OKINAWA’S REMOTE ISLANDS
Okinawa can be roughly divided into three areas: the mainland and the surrounding islands; the Miyako Islands; and Yaeyama Islands, each of which includes remote islands of various sizes. Each of the remote islands has abundant nature and a relaxed flow of time, which are lost in urban areas, and the charms of which keep attracting visitors, such as tourists and divers.
The remote islands around the mainland include Kume Island, the Kerama Islands, which are famous for having one of the most beautiful waters in the world, and Ie Island. Located within a day-trip distance from the mainland by airplane or boat, these islands are recommended for those who want to visit remote islands in addition to the mainland.
Among the islands, Kume Island, located 35 minutes away from Naha Airport by airplane, is especially popular as a place that offers a convenient yet remote-island experience, and a direct flight from Tokyo is available during high season. “Hate-no-hama” beach is a popular tourist spot with three islands each consisting only of a beautiful sand beach. One step on this beach, which can be called a work of nature’s art, and you will have a wordless feeling of euphoria. Kume Island also has a resort spa facility,“Bade Haus Kume-Island,” which has a bade pool 100% filled with “deep seawater,” providing a place to easily enjoy a remote island even for those not inclined to strain themselves.
One of the Miyako Islands, the main Miyako Island, is famous for having unique culture and customs, as well as beautiful nature, such as “Yabiji,” a huge coral reef group, “Higashi-hennazaki,” a cape designated as one of the Best One Hundred Views of Japan, and “Yonahamae-hama Beach,” which is said to be the most beautiful white-sand beach in Asia. The island also has the “Ueno German Culture Village,” a theme park commemorating the interaction between the island and Germany since the rescue of the crew of a German merchant ship that was wrecked in the nearby sea. It has various displays related to Germany, including a real piece of the “Berlin Wall” and a building that is modeled after Marksburg Castle standing on the Rhine River in Germany.
Among all the remote Okinawan islands, the Yaeyama Islands are the most popular islands. Ishigaki Island has many places where you can enjoy spectacular views, such as Kabira Bay and Shiraho Beach, as well as serving as a gateway to the surrounding islands, including Taketomi Island, Kohama Island, Iriomote Island, Hatoma Island, Kuro Island, Hateruma Island, and Yonaguni Island. These islands attract visitors with different appeals. If you have been to Okinawa more than once in the past and/or want to enjoy true wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of a city, you should visit these islands to discover your own personal favorite.