Laputa-like Deserted Island of Sarushima Floating in Tokyo Bay | Japan Guide

“I want to visit some deserted island.”

Anyone could have pondered on such a thought at least once. The idea will easily come true once you visit Sarushima Island. It is the only uninhabited island in Tokyo Bay and popular as a tourist spot.

While the island is usually uninhabited today, it has not always been the case. It was once used as a military base and had a fortress for the defense of the capital city. The island was not accessible to the general public when the base was in use but is now reachable relatively easily with regular ferry services that run daily.

Historical Importance

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Reference: flickr

Sarushima Island was designated as a historic landmark by the Japanese government in 2015. The ancient earthenware and human bones excavated here suggested that the island was already inhabited as early as the Neolithic era.

Exploited as a military base during the Second World War, as already mentioned, there are still remains of the fortress facilities around the island today. This photo shows the wall made by what was called “French Style” brick piling, which can be rarely found anywhere else in Japan.

The island also has a cave, in which Nichiren, the famous priest from around the 13th century, is said to have taken refuge for some time when he was shipwrecked and drifted here. The cave is also associated with various other legends, one of which says the island is connected by some submarine route to Enoshima in Kanagawa Prefecture, which is actually very far away from the island. Leaving the credibility of such legends aside, the island is certainly a place filled with very romantic tales and atmosphere.

Looming Nostalgia in the Sceneries

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Reference: flickr

The scenery like the one you can see in this photo is what makes the island greatly popular as a tourist destination. The island is scattered with many atmospheric remains of the old fortress, which will remind you of “Laputa: Castle in the Sky,” one of the Ghibli movies by Hayao Miyazaki; the decadent air that seems to bring time to a halt, mossy walls entangled with vines, red brick structures, a long tunnel filled with a daunting atmosphere, all surrounded by rich and deep nature. Amidst the contrast of the rich greeneries and red brick structures, you cannot help but find yourself anticipating one of the robot soldiers from the movie pass you.

Best Way to Spend Time on the Island

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Reference: flickr

From walking to sea bathing, barbecue, gathering shellfishes and fishing, you have countless things to enjoy on the island. The beach with many facilities becomes open to bathers during the period from mid-July until late-August. At the rocky shore area on the far end of the island, you will also be able to enjoy gathering shellfishes and fishing.

Barbecue materials and utensils are available for rental on the island, so you can visit the island and enjoy barbecue on the beach without any particular preparation (reservation is needed for renting). But remember that this is because in recent years it has become prohibited to bring gas cookers and fire starters into the island. Thus you will have to rent necessary tools and utensils to enjoy barbecue here.

Beside the great opportunity of such outdoor activities as seen above, which is not always easy to enjoy in the urban setting, the island also has some more to offer. On weekends, a takeaway food shop called “Oceans Kitchen” and “Sarushima Shop,” where you can buy light meals and drinks, also open on the island! With all such great facilities, “deserted island” may not already be the best word to describe this fun-packed island!


Reference: flickr

Address:
Sarushima, Yokosuka-shi, Kanagawa

Access
30 Minutes from Yokosuka Chuo Station:
Ferries depart from Mikasa Sanbashi, which is reachable in about 15 minute walk from Yokosuka Chuo Station of Keikyu Railway. A 10 minute ride on the ferry takes you to the island. A regular ferry service is available every hour and the round-way fare to and from the island is 1,300 Yen for adults.

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