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Living in Danger: Japanese Town Built Inside an Active Volcano

Jul 06, 2016 07:43 AM EDT
Residents living in a small village in south of Tokyo are all living in danger atop an active volcano.
(Photo : By Soica2001 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

A small village located about 200 miles south of Tokyo has been attracting many international tourists not only because of its natural scenic beauty and relaxing hot springs, but also due to the fact that it is literally located atop an active volcano.

Residents of Aogashima, a small island volcano in the Philippine Sea, are well aware of the dangers of living in a volcano. Even when its last eruption occurred in 1785, the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) still register Aogashoma to be an active volcano, with strong possibility that it may still erupt one day. However, residents of Aogashima are willing to take the risk.

In a report from Smithsonian, nearly half of the 327 residents of the island perished during the euption in 1785, while the remaining residents were able to evacuate.

Farming and fishing is the main employment in the island. However, there are also other blooming industries such as shochu distillery, salt manufacturing, general stores, bed and breakfast and automobile repair shop.

"There's not a lot of action on Aogashima, but it is a great place to unwind and experience Japan's unspoiled nature. And by the time you head home, maybe your town won't seem so small in comparison," wrote a tourist in Japanzine.

Even if the island is small, residents prefer to travel by car due to the strong winds and rainy climate, preventing them to travel on bike.

Aogashima is known for its double volcano. While the island in itself is considered to be a volcano, another volcano can be found inside its caldera. Most of the village is located inside the outer crater wall.

Tourists visiting Aogashima can enjoy different natural amenities and activities. Trailing through the volcano may prove to be challenging but well-marked trails make it easier to follow. Visitors who wanted to unwind and relax can enjoy the hot springs powered by volcanic sauna.

The island can be reached through helicopter or a ferry. Although still considered an active volcano, Aogashima has not been showing any signs of erupting for nine years since the Japanese Meteorology Agency issued a warning on 2007.

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