Ogasawara Islands, Asia's Version of Galapagos Islands
Ogasawara Islands are a total of 30 islands that are clustered in 3 groups. They cover a total of 7,939 hectares and are located on the North Western Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 kilometers south of the main Japanese archipelago.
The 3 groups of islands are scattered over a 400 kilometers stretch. The groups that feature on the Ogasawara Archipelago are called; Mukojima, Hahajima and Chichijima. Apart from the above clusters, there are additional individual islands namely; Kita-iwoto, Minami-iwoto and the Nishinoshima.
Note that of the total 7,939 hectares that the islands cover, 6,358 hectares are terrestrial land and 1,581 hectares is marine area. Currently, only Chichijima and Hahajima are occupied out of the total 30 islands.
The islands feature varying landscapes that hosts hundreds of fauna and flora species. The landscape is dominated by sclerophyllos shrub lands and subtropical forests. Of course the vegetation grows on valleys and some parts of the mountains. To add to the magnificence, the area is surrounded by towering steep cliffs.
The Ogasawara Islands are home to 440 species of native vascular plants. The wooded plants endemism has been measured to an equivalent of 70 percent of the vegetation. In addition to the vegetation, you will also find over 100 species of native land snails, 90% of which are endemic to the area. Make sure you spot the Bonin Flying Fox, the critically endangered bat, and 195 endangered bird species.
The islands represent outstanding examples of evolutionary processes in oceanic ecosystems. The high level of endemism speciation through adaptation and evolution of marine species in to terrestrial species are evidence enough of the importance of this region. The scientists are currently having a field day experimenting in the region.
True, the islands are located 1,000 kilometers from civilization, but don’t you think that this is the stuff that makes adventures awesome? Trust me; if you can live 3 days in the islands – especially the unoccupied ones – then you can live anywhere in our good old earth. Getting to see things that are extra ordinary makes you special among your peers. Do you feel like trying one more adventure before you settle down by the beach? Head to Ogasawara Islands…they are the Asian answer to Galapagos Islands.