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Goin’ Japanesque!

Make an Overnight Stay in Taketomi Island and Enjoy Genuine Okinawa!

Taketomi Island is a remote island of Okinawa Prefecture located about 6 kilometers west to Ishigaki Island, the distance reachable in about 10 minutes by high speed boat. It is a small island of about 9 kilometers circumference and best known for the scenery with red roof tiles and white beaches. The island has retained the archetypal landscape of Okinawa to date and especially the village with old red-roofed houses is designated as an important preservation district for the groups of traditional buildings. Here I am taking this opportunity to introduce to you the appeal of the island and share my experience there. Title: Photo by flickr

 

How to Get There?

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Ishigaki Port: Photo by flickr

Ferry service to Taketomi Island is available from the ferry terminal (specifically designed for the services to remote islands) at Ishigaki Port. It takes you to the island in about 10 minutes. The ferries operated by Anei Kanko and Yaeyama Kanko Ferry depart at 30 minute intervals to the island for the round trip fare of 1,150 Yen (590 Yen for children). The boarding ticket can be purchased at the ticket office of the terminal and online.

Once you arrive at Taketomi Port, it’s just about 1 kilometer to the village. Rental bicycle is a great choice if you look to tour around the island. A rental bike is available for 300 yen per hour and if you have a reservation, you can get a pickup service from the port to the village.

 

Okinawan Archetypal Landscape Preserved by the Locals

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White Sand Road, Photo by flickr

The white sand roads in the village are cleaned every morning by the locals and beautifully maintained.

In 1986, the “Taketomi Charter” containing four rules of “No Selling” “No Littering/Polluting” “No Disturbing” and “No Destructing” was established. It also contains principles for the locals to respect the island’s tradition and on how they should treat tourists.

The tradition and the scenery of the island have been preserved by such continuous efforts of the locals.

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Writer’s Photo

When I arrived at the inn I had booked, the owner “Obaa”, meaning grandma in local Okinawan dialect, gave me a warm welcome. She showed me around the inn and talked in a very friendly manner asking me “Where are you from?” and “What’s your plan today?”

Taketomi Island has less resort-hotelish accommodation facilities and more casual inns. At night, the locals often gather for a party, which is traditionally called “yuntaku.” You will surely be able to have some unforgettable experience if you join in with them.

 

To the Peaceful Kondoi Beach!

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Writer’s Photo

In the west of the island is Kondoi Beach, the best swimming spot in Taketomi Island. The bright white beach and the transparent sea make stunningly beautiful scenery. Jump into the water and you will be immersed in the beautiful blue of the sea and the sky and the brightness will almost make you dizzy. As the sea here is surrounded by coral reefs, you can walk in the shallow and calm water far into the offshore area.

 

Sunset from Nishi Sanbashi Pier and the Star Filled Sky

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Nishi Sanbashi Pier, Photo by flickr

If you go north from Kondoi Beach, you will find Nishi Sanbashi, the pier stretching straight into the sea. From the pier of about 105 meters, you can enjoy watching the sun set slowly into the sea.

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Writer’s Photo

The pier is made of stone and said to be constructed by the locals in 1938. It was designated as an important tangible cultural property in 2005. It had served as an anchorage ground for boats until around 1971 and today makes one of the popular tourist spots on the island.

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Starry Night of Taketomi Island, Photo by flickr

Once it gets dark, the night sky on the island becomes filled with stars. As the island does not have many light sources and the air is clear, I could see even the milkyway and many shooting stars. Looking up at the night sky here seems entirely different from doing so in an urban area even though we are looking up at the same sky.

 

Lots of Cats in the Refreshing Morning

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Writer’s Photo

Taketomi Island is also widely known as an “island of cats.” When I went to Kondoi Beach early in the morning, I found many cats. I felt totally at ease with those cats friendly nestling up to my feet. If you are a cat lover, you definitely want to try an early morning walk here.

 

Plan an Overnight Stay and Fully Enjoy Taketomi Island

Taketomi Island shows you many different aspects depending on the time of the day. Here you can vividly feel the unique and specific atmosphere which has been preserved in everyday lives of the islanders. The island is very popular as a day trip destination but overnight stay is highly recommended if you have enough time. Saved from overdevelopment as a resort, the island allows you to enjoy its stunningly beautiful archetypal landscape of Okinawa.

Related Articles:
9 Highlights from Okinawa’s “Gusuku” World Heritage Site

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