Yonaguni Island of Yaeyama Islands

  • Yonaguni Island, which is located in the western-most point of Japan, being only 111 kilometers from Taiwan, is truly an island that is on the country border. Kuroshio currents flow in the neighboring waters and it is known as a great fishing point where you can catch large migratory fish such as swordfish and tuna. It is said that you do not have to be a fishing enthusiast to be able to catch something and it is possible for even a beginner to catch a fish that is over 100kg in weight. Fishing is one of the great pleasures that you can enjoy on Yonaguni Island.


    Yonaguni is the last place in Japan that the sun sets. Beginning with the precipitous cliffs, Tategami Rock (middle), which divinely stands in the raging waves of the ocean, and Tyindahanata (right), a walk route with a steep cliff as its ceiling. It is quite enjoyable to walk around while looking at such beautiful scenery. On the shoreline with precipitous cliffs a Yonaguni Horse quietly grazes on the grassy meadows. In the ocean are countless big swordfish. Take a journey around this island on Japan’s western-most border, which has the feel of a foreign land.

    Driving on the main road of the island will make it easy to many of the amazing sightseeing spots that Yonaguni has to offer. The island has numerous cliffs, beaches, rock formations, and interesting fauna. Located near Kubura is Japan’s Westernmost Point. It is marked by a large stone and is right near the Cape of Irizaki. As you drive, you will have the chance to see many of Yonaguni’s mysterious rock formations. For each formation, there is a story that has been passed down during the generations. One of the most famous rock formations is called Tatigamiiwa which means “standing god rock”. This is the site of worship for Yonaguni’s Indigenous Religion and is close to the famous underwater ruins. Explorers have found writing near this rock which some say may even be phonecian writing.

    There are numerous beaches on Yonaguni. Some are rocky and some are flat due to protection by the coral reefs. Hikawa Beach is excellent for swimming and it is the largest beach on Yonaguni. Nanta Beach near Sonai Town is easily accessible and is great for a day of relaxing and tanning.

    In addition, the Yonaguni Horse, a special natural treasure that grazes on the vast meadow, is a great tourist attraction. Because it is friendly and quite small, children can also enjoy its company. Also try experiencing the “Yonaguniori”, a textile which is made by making geometrical designs with threads of very splendid colors.

    Yonaguni is also famous for the Yonaguni Horse. The Yonaguni horse has evolved into a very small breed. They are only about 3.5 feet tall. All over the island, you will see horses running wild. In total, there are about 108 wild horses that have free-reign on the island. You will see the horses and you will also see their poop! There is a horse center where you can also pet and ride these gentle animals. Yonaguni is also home to the largest moth in the world, the Atlas Moth and an extremely poisonous seashell known as the Anbonia. In addition to the Yonaguni Horse, you can also see the Yonaguni Atlas Moth. This is currently the world’s largest moth.

    Yonaguni Island was used during the filming of the popular television drama “Doctor Koto”. The television drama was broadcasted in 2003 and the open set used is still found on Yonaguni. The open set can be found directly next to Higawa Beach.

    You should also make a stop at the Kubura Fish Dock to see the morning auction action. The daily fish auction starts at 8:30am. A stop at this morning fish auction will give you a glimpse into what kind of fish is caught in the sea next to Yonaguni. Yonaguni is famous for its excellent deep sea fishing and is host to the yearly All-Japan Billfish Tournament in July. Anglers from all over the world gather in Yonaguni for three days of fishing, relaxing, and entertainment.

    The main attraction for Yonaguni is it’s spectacular diving. It is one of the best places in Japan to see hammerhead sharks as well as the site of the underwater ruins. The hammerhead sharks and the underwater ruins are all accessible by using a diving service. Sharks can be best seen from January through to February. The underwater ruins are thought by many to be the proof of an ancient advanced civilization. Worlds like “Atlantis”, “Continent of Mu”, “Lemuria” have all come to the table when discussing these ruins. Getting there might be the hardest part of seeing the ruins. The ruins are not accessible when there is bad weather because it will cause strong currents as well as strong waves. For a day trip to the ruins, it will usually cost about 12,000 yen. Dives to the ruins should only be done by experienced divers. The dive is very difficult due to the rough seas. One additional perk to Yonaguni diving is that it is the only place in Japan where one can see the giant whale shark. Although sightings are very rare, there is a chance of seeing one. Here are list of main attractions of Yonaguni Island (Yonaguni-jima):

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