At the southern extremity of Japan lies a small archipelago called the Yaeyama Islands (Yaeyama-shoto). The Yaeyama archipelago is located 450 kilometers southwest of mainland Okinawa.
With Ishigaki Island as its center, Taketomi Island, Kohama, Kuro/ Kuroshima, Hateruma, Iriomote, Yonaguni, Hatoma and Yufu islands belong to the group. Yaeyama Islands are linking Asia and the Pacific, closer to Taiwan. The development of Yaeyama Islands is quite separate from the 18th century Japanese influences of the Satsuma period coming down from the north, and linked directly to much earlier migrations and influences from China and perhaps Taiwan and the Philippines to the south.
A short visit to the Yaeyama Islands in the southern Okinawa archipelago immediately indicates many intriguing aspects of local geography, culture, history, society and contemporary development. In all these aspects, even a short stay demonstrates there are many similarities between Yaeyama and the islands of the south and north Pacific in both the distant past and in the contemporary period. Administratively, Yaeyama is divided into, consisting of Ishigaki Island, and Taketomi-Town, which comprises Iriomote, Taketomi, Kuroshima, Hateruma, Hatoma, Kume and other small islands. Yonaguni Island, at the western tip of Japan, forms Yonaguni-Town.
If you are looking for a way to enjoy your Yaeyama time why not check out Taketomi Island. It is only a 10 minute ferry ride from Ishigaki and is best enjoyed by a leisurely bike ride. Visit the ruins of two 13th century villages, a walk through the Historic Preservation precinct of Taketomi village and a visit to the Taketomi Museum. Visit to the Prefecture Museum, Cultural Preservation Office, Uganzaki peninsula and lighthouse, Kabira shell mound, Kabira Bay, a palm forest, Mount Banna, the memorial to Ishigaki victims who were relocated and died during the Pacific War, and most impressive of all, Taketomi Island.
- Latitude: 24°03′ to 25°25′
- Longitude: -122°56′ to -124°20′
- High: 34.1°C
- Low: 10.4°C
- Year: 23.8°C
Highest Elevation: Omotake (Ishigaki) 526m
Longest River: Urauchigawa (Iriomote) 17.6km
A red blooming flower which next to hibiscus is widely found on all islands.
This is one of the nicest words in Okinawa, meaning “we are brothers as we meet”. This does not only come true over a few glasses of native beverages, such as Awamori.
Noodle soup with stripes of pork often served as a set with rice and other fine items. Excellent for a light lunch.
Requiring no translation, Okinawa’s famous local beer is made by the Orion breweries. For fairness, more local beer is made on Ishigaki, the “Dachsbrau” brewed in German tradition with “Weizen”, “Dunkel”, “Pils” and “Helles” on the offer. Excellent at ANY time (except when diving and driving, please).