Can You Visit Iwo Jima?

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Iwo Jima might not be a destination on everybody’s bucket list. However, it is a fascinating place filled with a rich history. Anybody interested in dark military tourism will be blown away by the history, artifacts, and general scenery at Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima is currently used as a base for the Japanese defense force, so it is naturally a difficult place to gain access to.

Civilians can visit Iwo Jima. However, civilian visits to Iwo Jima are heavily restricted. Only a small number of visitors can visit annually. These visitors can visit the area only through an official guide. A few official tour groups are authorized to take visitors to enjoy Iwo Jima’s sights.

Can Civilians Visit Iwo Jima?

Iwo Jima is a fascinating tourist destination for anybody interested in dark military tourism. The Island has an exceptionally rich history, and there is an enormous amount to be learned from this place.

Civilian access to Iwo Jima is highly restricted. A small number of visitors are permitted at Iwo Jima every year, which is done only through official tour operators. The only way civilians can visit Iwo Jima is by joining a tour conducted by an official tour operator.

The tours of Iwo Jima generally include historians with extensive knowledge of the entire history of the region, including all aspects of past military activity. The authorized tours of Iwo Jima include a guide to the region’s key sites. In addition, visitors are given information on the strategies used by the American and Japanese forces and the bloody battle that ensued for over a month.

Any civilians visiting Iwo Jima must know that a significant amount of exercise is involved in the visit. Expect to walk and climb throughout your visit. As a result, you will need to wear appropriate clothing while ensuring you have enough water.

Iwo Jima, as many people know, is volcanic land. There is still an active volcano, and sulfur can be found in certain areas. Iwo Jima is exceptionally hot during summer, so there may be limited tours during the hotter parts of the year.

What Is Iwo Jima Used For Today?

Despite its history, Iwo Jima is still in use today for defense purposes. The Island was returned to the Japanese people in 1968 after over 23 years of US occupation after the invasion. Since this remote volcanic outpost was handed back to Japan, its purposes have remained the same – defense.

Despite its active defense force, Iwo Jima has a small contingent of tourists moving across its shores. Visitors come to learn about the past while enjoying the beautiful scenery that the Island has to offer.

The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force currently occupies Iwo Jima. It is from here that they offer support. In addition, Iwo Jima hosts air traffic control, fueling, rescue operations, and the operation of a naval airbase.

Iwo Jima is used as a base with a garrison of four hundred troops on the Island.

What Is There To See At Iwo Jima?

There is, in fact, a lot to see at Iwo Jima. Visitors to the Island will learn tons of information about the Island’s happenings and its surroundings. In addition, the scenery around Iwo Jima is simultaneously beautiful and fascinating.

One of the most popular tourist destinations on Iwo Jima is Mount Suribachi. This is where the flag was raised, and the famous photo was taken. While the hike up Mount Suribachi requires only moderate fitness levels, you must have proper shoes, snacks, and water. There are parts of the hike that are steep.

Bear in mind that Iwo Jima has few options for food, so taking your own food is highly advisable.

There are also beaches on Iwo Jima that are well worth a visit. Several wrecks from the days of the war can be found along the beaches. The wrecks include boats and other equipment that has washed ashore. These areas have a somewhat apocalyptic feel to them.

There are also some interesting abandoned airfields to visit at Iwo Jima. These airfields were fully operational during World War 2 but have since been abandoned. They still serve as particularly interesting places to visit at present.

The first Airfield is known as the central field. It is situated just south of the current airbase. The next Airfield is the unfinished Japanese Airfield situated North of the current airbase.

The airfields at Iwo Jima at somewhat iconic. Boasting three airfields, Iwo Jima is perfectly located as a station for fighter escorts. Crippled bombers returning from Japan also sought sanctuary here.

Which Organised Iwo Jima Tour Can I do?

One of the most popular Iwo Jima tours is the “Stephen Ambrose – War In The Pacific” tour. Stephen Ambrose is arguably the most well-known and reputable tour operator. When embarking on one of the Stephen Ambrose historical tours, you will have all of your needs taken care of.

These tours include travel, accommodation, and transfers to and from Hawaii.

This comprehensive tour will take visitors to various monuments and important sites. In addition, visitors will be given a thorough education on the American and Japanese strategies used during the famous conflict.

Guests will be taught all about the respective strategies of the respective groups and how these strategies played out across Iwo Jima and the other pacific islands such as Hawaii, Saipan, Tinian, and Guam.

One of the exciting highlights of the Stephen Ambrose tour is the visit to Battleship Pew at Pearl Harbor. This is a particularly famous spot and a favorite amongst history lovers. This is the location at which the Japanese were attacked in 1941. The remains of the well-known sunken ship USS Arizona rest at this spot, and this can be particularly interesting to view.

The next part of the tour involves visiting the invasion beaches. One such beach is at Saipan. It is here that hundreds of Japanese citizens jumped to their deaths. The next step is to visit Tinian. Tinian is known as the Airfield of departure for the Enola Gay. In addition, the well-known atomic bomb was located here.

The tour takes visitors to Guam. This is where numerous battle sites are located, and these are a significant part of the story in the Navajo Indian code talker’s role. In addition, this is also the site of the War Dog memorial.

The War Dog memorial, located at the Naval Facility, honors the Dobermans who served alongside the Marines. These dogs were killed during the battle while performing important duties such as leading scouting parties and exploring caves.

The next part of the tour involves climbing up Mount Suribachi on the Island of Iwo Jima. This is a particularly emotional hike, especially upon viewing the site where the flag was raised, symbolizing victory on Iwo Jima. This is also the location of the famous photograph that has gone down in history as one of the most iconic photographs ever taken throughout World War 2.

The final day of the Stephen Ambrose organized tour is spent in Guam. Here, the morning is spent recovering and reflecting on the previous day at Iwo Jima.