Adventures on Monkey Island
Located not far from the port of Yokosuka, Sarushima or Monkey Island is a popular day-trip destination for tourists and locals alike. This small island offers a unique combination of natural beauty, historical ruins, and stunning views of Tokyo Bay.
One of the main attractions on Monkey Island is the opportunity to explore the decaying ruins of a former fortress. This fortress played a significant role in the defense of Tokyo and Yokosuka during the Tokugawa Shogunate era and World War II. Visitors can wander through excavated earthen tunnels, explore the barracks, and see the remnants of an ammunition depot. The red brick construction is now covered in moss and ferns, giving the site a mysterious and enchanting atmosphere.
Another highlight of Monkey Island is the panoramic view from the observatory area. From here, visitors can admire the stunning vistas of Tokyo Bay and the surrounding landscape. On a clear day, it is possible to see Mt. Fuji in the distance, adding to the already breathtaking scenery.
For those looking to relax and enjoy the beach, Monkey Island offers a beautiful sandy shore on the Yokosuka side of the island. During the summer months, visitors can rent barbecue sets and beach umbrellas, making it the perfect spot for a beach picnic. The water is clear, and the beaches are clean, making it an ideal place for swimming and sunbathing.
How to Get There
Getting to Monkey Island is relatively easy. The island is located just two kilometers from New Mikasa Pier, and there is a regular boat service that connects the pier to Sarushima. To reach Mikasa Pier, visitors can take a 10-minute walk from Yokosuka Chuo Station on the Keikyu Line. From Tokyo’s Shinagawa Station, it takes approximately 45 minutes to reach Yokosuka Chuo Station.
The boat ride from Mikasa Pier to Monkey Island takes only about 10 minutes, making it a convenient and quick journey. However, please note that an entrance and boarding fee is required to access the island.
So where are the monkeys?
Despite its name, Monkey Island does not actually have any monkeys. The island got its name from a legend that a pure white monkey appeared to guide a storm-tossed boat to safety on the island in 1253. While there are no monkeys to be found, the island’s natural beauty and historical significance more than make up for it.
Exploring the island
It is recommended to allocate at least an hour to explore all the nooks and crannies of Monkey Island. The island’s strategic location as a defensive outpost led to its heavy fortification during the Tokugawa Shogunate era and World War II. As a result, visitors can see remnants of the island’s fortifications, including earthen tunnels, a barracks, and an ammunition depot. The red brick construction adds a unique touch to the ruins, which are now slowly being reclaimed by nature.
To learn more about the island’s history, visitors can visit the small museum located at the port. Here, they can gain further insights into the fortifications and the island’s role in protecting Tokyo and Yokosuka.
Summertime is beach time
One of the highlights of Monkey Island is the beautiful sandy beach on the Yokosuka side of the island. During the summer months, visitors can rent barbecue sets and beach umbrellas, allowing them to enjoy a day of sun, sand, and sea. The beaches are well-maintained and offer clear water, making it a great place for swimming and beachcombing. A small shop on the island also sells drinks and some food, ensuring that visitors have everything they need for a day at the beach.
While Monkey Island is a great place to spend a few hours, those with more time can explore the rockier areas of the island’s shoreline. Here, visitors can join Japanese families in searching the tide pools for marine life. It is important to note the tide schedule and be mindful of the rising tides to avoid getting soaked.
In conclusion, Monkey Island offers a unique and diverse experience for visitors. From exploring historical ruins to enjoying a day at the beach, there is something for everyone on this small island. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing by the sea, Monkey Island is a must-visit destination. So grab your sunscreen, pack a picnic, and embark on an adventure to Monkey Island.
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