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I finished my summer clerkship with Baker & McKenzie in Tokyo on August 12th and had twelve days before returning to the United States. Alas, that didn't give me enough time to take an adventure overseas (I was thinking of Vietnam or Mongolia). Instead I decided to take a trip inside Japan.

Why Izu? While looking at the map one day in June, I noticed the small islands off the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture -- the Seven Islands of Izu. Ranging in size from 4 to 96 square kilometers, and ranging in population from under 300 to over 9,000. I wanted to find out more and decided to go there.

My original plan was to depart from Tokyo, but no ships were available on the days I wanted to travel. Instead, I had to leave from the small port town of Shimoda. This was a welcome detour -- Shimoda is where Commodore Mathew Perry arrived in Japan in 1854 (on his second trip) to conclude the Treaty of Kanagawa with Japan. Having a keen interest in history, I had always wanted to visit the area.

The map shows my route. As you can see, I only traveled to five of the seven islands. The other two -- Miyakejima and Mikurajima -- are a little further out of the way, and only accessible by direct boat from Tokyo. Perhaps next time.

I left Tokyo on the morning of 13 August and returned to Tokyo in the afternoon of 17 August, 2005. For those of you interested in taking this trip, you can start by looking at the Tokai Kisen web page (in Japanese). Just be warned that their online reservation leaves much to be expected. You should call to arrange tickets.

Below, see a more detailed map, created with Google Earth and Firefox.

Finally, I created some combination panorama shots -- see below for those four pictures, and click for enlarged photos.

Shimoda Bay, where, 151 years ago, Commodore Perry entered with his seven ships.

The east side of Kozushima.

Shikineshima -- see Niijima in the distant left.

The crater of the mountain on Oshima.

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c. 2005 C. GUNSON