izuoshima

Support your country and live among the friendly island community on Izu Oshima

Izu Oshima is 120 kilometres south of Tokyo and 25 kilometres south-east from the Izu peninsula. The island is administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government and as such considered a suburb of Tokyo.

The entire island is an active volcano and Mt. Mihara, situated in the centre of the island, is the volcanic cone which has been formed by volcanic activity.

The moment we heard of the opening of a sharehouse on the largest of the Izu islands we wanted to check it out. However, it’s not as if you can just pop over on the train, so we went for 3 days to make the most out of the trip and see the entire island as well.

While we were there we were honored to be shown around the island by the staff of Sharehouse Itadori and the locals. We learned a lot about the history and way of life of the island and through meeting and interacting with the local residents we came to understand the community that is cultivated there.

I had never been to Izu Oshima before, and I’d now like to share my own experiences living at Itadori Sharehouse and getting a feel for island life with you all.

Without further ado, let’s get on with the article!

「Itadori sharehouse」House Details Page
 
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Itadori Sharehouse is an elegant 3-room single storey house making the most of its original structure.
There is also a large garden outside, and with the house itself sitting at the back of the property you can enjoy yourselves to your hearts content without being worried about making too much noise, having BBQs or even Nagashi Somen (noodles placed in a long flume of bamboo for diners to pick up with their chopsticks as they flow past).
 
Staying here a few days I found the locals to be warm and friendly, and I was able to experience exquisite surroundings and listen to the calls of unfamiliar birds and animals. I suppose I was even more aware of these things being away from the familiarities of home.
 
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Now then, my journey begins on a ferry. There are two ports on the island, Motomachi and Okada, their use depending on the weather and ocean conditions of each day. As such, travellers do not know which port they will arrive at until the day of departure. Incidentally, I ended up at Okada Port.
 
As soon as I arrived I received a call from the manager of Itadori asking whether or not I had made it in one piece, his casual-style consideration very heartwarming.
 
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I then headed off to my destination, the sharehouse. I walked along nervously wondering if there really was a house in such a remote location...
 
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There was indeed a house, and I arrived safe and sound. Apparently all first-time guests get a little bit of a surprise when they come here. As you can see, the lot is large with just a house sitting on the land, but the surrounding garden is part of the property. Yes, that means you can use it however you please.
 
The house is surrounded by nature and tenants can enjoy a variety of recreational activities. Living here is quite the luxury.
 
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Arriving at the house fatigued by my journey, I first sit down to rest and look around at the view. The lovely folks in the photograph are Itadori KK staff members. They are based in the centre of the island and work under the principle of making every corner of the country fun and enjoyable for others.
 

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As I was resting I heard the roar of an automobile engine cut through the silence, and out steps Haru. Haru is a local and works as Itadori’s island advisor. He is ever the island boy with his friendly, relaxed personality.

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After a brief introduction we hop in his car and head off in search of food.

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It’s really fun deciding what to make for dinner and choosing all the ingredients together. The local supermarket on the island sells a good range of groceries and daily necessities.

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We decided on curry. It’s always curry when everyone gets together to make something though, isn’t it? Brings back memories of camping in my schoolboy days.

While chatting with Haru I was suddenly invited to a baseball game to be held the following day, and accepted the invitation to watch the locals play.

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The next day I headed to the ballpark and was met with a brilliant view exceeding all expectations.

Seeing such an unbelievably beautiful sight right before my own eyes was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

There are apparently 20 volunteer teams on the island, playing tournaments in the spring and league matches in autumn. Players are also transferred from team to team, just like the professional league, and one could just imagine this to be the perfect backdrop for a myriad of novels and dramas.

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Haru’s team, the Motomachi Mets, won the match 13-2 in what was their first ever victory. Congratulations!

I was surprised to learn than former Yakult Swallows first-string players were among those playing today, too.

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After the match I was shown around the island. This place is called Sanohama. We unexpectedly ran into someone Haru knows up here. It seems everyone is a neighbor when you live on an island.

The view is exhilarating. New tenants will be shown around the sights, too, which is something to be thankful for as it’s quite hard to truly experience the essence of the island.

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The Itadori staff seem to be mesmerized by the brilliance of the ocean.

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Exchanging words through the window is just another part of the everyday island lifestyle, but to me, on the outside looking in, it is something spectacular.

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We found a cute little cat on the side of the road! Cats are often found near the ocean on Izu Oshima island.

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Here are the Motomachi Mets, the baseball team from earlier! We joined in on their victory celebrations.

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Everyone is really friendly and fun to be around. I really felt the team had a great relationship with each other, calling everyone by their nicknames regardless of age.

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The Motomachi Mets captain. What a great smile. The best thing about Izu Oshima is the people.

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We were then shown around the area damaged by last year’s typhoon by the boss of Itadori, Mr. Aiko. The island recorded their largest documented rainfall at that time with 824 milliliters of rain, and even now the residents are still traumatized by the disaster. With that in mind, Itadori is working towards breathing new life into the community here.

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On my last day I went with Mr. Endo, the leader of the support project Pikari, to a meeting about turning a to-be-demolished house into a sharehouse. I believe that with the cooperation of the island folk it will develop into a lively house welcoming many different people to the town.

 

If this article has piqued your interest in Izu Oshima then you should definitely visit the area for yourself. Once you’re there, don’t just indulge in your surroundings but reach out a friendly hand and get to know the locals.

You’re sure to experience more than this article could ever introduce to you. Your breath will be taken away by the unique, natural landscapes here, and by seeing the aftermath of the typhoon you will also appreciate the ferociousness of mother nature.
Watching the locals it is obvious that they are strong and proud people.

Itadori’s sharehouse is the place to connect you with amazing encounters and experiences like these, and by living here you are sure to experience the island in a way you couldn’t even imagine from being just a tourist.

I’m sure there are many of you who are unaware that you can get to Izu Oshima from Tokyo. You can, and now that you know I hope you make the trip to the island to visit time and time again.

The residents of the island are sure you welcome you warmly and allow you to integrate into the community and experience the island life.

/Author: Watanabe

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