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Living Inside Japan’s Active Volcano

Would you live in an environment that is unpredictably dangerous like Aogashima Island? If you’re that adventurous, you may take a tour around this Japanese volcanic island.

Aogashima is a small, tropical volcanic island in the Philippine Sea, under the administration of Tokyo despite being located some 358 kilometers away from the country’s capital.

It is the southernmost and the most isolated inhabited island of the Izu archipelago. The island itself is a giant volcanic crater, and within that crater there’s another, smaller volcano. Aogashima is still considered an active Class-C volcano though it last erupted in the 1780′s. When last erupted it killed nearly half of the island’s population and forced the remaining inhabitants to flee. It took just fifty years for the people to return. Today, some 200 brave villagers live on the island.




The island is administered by Tokyo and located approximately 358 kilometres (222 mi) south of Tokyo and 64 kilometres (40 mi) south of Hachijō-jima.

Aogashima is a complex Quaternary volcanic island 3.5 km in length with a maximum width of 2.5 km, formed by the overlapping remnants of at least four submarine calderas. The island is surrounded by very steep rugged cliffs of layered volcanic deposits. The southern coast also rises to a sharp ridge forming one edge of a caldera named Ikenosawa  with a diameter of 1.5 km.

The caldera dominates the island, with one point on its southern ridge, Otonbu with a height of 423 metres (1,388 ft), as the island's highest point. The caldera is occupied by a secondary cone named Maruyama. Still considered a Class-C active volcano by the Japan Meteorological Agency, the last eruption of Aogashima was during a four-year period from 1781–1785.

There isn’t much to do on Aogashima though, except enjoy the serenity of a tropical paradise. In the center of the island lies a geothermal sauna. There is a public facility utilizing the geothermal power and gas and people use it to cook. This cooker using geothermal steam is available for free. Steamed fresh vegetables, potatoes or eggs are one of the specialties of Aogashima. The facility also features a sauna, a public bath, and hot showers.

According to geologists the island was made from the remains of four underwater volcanoes and the cliffs surrounding the island were formed by volcanic deposits
The entire island is classed as a Class-C active volcano by the Japan Meteorological Agency and the last eruption was in 1781

Down the local for a swift half: Despite the volcano the people living there are living just as an ordinary Japanese, they fish and have agriculture and of course look after tourists

Steamed potatoes and eggs are one of the Aogashima specialities, they are cooked in the steam produced by the volcano


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