Few people know that there are more than 11 islands in Tokyo prefecture. Surely we all know the metropolis that we all love, but there are also 11 subtropical islands located in the Pacific Ocean: Aogashima, Hachijojima, Kozushima, Mikurashima, Miyakejima, Niijima, Oshima, Shikinejima, Toshima, Chichijima and Hahajima. Welcome aboard this new adventure with Peko Peko Box
Included in the box:
Oshima island is known for its abundance of camellia trees and the oil made from them. We included pure Camellia oil but many derived products can be found on the island such as shampoo to soap.
To preserve purity and quality, “Mihara camellia oil” uses a traditional squeezing and time-consuming pressing method of the camellia seeds. It also helps release the Oleic acid, an oil naturally secreted by our skin.
Camellia oil has been used by local people since the 800 AD on their hair, to make them smooth and shiny and all over the body to prevent dry skin. It can even be used as a healthy oil for cooking, for example in salads. Its high percentage of oleic acid reduces blood pressure and makes it a good alternative to regular oil.
Camellia Paper soap & Aburatorigami
You will find two more camellia related products.
First, a paper soap that you can use to wash your hands anywhere: very convenient when on the go. Open the lid of the case and be sure to take it out with dry hands. Place it on the palm of your hand and then soak it in plenty of water or lukewarm water. Whisk well with both hands and rinse off.
Second, some “aburatorigami” or face blotting paper, very popular in Japan, for women AND men. Take a sheet out and apply it to your skin to remove the excess oil.
Onsen Towel and Bath Salts
The main attraction of Shikinejima is the hot spring of Jinata onsen.
It’s located in front of the ocean, and reaches the perfect bathing temperature when the hot water is naturally being mixed with sea water. Because of the tides, you can only go to the onsen twice a day. Otherwise, the water temperature reaches a bolstering 80 degrees celsius.
You will find the official towel from Jinata onsen hot spring as well as some bath powder, so you can enjoy the perfect onsen experience at home. If you don’t have a bathtub, you can try another Japanese tradition called 足湯 or “foot bath”.
The towel was designed by the Shikinejima Tourism Association. You can see in red the Japanese sign for hot spring and the name Jinata onsen (地鉈温泉)
Torii are the gates found at the entrance of shrines. You can find many small shrines on the islands.
Our favorite shrine is the Sengen Shrine located inside the caldera of Mt Hachijo-Fuji on Hachijojima. Accessing it is a pilgrimage on its own: a strenuous one hour walk to the summit before heading down into the caldera of the dormant volcano.
People come to the shrine with round and heavy stones that they collected from the shore. They then paint them and write their wishes for the deities to make them come true.
Aogashima is one of the smaller islands with a population of only 160. It is known for its double caldera volcano. Such a structure only exists in a few places in the world. Inside of the volcano, you can feel the geothermal heat and it is a renown place for stargazing.
From the heat of the volcano, an incredible condiment is made: Hingya Salt. Hingya, in local dialect, means fumarole. Sea water is heated with the geothermal heat. It takes around 13 days for the salt to crystallize. After crystallization, the excess water is removed and the salt is set to dry using only, once again, geothermal heat. Hingya salt is known for its high amount of calcium and magnesium.
Arisa Yamada, the founder of Aogashima Salt Factory says: “We aim to make ‘Hingya no Shio’, which is made from the volcanic energy of an isolated island in the sea, the best salt in Japan.
Kusaya is a fish, usually horse mackerel, pickled in salt water and dried in the sun. The name comes from the Japanese word Kusai which means stinky. And gosh it stinks!
Kusaya senbei is a popular snack made by Mister Osada Takahiro from the Kusayaya shop in Hachijojima. He makes himself the secret broth in which the senbei (japanese traditional rice crackers) are dipped. The broth gives the senbei their flavor (and smell).
Even if the smell is strong, the taste of kusaya senbei is mild and flavourful. With this senbei, you may better grasp the concept of Umami, the fifth Japanese taste, usually described as a deep savory flavor.
Warning: Don’t be discouraged by the smell, it tastes better than it smells 😉
Miyakejima was left uninhabited for 5 years after the eruption of its volcano in 2000. Once people were allowed back on the island they found out that nature was lush like never before.
We included a healthy and powerful powder from the Nishino farm of Miyakejima: Ashitaba powder. Ashitaba literally means tomorrow’s leaf. The plant grows so fast that after you pull it out of the ground, a new one comes out on the next day.
Ashitaba plants contain dimethoxychalcone, a chalcone that decreases senescence in human cells. It has been recognized as preventing arteriosclerosis and cancer.
How to use it: mix the powder with hot water or milk for a milder taste. You can also top it on yogurt and ice cream.
Back in the day, everyone had a cow on Hachijojima. They were used for milking and also for carrying people and things around. They were so ubiquitous that the island was famous for Cow sumo. A rather peculiar form of entertainment where two cows had to push each other until one would get out of the ring. After the second world war, the life of carrying loads by cattle changed to a life of relying on buses and trucks and so the number of cows dwindled.
Today there is only one cow farm left on the island. They make milk cookies that the islanders eat as a snack.