Yaeyama Islands Tourism

Yaeyama Islands Tourism

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.


Island Area Population Distance from Ishigaki Port
Iriomote 289.27km² 2347 31.4km (to Ohara town)
Ishigaki 222.48km² 48000 -/-
Taketomi Island 5.42km² 361 6.5km
Yonaguni 28.84km² 1800 127km
Hateruma 12.75km² 600 56km
Kuro/ Kuroshima 10.02km² 210 18.8km
Kohama 7.81km² 490 17.7km
Aragusuku (Uechi/Shitachi) 1.76km²/1.58km² 6/9 24km
Hatoma 0.96km² 60 34km

Geographical Location:

  • Latitude: 24°03' to 25°25'
  • Longitude: -122°56' to -124°20'

Average Temperatures:

  • 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).