Ogasawara Islands: 'Galapagos of the Orient'

The Ogasawara Islands are home to 57 rare species, many indigenous animals, and are the only place in the world where you can see geological features from the ground that show how an archipelago is formed.

Recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, this group of about 30 islands is nicknamed the "Galapagos of the Orient" due to the unique landscape and wildlife inhabitants. There are plenty of islands to see, but be sure to stop by Minamijima for the blue lagoon and bird watching. Beach lovers shouldn't miss the white-sand Kominato Beach or Sakaiura Beach, where the shipwreck attracts fish perfect for divers.

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Hikers will love the Ogiura-Yuhodo Trail, which will take you up into the forest, where you can see lots of wildlife. Or, get back in the water with the many water sports on offer—including kayaking, canoeing, surfing, and water skiing.

Where Is it? In the Pacific Ocean. Fly to Tokyo's Haneda Airport (check prices) and take a day-long ferry from Takeshiba, Tokyo to Chichijima.

Where to Stay? At the cute Papa's Island Resort.

Who's it for? Photographers, wild-life lovers, adventure travelers.

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