The population of Aragusuku Island (Aragusuku-jima) is approximately 6 people! The island is called “Panari” by locals because it means “separated”. Aragusuku is actually made up of two separate islands that are connected by a coral shoal.
During low tide, you can actually walk between the two islands. This area was once home to Dugong which are manatee-looking mammals. The locals would catch this dugong and use them to pay their taxes to the Ryukyu Government.
Aragusuku is located right next to Iriomote Island. The only way to get to these islands is via a private tour company. Aragusuku Island has an excellent coral reef for snorkeling as well as an interesting village to explore.
The island is still home to many houses, most of which are uninhabited. The island of Aragusuku was once heavily populated and even had a school. The island has its own type of pottery called Panari-yaki which was made until about 150 years ago.
It is said that a great deal of the population was killed in a large tsunami that occurred long ago. As the population became older, many people moved away to neighboring islands.
Note of Caution: Please do not enter the shrines that are found on the island. The shrines are sacred places that only locals and relatives of locals can enter. Also, no one is allowed to camp or stay overnight on Aragusuku Island.
Below are tour companies that offer day tours/rides to Aragusuku Island.
There are no stores, no shops, literally nothing that is commercial on Aragusuku Island. You will find nature, nature, and more nature. Also, please remember that the houses on the island are privately owned so please do not enter them. Have a safe and fun time exploring!
Want to know more about Aragusuku Island? Here are some links…
Hirata Tourism Company – “Aragusuku Island”
Aragusuku Island, Taketomi-cho (Taketomi Town)
Okinawa Island’s – Aragusuku Island
Kanpira-so Hotel – Aragusuku Island
Anei Kanko Co. – Sightseeing Boat Tour Operator for Aragusuku Island (Panari) of Yaeyama Islands