Dotted across the Philippine Sea lie a smattering of islands that stretch down southwards from Tokyo. Aogashima is the last isle that people call home in this far-flung archipelago, as the few outcrops that can be found south of its sinister shores are unoccupied. But even though Aogashima looks like paradise, few are courageous enough to reside there – or even visit for more than a day or so.
Yes, at first glance, Aogashima appears to be idyllic. Much of the land is carpeted with verdant greenery, for instance, while the curious crater that dominates the isle also teems with jungle. But while beautiful azure seas lap against the dramatic cliffs that encircle most of Aogashima, the waves are particularly fearsome here. The water is frequently whipped up during frenzied storms, in fact, and this can make leaving the island by boat impossible for days on end.
Still, why would anyone need to flee this lush sanctuary? Well, the answer lies along one of Aogashima’s walking routes. Once part of the island’s principal road, the pathway has now fallen into disrepair; it’s crumbling and overgrown, crowded by jungle vegetation. In any case, the walkway winds its way towards Aogashima’s central crater.