be able to feel the heart of dolphins and experience the sensation of being gently healed. Take an excursion boat to view the beautiful sunset or to go around uninhibited islands for the pristine nature. Scuba diving and sea kayaking that even beginners can try are also recommended activities. Diving and swimming with dogtooth tunas, greater amberjacks, manta rays and colorful tropical fishes in the crystal clear sea of Ogasawara that attracts worldwide attention will surely be a memory you can never forget. The guided ecotour in forests and hills is just right for watching creatures in the World Heritage site. Ogasawara Islands are oceanic islands that have never been connected to a continent since their formation. The fauna and flora, which had been carried to the islands by the current, the wind or birds and settled in the Islands, went through a unique process of evolution. Observe the fauna and flora found nowhere but in Ogasawara while walking in the forests with your guide. The last thing to recommend for you to experience is star watching. At the latitude of 27 degrees north, experience a sky full of stars which seems as if the stars are coming down.
 

Ogasawara Islands

Ogasawara-mura Village Office
Nishi-machi, Chichijima, Ogasawara-mura, Tokyo 100-2101
Phone: 04998-2-3111

Ogasawara Village Tourist Association
Higashi-machi, Chichijima, Ogasawara-mura, Tokyo 100-2101
Phone: 04998-2-2587


 

Access
25.5 hours from Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal (Tokyo) to Chichijima Island Futami port by the liner “Ogasawara-maru”

Tokyo Port Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal
1-12-2, Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo Phone: 03-3433-1251
Directions to the Terminal
Get off at JR Hamamatsucho Station, and about 7-min walk from the north exit
 

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