You live on a tiny but beautiful island off the coasts of some of Japan’s biggest cities. Your little town only has about 3000 residents, so everyone knows each other intimately. Your have some beautiful beaches and genrally, you live an idyllic life. Suddenly, a horrifying alarm, that can be heard throughout the island, goes off suddenly and you quickly pull out your gas mask, that every person is required to have with them at all times, and put it on so you don’t die. Welcome to Miyake Island.
Before it became home to the world’s biggest post-apocalyptic flash mobs, Miyake-jima was simply a beautiful place to live and visit. However, from time to time its most devastating inhabitant, the active volcano Mount Oyama, decides to erupt without a warning. It did so in 1940, when lava flow from the volcano killed 11 people. It happened again in 1962 and 1983. But it was just the beginning.
In 2000, a mass evacuation was instituted due to extremely high levels of toxic gas in the area after a series of eruptions from the volcano. All flights into the area were stopped for over eight years due to the high levels of sulphur. Miyakejima residents were finally permitted to return to their ‘normal’ routines in 2005 though they are required to carry a gas mask with them at all times.
But the islanders of Miyakejima do not bewail their situation, far from it. They have turned living on a deadly gas covered island into a hot tourist attraction. Tourists come from all over Japan to experience Japan’s deadliest island. They enjoy the hot springs and take tours in areas of the island that were destroyed by the volcano.
Miyake Island is a really unique place and is indeed well-worth the visit. Just don’t forget to bring your gas mask!