Hahajima Island (母島, Mother Island) is the only inhabited island of the Ogasawara Islands besides Chichijima. Located 40 kilometers further south, Hahajima is somewhat smaller, less developed and even more remote than Chichijima. However, it shares the same climate and offers a lot of the same outdoor attractions such as beaches, snorkeling, jungle trekking and whale and dolphin watching.
Like Chichijima, Hahajima is home to some unique animal and plant species. To protect the natural environment, visitors must pay attention not to import any seeds or alien species to the island and refrain from collecting or otherwise harming the local plants and wildlife. For this reason camping and off-trail hiking are strictly prohibited throughout the island. Visitors are also encouraged to use human power as much as possible to get around the island.
Hahajima Island measures about 15 kilometers in length, but only 2-3 kilometers in width. The northern half of the island is home to the former Kita Port and a few abandoned wartime gun batteries. Hiking trails lead up to the island's tallest peak, Mount Chibusa.
The island's only sizable village is centered around Oki Port, the arrival point of ferries from Chichijima. The village consists of a ferry terminal building with a tourist information desk and a handful of residences, shops, tour companies and pensions, including a JA bank with a postal ATM that accepts international credit and debit cards. Dining options outside accommodations are very limited.
The southern half of the island offers a variety of beaches where visitors can enjoy sunbathing and snorkeling. An attractive walking trail leads from the southern end of Hahajima's main road, Tokyo's southernmost metropolitan road, for about 2.5 kilometers or about one hour through the jungle to the peak of Mount Kofuji at the southern tip of the island. The top of the mountain has a viewpoint with excellent views over Hahajima and the smaller islands to the south.
Offshoots of the trail to Mount Kofuji lead to several remote beaches along the way. The best, Minamizaki Beach, lies just west of the mountain and offers clear blue water and excellent snorkeling. Be careful as the coral beach can be rough on bare feet, especially during low tide, and do not venture out past the mouth of the small bay as the currents quickly become strong and dangerous.
How to get to Hahajima
Hahajima Island is accessible by the Hahajima-maru Ferry from Chichijima Island. The one way trip takes about two hours and costs about 5000 yen.
On most days the Hahajima-maru Ferry makes one round trip from Chichijima to Hahajima and back, departing in the morning and returning in the afternoon. However, on days when the Ogasawara-maru Ferry arrives from Tokyo, the Hahajima-maru only makes the outward journey to Hahajima and does not return to Chichijima until the following afternoon. Also, the Hahajima-maru does not operate at all the day after the Ogasawara-maru departs for Tokyo.
How to get around Hahajima
Hahajima is centered around Oki Port on the southwestern side of the island, where all of the island's accommodations and tour companies are found. A single main road runs along the length of the island from south to north. There is no public transportation, and although the southern half of the island can be explored on foot, a rental bicycle, scooter or car will save time and is recommended to visit the sights of interest around the northern tip of the island.