Jeep Island lists snorkeling, diving, and swimming with dolphins as its main attractions. But only Japanese people are permitted to visit.
Jeep Island was featured on Fuji Television’s 100 Top Picturesque Destinations in 2009, and if you take a look at Jeep Island’s website, you’ll notice the content is entirely in Japanese, although the island itself is located in Micronesia. The island’s caretaker, Mr Yoshida, himself a Japanese national, writes an extensive blog on the website detailing his travels to around 30 different countries over a 17-year-period, after which he discovered Jeep Island in Micronesia and opened it up to guests.
Those who wish to visit Jeep island in Micronesia must first fly to Guam, then to Chuuk, where the island’s Japanese staff will pick you up in a boat and bring you over to the tiny tropical paradise itself. If your party reaches eight people, you can reserve the whole island for your group’s private use. Prices range from 140,000 yen (US$1,271) in the off-season to 270,000 (US$2,452) in the peak season.
Here’s a YouTube video showing panoramic shots of the island:
The island’s website seems to cater to nervous travellers, reassuring potential visitors that no English ability is needed for a trip to Jeep Island, and that they will be met by Japanese staff upon their arrival. “It’s just like going to Okinawa!” states the official Q&A.
While a little light Googling shows that the general public impression of the island is that only Japanese guests are allowed, we couldn’t find anything on the website that outright states that. Instead, a Yahoo Answers post by divinglog2000, an alleged diving acquaintance of Mr Yoshida, states the following:
“The island itself is extremely small with no running water or electricity. Only groups of up to 10 visitors can be accommodated at once. The reason the island is meant for Japanese visitors is because, due to the small size of the island, issues with communication must be avoided. People without Japanese spirit, manners, education, and the sense of community that comes with being part of a homogeneous nation, cannot be coped with on such a small island. (This is how Mr. Yoshida feels.) People who wish to experience foreign culture should not come to the island. Groups of friends that include foreign residents (who live in Japan) may be accepted, but please ask first. Mr Yoshida truly loves the island and wants to protect it and share it with the youth of today’s Japan.”
Another post in response to an iteration of the same question, this time from jeep_micronesia, states that:
“Since it is not possible for non-indigenous people to purchase the islands in the area for money, Mr Yoshida is in fact a long-term renter of the island, as a result of the long and trusting relationship he has forged with the locals. Visitors to the island are counted as personal guests of Mr. Yoshida, and he wishes to invite Japanese visitors. Also, since men and women of all ages sleep together in a single bungalow, foreigners are not allowed. (The indigenous staff sleep in different accommodation.)”
jeep_micronesia then suggests that all further questions be directed to the official Jeep Island website’s forum, however it currently appears to be non-operational.
▼The island truly is tiny.
Since, for all intents and purposes, this is Mr Yoshida’s island, we imagine he can do what he wants with it, and who’s to say we wouldn’t all be as particular as to who we let visit if we had lordship over our own private tropical islands. Perhaps most of us wouldn’t immediately jump to banning everyone who’s not a resident of our country of birth, however…
What do you think about Jeep Island’s policy?