The preserved village on Taketomi Island doesn’t allow cars, so visitors have a choice of getting about by foot, by bicycle, or by suigyūsha (water buffalo). This last choice is very popular among travelers who want to get a unique tour of the island. During the ride, which lasts about a half hour, the guide will both inform you about the island and the village and will entertain you by singing and playing local music on a sanshin (traditional stringed instrument). The guide will be free to do this for you, as the water buffalo are highly skilled in finding their way around.
On Iriomote Island sits Mariyudo Falls, a magnificent waterfall that is accessible by a 40-minute walk from Gunkan-iwa Rock, a stone that sits next to the boating docks of Urauchi River. After docking, visitors walk to an observation area that overlooks the falls from 16 meters (53 feet) above the water (a little further and visitors can see and touch the waterfall firsthand). The falls are named for the sediment pool at the bottom of the rapids. Mariyudo Falls is noted as one of the most beautiful falls in Japan and the largest one on the Okinawa Islands.
A picturesque name for an equally charming panorama, Hoshizuna no Hama, which translates to Star Sand Beach, is one of two beaches in Japan that has grains of sand that are in the shape of stars. What is even more fascinating, is that the asterisk-shaped grains are actually skeletons of mono-celled organisms (Baclogypsina sphaerulata to be exact).The water can get a bit too shallow (depending on the tides) for swimming, but a scenic leisurely outing is always a sure thing at this destination.
Pinaisara Falls’ name describes its resemblance to an old man’s beard, although in the case of the tallest waterfall in Okinawa, those would be some long 55-meter (about 181 feet) whiskers. Located in Funaura Bay on Iriomote Island, there are three ways to reach this natural attraction: 1) by foot, 2) by canoe, or 3) by sightseeing boat (in order of most to least rigorous). No matter which way you choose to reach this beautiful natural scene, there will be walking involved, so this is definitely not an activity for those who will have difficulty with this. Another thing to note, as with all falls, is the changing water level at the base pool.
Experience the tranquil of nature as you visit the peaceful Nishihama Beach. This beach is popular among locals and tourists alike and is known for its pristine beauty. The clear blue waters, white-sand and breezy winds at the beach set the right ambiance for a romantic stroll or a walk by yourself. For the adventure-seekers, Nishihama Beach offers several water-sporting facilities to enjoy. You can snorkel swim, scuba-dive and much more at this beach. So, take some time off from your regular schedule and enjoy an outing with your loved ones at Nishihama Beach.
Touted to have one of the longest beaches in the country, Kondoi Beach is a beautiful beach is Japan. The picturesque beach features clear waters and white sand that are just perfect for a fun-filled outing with your loved ones and are popular among locals and tourists alike. You can enjoy a cooling dip in its water or relax and sun-bathe by the bay, you are sure to enjoy your time here.
Clasped within the tight embrace of lush woodlands, Iriomote Island is best-known for duly anchoring the periled Iriomote wildcat. The largest of the Yaeyama archipelago, the island is a picturesque paradise, the coastline of which is stippled with dainty coastal hamlets. Accentuated by undisturbed swathes of wilderness and deep blue waters of the sea, this island is where mystical, emerald-hued mangrove forests gorgeously arch above trickling, meandering rivers. Here is where adventure enthusiasts snorkel deep into its warm waters, while a multitude of melodious birds croon its thick, forested cavities. Interspersed with a tracery of untouched beaches and winding hiking trails, the island is a resplendent canvas where nature liberally splashes its wild, entrancing silhouettes. From swamps and sugar canes to waterfalls and humble locals, this island is an inviting escape that further encompasses attractions like the Iriomote National Park and the gushing Pinaisara-no-taki falls.
Ensconced in the turquoise waters of the East China Sea, the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park is home to one of Japan's largest mangrove forests. The island that the park calls home is at the deep southern end of the country believed to have disjointed from the mainland several millennia ago. This phenomena is thought to have been responsible for the park's population of the endemic Iriomote Cat, whose lineage can be traced back to the neighboring landmasses. Apart from the exotic feline specie, Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park is home to several endemic plant species like the Yaeyama palm tree and the Macodes petola that complete its verdant environs. Designated as a National Natural Monument of Japan, the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park's clear skies are often circled by Crested serpent eagles. Their gaze fondly overlooking the region's coral-rich blue waters that are patrolled by the manta rays.