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.