Over a year ago I read an article in a magazine about there being an island in Tokyo Bay which can be easily reached on a day trip. Even now, many of my students haven’t even heard of it. Monkey Island (Saru-shima) is just 15 minutes away from the south-west coast of Tokyo.
A couple of Sunday’s ago Michael and I set off for day away from it all which was made a bit more difficult in terms of getting there due to work being done of the main line that takes you to the naval port city of Yokosuka which is the gateway to the island. It may have absolutely bucketed it down with rain the night before but it was a beautiful sunny September day on what was likely to be the last summer weekend.
Sarushima is certainly no paradise island but the excitement came from just being able to take an island break from the concrete jungle while not actually leaving Tokyo. The island consists of a small beach on one end which is packed full of day trippers having barbecues on the black sand while the rest of the tiny island consists of vegetation surrounding the brick lined WWII tunnels and the remains of artillery positions.
It only took a very leisurely hour to see the whole island (a cave, rock pools, rocky promontory for fishing) and then we found a spot on the beach to sit among the crowds where we drank a few beers (bought from the island shop), had a quick swim and fell asleep before getting the last boat back to the mainland.
Despite the islands name there are no monkeys on Sarushima. A priest was supposedly once guided to the beach by a white monkey or something like that and thats where the island gets its name.