FAQ

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Question: How far away is Pelan Village from the bus stop? How long does the bus take to get to town?
Answer: Walking distance from Pelan Village to the bus stop is 5 minutes. Upon arrival we can give you directions. The bus only runs once an hour, so please be sure to check the timetable posted on the fridge in the shared kitchen house. It takes the bus 15 minutes to reach town. There are two grocery stores, many restaurants (which are open at lunch and dinner times), cafes, and various places where you can book whale-watching, fishing, diving, and hiking tours.

 

Question: How far away are the beaches? Do you rent out snorkeling and kayaking equipment?

Answer: Ogiura Beach is a 20 minute walk down the hill (or a 5 minute bus ride). Kominato Beach is a 6 minute bus ride, a 30 minute bicycle ride, a 10 minute motorbike ride, and an hour by foot. From Kominato, you can take the Heart Rock hiking tour (you need to hire a guide from a different business for this), or visit an array of hiking trails and beaches. Kopepe beach is quite close to Pelan Village, about 20 minutes by foot give or take (and even less by bus). Guests staying at Pelan Village can borrow snorkel and fin equipment free of charge while kayak tour guests need to make a ¥500 contribution. There are many bright tropical fish and thriving coral in the nearby beaches. There has never been a shark attack on Ogasawara and the sharks that do visit are small reef sharks who seek the help of small reef fish to clean away parasites that cling to the sharks.

 

Question: Can I buy local produce in town? What sort of souvenirs might I expect to bring back from my trip?

Answer: There is a shop that exclusively sells island made produce: fruits, jams, veggies. Mostly, produce is shipped from the mainland. Pelan Village tends a small farm and we can share some vegetables, given that they are in season. We do not offer permaculture courses but guests are more than welcome to pitch in a hand farming and gardening. Pelan Village also sells deliciously crunchy bread baked over a fire in a Dutch oven. Popular souvenirs range from passionfruit jam to Ogasawara salt, coffee beans, island glassware, and handmade leis.

 

Question: Are the accommodation prices listed on a per person basis or per room? Should I expect hammocks, beds, or futons?

Answer: The rooms are cabin-style. There are three cabins: one fits four guests, and the remaining two cabins fit two apiece. The accommodation prices are on a per person basis, although the price is halved for children. There are electricity ports in each room, although you should bring a Japanese adapter for American or European devices. There are many mosquitos, so make sure to keep your door closed. We supply burning sage to ward the mosquitos away, although we are able to supply mosquito nets. Visitors to Ogasawara do not need to worry about contracting malaria or dengue fever.

 

Question: Is it possible to see whales or dolphins on the island? Are there a lot of coral to see and fish to snorkel alongside?

Answer: Seeing whales or dolphins is always a chance encounter. The fall and winter are best for whale-watching, and there are many boats on the island that will take guests to see ocean life. However, these boats are disruptive and their fuel pollute the seabeds, so we recommend traveling on a sea kayak with a Pelan Village tour. Each daylong tour costs between ¥9000-¥10000 and includes lunch, tea, snorkeling stops, sometimes a brief hike, and historical facts.

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Pelan Pelan Sea Kayak Club

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The Ogasawara Archipelago is home to more than 30 tropical and subtropical islands, most of which are uninhabited. With Pelan Pelan Sea Kayaking Club, you can visit these uninhabited islands and explore nature at its wildest.

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There are many endemic species both on land and in the sea. With Pelan, you can explore the South Island called Anijima, a mysterious island made of limestone. Countless snails became semi-fossils over hundreds of thousands of year, slowly building up to create hills and valleys and finally, the island that we call Anijima. It is covered with rare dry shrubs, and full of colorful fish and thriving coral ecosystems.

Join Pelan Pelan Sea Kayaking Club to adventure in nature. Your sea kayak instructor, Ryo, has been leading kayak tours for more than two decades, alongside cavorting dolphins and bright-eyed sea turtles.

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Pelan Village Online Media

Various guests and volunteers have documented their experience about Pelan Village online. If you’d like to read about their time staying here, please check out the links below.


 

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Rain Again

Kaori Freda, creator and manager of this English website for Pelan Village, is a WWOOF volunteer who is currently living on Chichijima. She keeps a blog about her experience living at Pelan Village (including New Years festivities) and what it is like to wake up to each new day on this tropical paradise called Ogasawara. You can learn more about WWOOFing at Pelan Village here.


 

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Architecture of Travel

Caitlin Carlier created Architecture of Travel to document and share lovely photos of lovely places, in hopes of inspiring future travel and using it as a guide to refer back to. She covers architecture in China, Japan, South Korea, India, and more. She volunteered at Pelan Village for a while through WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, and wrote a great piece about the village here, a post about Chika’s special peanut butter substitute recipe, and about the cozy Jungle House down the mountain path.


 

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Ludy’s Bonin Base

Ludy Sforza, the island’s translator and English tutor, created this website to introduce foreigners to the many wonders on Chichijima. Follow his blog posts to get a feel for what life is like on the island throughout the four seasons. Ludy writes about Pelan Village in this post.


 

 

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Born in Surf

This stunning surfing documentary by Nami and Matt walks the audience through contemporary surfing history through seven interviews with the island’s best surfers. The documentary  interviews Pelan Village’s Ryo Shimizu on his philosophy of surfing on the Ogasawara Archipelago. Documentary DVDs are available for sale on the website.


 

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PAPERSKY Magazine

Established in 2002 by Knee High Media Japan, this inspirational magazine makes it their mission to feature “unique stories and stunning photography which offers readers the sensation of travel”. To read about Pelan Village’s beginnings, read this article, “Memories of Island Life”.


 

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Life in Bonin Islands

This blog tracks the life of a city-dweller turned islander. There are a few cursory posts about living at Pelan Village.

Stories

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Born in Surf, a stunning surfing documentary filmed and directed by Nami Miyagawa and Matthew Clem, interviewed Pelan Village’s Ryo Shimizu on his life and love of surfing.

Here is an excerpt below. To watch a trailer to check out the upcoming DVD, head over to Born in Surf’s website.

Ryo Shimizu
Hooked on surfing, Ryo realized he had to live near the ocean. This moment led him to Ogasawara where he built his own home and guest house in Coffee Mountain overlooking yakiba beach. Pelan Village is a WWOOFing location and a state of mind, founded with the goal to live a lifestyle that will preserve the earth for the next 7 generations.  Ryo believes this is possible by changing the things that anyone, anywhere, and anytime are capable of doing.  The water saving process and lifestyle at Pelan certainly inspire the visitor to think more deeply and creatively about the resources we consume.  Ryo is also a kayaking tour guide and a founding member of Ogasawara’s Kaname Kai–a club that organizes an annual outrigger canoe race and other events focused on getting everyone involved with the ocean.  A passionate member of the Ogasawara community, Shimizu-san is constantly working to create opportunities for everyone.http://www.ogasawaramura.com/en/stay/area3/pelanvillage.html

Source: Stories