Toshijima, the largest of Toba's islands, has a population of about 2,000. A group of local women offers tours, including one that takes visitors through the back alleys of a fishing town and introduces the ancient tradition of the ama, who free-dive for abalone and other delicacies. The island is also unique in preserving a longstanding custom known as neyako, which strengthens bonds among the local residents.
This island is home to about 300 people. It is well known in Japan as the location for the Mishima Yukio novel "Shio-sai (The Sound of Waves)" and its various movie adaptations. The houses are built into the steep slopes, reached by steps running up the side of this hilly island. In some parts of the island you can find a kind of limestone rock formation known as karst, which is formed through the action of the wind and rain off the sea.
To get to Toba from Tokyo, you take the Shinkansen bullet train to Nagoya, then transfer to a local line. In all it takes about four hours. To reach the four islands, ferries take from 10 to 40 minutes from Toba Port.