The Bonin Islands is an archipelago of about thirty islands in the Pacific, almost all of which have been uninhabited throughout history. Because these islands have always been isolated, they have a unique ecosystem that has earned them the nickname the Galapagos of the Orient. Only a handful of native species, mostly birds, inhabit the islands themselves. But it is the marine life that is Bonin’s greatest treasure.
Some of the islands of the Bonin archipelago have seen human habitation since prehistoric times. Both Japanese and European explorers settled some of the islands during the Colonial era. A few, including Iwo Jima, were badly ravaged during World War II, but most escaped the war, and the 20th century, largely unscathed. The islands were collectively established as a world heritage site in 2011.
Most of the native wildlife on the island consists of rare species of birds and a handful of mammals, most notably of the latter being the Bonin Flying Fox. However, the big draw is the sealife, and many divers come to explore the islands every year. The most popular animals are the large number of Sea Turtle that make the area their home. The Bonin Islands are also one of the few places where the elusive Giant Squid, the Holy Grail of marine life spotting, has been seen.
The Bonin Islands are clustered offshore from Japan, approximately six hundred miles south of Tokyo. There are no airports on the islands, and access is typically by ferry to the islands of Chichi-Jima, making Bonin extremely difficult to reach. Those who do get there are rewarded with some of the most pristine diving waters on Earth. The islands are effectively an open site. Web: www.ogosawaramura.com (official tourism website of the Bonin Islands).
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