Niemonjima. Have you heard of it? If you're not a history buff, then perhaps you haven't. Located off the coast of southwest Chiba, this tiny landmass was the secret hideaway of one of the greatest generals in Japanese history. Minamoto-no-Yoritomo was one of the founders of the Kamakura Shogunate, and after a battle with a rivaling faction, he fled for safety behind the shoreline rocks of Niemonjima.
There used to be thousands of ferry lines connecting the over four hundred inhabited islands of the Japanese archipelago. But that number has been steadily declining since the islands became increasingly connected by bridges and tunnels. It is a shame that we no longer have such charming little lines as the Tako Ferry. But despite the arguably diminished demand, some ferry lines are still alive and well.
Cycle the island of Hachijojima south of Tokyo for an amazing experience off the beaten path.
If there is one thing I have learned about Japan down the years, it is that you should never underestimate the potential of this place to amaze and enthral you. So too was this the case when I recently visited Tokushima Prefecture for the first time.