Japan’s hidden tropical island: Aogashima


80 Responses to “Japan’s hidden tropical island: Aogashima”

  1. Stefan Jones says:

    Japan could solve its financial troubles by selling that place to any number of evil genius types.

    They could sweeten the deal by offering to carve the face of the villain in that  outcropping of white rock.

  2. NNelson says:


    There’s not one giant flying moth or even a shadow of Gojira in that pic so it MUST be a fake.

  3. Robert Beech says:

    This looks like the “home base” of Captain Nemo from the 1954 film.

  4. First saw this  on Pic of the Day thread on the Rogan board and NO ONE could believe it wasn’t shopped. Truly a stunner as far as islands go.

    • HahTse says:

       It’s good to see, that I wasn’t the only person whose first thought was “Wow, that totally looks als computer generated.”

  5. Isn’t that Kakariko Village from Ocarina of Time?

  6. Jonathan Badger says:

    While, yes, this is a cool volcanic island and not what one expects when one thinks of Japan, I have to find the line “Despite being over 200 miles away from the country’s capital, Aogashima is governed by Tokyo” amusing. Normally, being over 200 miles from a country’s capital isn’t very noteworthy, unless you are talking about Liechtenstein or something. 

    • Jonathan Badger says:

      Okay, the point was that it is part of Tokyo rather than just being governed by it?

      • teapot says:

        Yeah, the assertion is that it’s much closer to other Japanese states (prefectures) but is governed by the prefecture of Tokyo-to which, like NY, is the name of both a city and a state. Check this google map and you can see on the left it’s listed as “Aogashima Tokyo, Japan”.

        I still find the part that goes “Volcanic islands? Not typically what comes to mind when you think of Tokyo.” to be the most odd considering that Japan is a volcanic island and that you can see the country’s biggest volcano from tall buildings in Tokyo’s center.

    • kevin Halse says:

       Wow! 200 WHOLE miles? That must make Kushiro and Naha the wild untamed city-states!

  7. Kind of like Japan’s Azores, then?

  8. Wow. Evil genius territory, or the best place to hide out during the Zombie apocalypse

  9. Culturedropout says:

    Do they have high-speed internet and UPS?  Because I am _so_ moving there if they do…

  10. Daniel Orf says:

    Some more details on Aogashima with maps and pictures here:  http://www.oddgeo.com/2012/04/30/aogashima/

  11. Preston Sturges says:

    It probably had an underground base in WW2, or at least something like the bunkers atop Diamond Head in Honolulu.

  12. David Yoon says:

    I never did finish playing Myst.

  13. grimc says:

    I can’t wait for the new SimCity to come out.

    • niktemadur says:

      Beat me to it, I was gonna say that if they ever came out with SimIsland, this is very much what my island would look like.

  14. A C says:

     I think I remember seeing a pic of this place in some obscure travel book in Japan- I can’t believe that place exists. It’s the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen. Stunning. I must go there now!

    This is why I love BB- even when I thought I’d seen all Japan, something even more beautiful than Rishiri island pops up. Thanks Mark!

  15. Mordicai says:

    Fire Lord Zuko lives in STYLE.

  16. freshyill says:

    I’m willing to bet that boat and helicopter are the only way off 99.999% of all islands.

    • noah django says:

       the .001 percent is Staten Island.  you could probably swim it if you had to.

    • morcheeba says:

      Even Easter Island is accessible by space shuttle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_abort_modes#Chile

    • Beanolini says:

       I’ll take that bet. If it’s true that there are 180497 islands in the world, then you’re asserting that boat and helicopter is the only way off 180497*99.999%=180495 of them. So if there are 2 islands with a runway large enough for an aeroplane, you’d lose the bet. There are 20+ commercial airports in the Greek islands alone…

      • EvilSpirit says:

        Not to mention the islands you can reach via bridge, of which I’ve lived on 2.

      • freshyill says:

        Touché. I have to admit that I didn’t even consider airplanes. Still, the vast majority of islands are tiny specks in the ocean only accessible by boat or helicopter.

    • Wreckrob8 says:

      You can get a train to the British Isles until we flood the tunnel to stop all the Euro crisis refugees trying to get in. Haha.

  17. pjcamp says:

    I see people living inside a caldera. And I thought residents of Portland were crazy.

    This will not end well.

    • If I read the translation of their town newsletter correctly, the last eruption was in the 1700′s.   The main economy appears to be salt production and some agriculture.

      Can you imagine being a teenager on the island?  Any place you go, your parents are going to hear about it within minutes.   For younger kids, it’d be paradise.  Imagine the adventures.

      • HahTse says:

        The main economy appears to be salt production and some agriculture.

        That sound’s like a real cliché – “We are an island. Our main exports are salt and water.”

        Imagine the adventures.

        Not to speak of all the hilarious ways to DIE.

      • pjcamp says:

         True enough, but it is difficult to distinguish a dormant volcano from an extinct one. Fourpeaked mountain in Alaska had been silent since 8000 BC when it erupted in 2006. Pinatubo, in the Philippines, also seems to have dormancy periods on the order of several thousand years between eruptions.

  18. I first noticed this when I watched the film Inugami a few years ago, but there is something about rural Japan that reminds me so much of rural Kentucky (USA). 

    The lush greenery, the amazing hospitality of the natives (until you cross them), the hillsides, the highway cuts, the rundown tourist destinations.

    Simple, rich, flavorful foods. Odd traditions that you just go along with for the hell of it. the contrast between folkways and modernism. The  pragmatic balance between industrial resource exploitation and natural beauty exploitation.

    The only difference is that I’ve spent some time in rural Kentucky, and no time at all in rural Japan. But looking at that obscene greenery overwhelming the planned tourist locales in Aogashima reminded me of so many similar planned-yet-forgotten tourist spots in Boone County, KY.

  19. CH says:

    “As of this year, only about 200 people live on Aogashima. The island only has one post office and one school.”
    Only one? I would think the selling point would be that even though there is only 200 inhabitants they actually have a school and a post office.

  20. As I recall, the only way to get to this island was via Golden Chocobo…

  21. Ronaldo says:

    James Bond  could save a lot of time if he started every movie looking for the bad guy on that island.

  22. petrotexghse says:

    wow amazing i like too

  23. zuben says:

    What are those parallel lines on the dome within the caldera?

    • Jose says:

      Those are areas where swaths of trees have been cut down.  Based on aerial imagery, it looks like they are working their way around the Maruyama dome in a clockwise fashion. The older cuts on the north side of the dome appear to have filled in to some extent, while the newer cuts are on the southeastern side of the dome.  Maybe it’s a sustainable forestry strategy.

      • zuben says:

        I wonder how that wouldn’t lead to rapid erosion and deadly mudslides. Maybe they’ve got advanced tech to keep the soil intact?

        It’s also interesting that the inner valley hasn’t been clear-cut for crops, husbandry, habitation, etc. Reminds me a bit of the Eden Initiative in Anno 2070.

  24. Patrick says:

     Wow this is like an islet to me! I’d never want to live there, low access to other cities.

  25. bbonyx says:

    The most exclusive club in the world:

    Unce unce unce unce….

    • niktemadur says:

      Holy cow, a disco ball!
      Those not shaking their booties, sit on the edge of the dancefloor, seiza-style.

  26. Matt Staggs says:

    Not sure if anyone here grew up playing D&D, but this is almost identical to the island in the Expert Set module “The Isle of Dread”.

    • zuben says:

      Aye. I had that module and still remember the flooded corridors of the submerged inhabitants of the island. I seem to remember a rather beautiful elf raising a sail on the cover as well!

  27. benher says:

    If we’re discussing cool/lesser known Japanese islands, may I invite curiosity seekers to throw Minamitorishima into your morning google mix?

  28. jandrese says:

    Looking at the Island I was curious how in the world you even got there by boat.  The steep rock cliffs surrounding the island don’t look inviting at all to a boat, and I can’t imagine that they would want to haul everything in or out of the island all the way up the side of the caldera and back down. 

    According to Google Maps they have a tunnel from the center of the island out to a small pier on the coast.   That must have been an expensive tunnel for 200 people.  I wonder if it also does double duty as flood relief during the rainy season?

    Most of the buildings on the island look to be barns, so I’m guessing the culture is very very rural there. 

  29. efergus3 says:

    I wonder what sorts of dinosaurs are found on the island?

  30. desiredusername says:

    Is it me or is there a road that just drops you off of a cliff?

  31. Jeremy Gaynor says:

    chocobo. golden chocobo.

  32. TheMadLibrarian says:

    This island can be seen on GoogleEarth.  At least a couple of the photos show what looks like volcanic gasses or steam; the volcano may not be completely dormant.  The road looks like the path that goes over the pali (cliffs) on Molokai, down to Kalaupapa Peninsula.  Some of the path is concealed by rocks and greenery and is invisible from most vantage points.

  33. toyg says:

    This is clearly where they keep their giant robots, to be launched when the alien invasion comes.  Proof: http://www.flickr.com/photos/izuyan/5668663141/in/set-72157626606763266

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