Did You Know about the Town Built Inside an Active Volcano?

Did You Know about the Town Built Inside an Active Volcano?
Maruyama in Aogashima Photo Credit: Courtesy Wikipedia

Would you live in a place that could erupt any moment and rain lava and ash down on you?

OT Staff
April 06 , 2020
31 Min Read

You can find humans in the strangest places.

Around 230 years ago, the last eruption killed half the population of the small town of Aogashima in Japan. The volcano is still registered as active by the Japanese Meteorological Agency which is responsible for monitoring the country's active volcanoes. Which means it can blow up again. Reason enough for people to steer clear of the place.


That thought hasn't stopped Aogashima from being inhabited. Much of the houses are located inside the outer crater wall. From here, it is a 200-mile journey to Tokyo, on a ferry across the Philippine Sea. 

View this post on Instagram

おはようございますーï¼Âï¼ÂðŸÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’• ç§Âã¯ä»ÂŠã€æ±äº¬éƒ½ã®è¦³åÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…‰PRäºÂ‹業のä¸Â€çÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’°ã§#éÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’ヶ島 にきています😍 * ç§Â˜å¢Âƒã¨è¨Â€ã‚ã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒるこの島ðŸÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ³ 映画”君の名は。”のモデルåÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂœ°ï¼ÂŸï¼Â ともè¨Â€ã‚ã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒてるみたいðŸ¤Â—❤ï¸Â * なんとここで、70代おじæ§Â˜3人とお友達になã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒたï¼Âï¼Âç¬Â‘ ものすごい性格合うし、このおじæ§Â˜é”とä¸Â€ç·ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’にè¡ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ動できなかったら… ç§Âã€å¤Âšåˆ†大å¤Â‰ãªäºÂ‹ã«ãªã£ã¦ãŸï¼Âç¬Â‘ æ„Ÿè¬Âã—てもしきã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒない😫❤ï¸Â * ã€ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒアクセス難易度Sç´Âšï¼Âã€ ã€ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ選ばã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒしè€ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…だけãÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒä¸ÂŠé™¸å¯èƒ½ï¼Âã€ ã€ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒä¸Â€度ä¸ÂŠé™¸ã—たら帰ってこã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒないï¼Âã€ などなど…。 æÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂœ¬å½Â“にè¡ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒくことãÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ難しい島ðŸÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’¦ ç§Âã‚‚色ã€ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…ありましたãÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ😂無äºÂ‹åˆ°ç€ï¼Â そしてä»ÂŠæ—¥ã€ã“ã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒからåÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…«ä¸Âˆ島に戻りますðŸ‘ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ🏻ðŸÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’— * #tokyoreporter#tokyo#tamashima#aogashima#éÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’ヶ島村#尾山å±Â•æÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂœ›åÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…¬åÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂœÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’#カルデラ#äºÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂŒ重カルデラ#君の名は

A post shared by ARISA(ありんこ) (@i_am_arinko) on Nov 25, 2016 at 3:35pm PST

The island will remind you of something from Jurassic Park. It has a unique shape with a volcanic caldera within a larger caldera. The volcano makes up the entire island.

It last erupted in 1785 on May 18. By June 4, the island's inhabitants (there were around 320) tried their best to evacuate. But only half made it out. The present-day residents have heard all about that and yet, somehow, they are much too enamoured of the stunning tropical landscape they live in to want to leave. 

View this post on Instagram

Have you been to one of the smallest town in Japan?😄 Aogashima, Japan🇯🇵 📍📍📍 Aogashima Island is a tiny island that is technically still part of Tokyo and is at the southernmost tip of the Izu Island chain.Aogashima’s main attraction is its peculiar double volcano that can be seen while enjoying the scenic hiking trails. 📷 @geziyorumogreniyorum

A post shared by Japan Awaits (@japanawaits) on Jul 14, 2019 at 4:15am PDT

A favourite way to spend time on the stunning island is by going for walks, hikes and camping trips, and fishing. Most people here are farmers and fisherfolk. They have a distillery that produces shochu, Japan's distinctive liquor. You can rent a B&B. The town has several general stores you can pick up utility items from.

View this post on Instagram

あおちã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂ…う 新商品 ⁉ï¸Â あおちã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂ…うã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’沢山購åÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ…¥ã—た客人❤ï¸Â è¦Â‹ãŸã“とないのã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ’ æÂÂÂÂÂÂŒã£ã¦å¸°ã£ã¦ããŸãƒ¼ みなさま ご注目 ♫ #aogashima #あおちã‚ÂÂÂÂÂÂ…う #新商品ï¼ÂŸ #こだわりの #牛🐂とカルデラとわたし #みんなでワイワイ

A post shared by ひんãÂÂÂÂÂÂŽゃの塩 (@hingyasio) on Feb 9, 2020 at 3:38am PST

The island has many hot springs which act as natural saunas with beneficial powers. You can even get your own food and cook it in the steam vents, the utensils are kept next to the saunas. 

So far, the volcano has been quiet. But seismologists are keeping an eye on it, just in case. 

Related Articles


Our Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe