Oshima is a subtropical island located only 30 minutes by air south of Tokyo.
The name Oshima means "Big Island" in Japanese and has sister island connections with the Big
Island of Hawaii. Oshima feels like a mix of all the Hawaiian islands, with much to offer any
visitor who wants to get back to nature.
The entire island is a lush and beautiful national park, the home of many rare
species of plants and wildlife, with a range of environment from rain forest to lava desert. Mt
Mihara is the central volcano that last erupted in 1986, situated on the junction of two major
You can drive around the island in one hour, and yet the six villages that
dot the coastline each have a different dialect of speech and a tradition of separation that dates
back hundreds of years. The historic Shoguns carefully guarded their ruling power by preventing the
people from gathering. Though there are many mysterious hidden shrines around the island, no
central spiritual ceremony had been held for unknown centuries. The local villagers still tend to
think separately and some of the younger people want change.
At the request of our enthusiastic Huna group on Oshima, we began to prepare
for a Huna Abundance ceremony that would bring the villages together on July 15, 2000. About 20 of
us gathered from Oshima, Kyoto and Tokyo to perform the ancient Hawaiian ritual. Plenty of effort
and cooperation by all of the participants was required. We will all remember the preparation
adventures the day before -- the tire puncture that helped us to choose the correct location, the
trek through the jungle with a machete to clear a ceremony site, finding lava stones on the beach,
building the heiau altar, and finding the flowers and vines to make the lei's and
At least one representative from each of the villages was present at the
ceremony. We offered fruits and flowers, sacred ritual, blessings and dance to unite Oshima's six
villages in spirit and create a new sense of harmony with the island. The ceremony was dedicated
with gratitude to various spirits and kami-sama within nature including the island spirit itself -
Govinka - a volcanic sister to Pele. See the Oshima Photos page for
some lush views.
Several auspicious events surrounded the ceremony including the huge
earthquake that SHOOK us on Oshima and left damage on nearby Nijima island on the morning of the
ceremony. An exceptionally long Lunar eclipse followed the next evening. So far, earth movement has
stopped on the island after the ceremony, and I trust that our efforts and gratitude have had some
influence. Since then, Miyakejima, further to the south has erupted violently and all of the
population has been evacuated.
A small confirmation that what we had done was recognized by spirit came during
our visit to a hotspring after the ceremony. As we were cooling off after a long soak and watching
the sunset, a small brave bird - a swallow, came and landed on several of our shoulders and would
rest on our outstretched finger with no fear whatsoever. Communion with Nature.
Watching the Lunar eclipse the next evening while soaking in another hotspring
under the stars at the top of the volcano was another unforgettable experience. We could feel that
Oshima's "Big Island" connections were now strengthened and the locals want to continue the
ceremony each year.
- Flint -
Map courtesy of Tokyo Classified
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