Welcome to Ogasawara Archipelago
Just as fascinating as its natural attractions is the human history. Mapped by the Japanese in the 16th century, the islands' earliest inhabitants were a motley crew of Europeans and Pacific Islanders who set up provisioning stations for ships working the Japan whaling grounds in 1830. Around 100 descendants of these settlers, known as obeikei, still live on the islands, accounting for the occasional Western name and face. US Commodore Matthew Perry stopped here en route to Japan proper in 1853, when the archipelago was known as the Bonin Islands – it gained the name Ogasawara in 1875 when the Meiji government claimed the territory.