Camping on the Izu Islands
Off the coast of Tokyo lies a dozen or so small islands only inhabited mostly by wildlife. The Izu Islands have everything a nature lover can ask for, sandy beaches with tropical fish filled water, winding hiking trails up mountains, natural hot springs aplenty. While there is a variety of lodging to be found, camping is the cheapest and best way to discover the islands’ natural beauty.
Kozushima has two free campgrounds, Sawajiri and Nagahama. The Sawajiri campground is located next to Sawajiri Bay, a bay popular for swimming and snorkeling. Since the strong currents are blocked by the bay’s reef, it is safe for swimmers to casually spend the day in the water, swimming or exploring wildlife. Unlike Nagahama, Sawajiri is fairly rocky, which makes for abundant wildlife. Sawajiri is highly recommended for snorkeling. Visitors can set up camp directly on the sand, waking up to the sound of breaking waves. The campsite is fairly minimal, with basic necessities such as showers and cooking areas, but makes up for it by the close proximity to the ocean. There is also a natural hot spring found near the bay.
Much like Sawajiriwan, Nagahama is a fairly minimal campsite, with the basic necessities, far from town. However, campers are rewarded with stunning views of the beach, void of visitors, in the early mornings and late evenings. The violet sunset from Nagahama beach is one to be remembered. Unlike most of the beaches in Kozushima, Nagahama has white, soft sand. The campsite is located right next to the beach so campers can spend all day in the ocean and lying on the sand, especially the early and late hours when the beach is empty. Kozushima is the ideal island to get off the beaten track and stray away from crowds.
Located about a half an hour’s drive from Motomachi Port, Toshiki campground is a greenery filled space near Toshiki beach. Toshiki campground is well equipped, with running (public) showers, toilets, trash and recycling bins and a barbecue space and within easy walking distance to the beach.
Toshiki beach is famous for diving and snorkeling, with plentiful wildlife swimming between the rocky formations. Campers are also within a short distance to the volcanic rock formations overlooking the ocean. The volcanic rocks are not just dramatic but also educational. Budding geologists can peruse the signs dotted around the campsite and beach that inform visitors of Oshima’s birth.
The Habushira campground is by far the most equipped of all the islands. The basics such as toilets, running water, showers, cooking areas trash and recycling bins are readily available as well as tennis courts and children’s play areas. The campground is also within easy distance of restaurants and supermarkets, but well hidden, so campers still feel like they are out in the wild.
Both Habushira beach and the park of the same name are within walking distance of the campsite. Campers have the best of both worlds, being in between the beach and park gives ample views of both the seaside and the mountains.