This article was published in partnership with Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tokyo is rightfully regarded as one of the great cities of the world. Japan’s iconic capital has dazzled countless visitors all across the globe with its traditional cultural charms, futuristic attractions, and top-rated culinary scene. When you envision Tokyo, chances are images of its technicolored cityscapes bursting with life start flooding your mind’s eye. But there’s a whole different side to this legendary destination that you probably didn’t even realize existed.
Tokyo proper is defined by its bustling wards and districts, each with its own unique lures, where you can find everything from world-class shopping and the latest tech gadgets to the best underground Japanese whisky bars. But Tokyo also encompasses an epic collection of islands just beyond the magnetic metropolis.
These stunning, unspoiled islands are grouped into the Izu and Ogasawara Islands. The Izu Archipelago includes more than a dozen islands and islets (although only nine are inhabited), and most can be reached in a few hours by high-speed ferry. Meanwhile, the Ogasawara Islands lie roughly 550 nautical miles south of Tokyo. Comprising more than 30 tropical and subtropical islands, the easiest way to explore these remote outposts is by overnight boat or plane.
No matter how you get there, each one of Tokyo’s islands is bursting at the seams with outdoor adventures and heart-racing thrills. With its idyllic beaches, sparking blue coves, and incredible marine life, it’s no surprise watersports are a huge draw. But there are also expansive forests, volcanic peaks, craggy bluffs, rolling lava fields, and restorative onsens (or natural hot springs) just waiting to be discovered. From soft adventures to extreme exploits, these are some of the can’t-miss island excursions to check out during your next trip to Tokyo.