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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Okinawa - Yaeyama Islands
Taketomi Island 
# 3   of 3 most visited sights
in Yaeyama Islands

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Taketomi Island (|x, Taketomijima) is an island just off the coast of Ishigaki Island and the site of a beautifully preserved, traditional Ryukyu village. As Taketomi Island is fairly small, it is often visited as a day trip from Ishigaki.

Thanks to preservation efforts, the small village consists almost entirely of traditional style, one-storied houses, which are surrounded by stone walls, and covered with red tiled roofs and ample lion-like shiza statues to ward of evil spirits. Some of the village's houses serve as minshuku accommodations.

Other traditional homes inside the village are used as restaurants and shops selling local food and crafts. There are no rental cars on Taketomi, and most visitors either walk or rent a bicycle to travel through the village's white sand roads and to the nearby beaches along the western shore of the island.

The preserved traditional streets of Taketomi Island

Attractions:

Water Buffalo Cart Rides
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Fee: 1200 yen
Two companies offer water buffalo drawn cart tours of Taketomi Village. The 30 minute tours travel around the preserved, traditional streets of the village while a Japanese speaking guide talks about the island, sings songs and plays Okinawan music on their sanshin (Okinawan stringed instrument). You may notice that the guides rarely offer guidance to the water buffalo who know their routes by heart.

Nagominoto Tower
The 4.5 meter tall Nagominoto Tower sits roughly in the center of the village, from where you have a view over most of the island. Combined with the hill on which it stands, the tower is about 10 meters above the surrounding houses. Its steps are rather steep and narrow and no more than two people should be on the platform at a time. Below the tower is a grassy area, with a few shops and restaurants nearby.

Beaches:

Taketomi Island has both sandy beaches and rocky beaches where you can enjoy swimming and snorkeling. Except for Kondoi Beach, the beaches do not have any public facilities.

When using the beaches always beware of strong currents that can pull you out to sea and poisonous creatures such as Habu Jellyfish, a type of box jellyfish, that are most prevalent from June to October. Signs in English inform about the dangers while some beaches have netted off swimming areas. Although stings are rare, if stung you should pour vinegar over the sting, remove any tentacles, and seek medical help as it may become life threatening.

Kondoi Beach
Kondoi Beach is Taketomi Island's best beach with emerald green water with a shallow, sandy floor. It has a large white sand beach that is perfect for laying out in the sun, and warm waters to swim in, although they are too shallow to swim in during low tide. Grassy, shaded picnic areas as well as restroom, changing, and rental facilities are also available.

Kaiji Beach
This beach, together with Hoshizuna Beach on Iriomote Island, is known for its sand which is shaped like tiny stars (although it is actually made up of the skeletons of small one-celled organisms that live among the sea grass). Though a protected beach today, little star sand remains as it was bottled and sold as souvenirs in past decades. Swimming and snorkeling are only possible during high tide, and there are no facilities available at the beach.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Three ferry companies operate high speed ferries and an infrequent car ferry, between Ishigaki Island and Taketomi Island. Boats depart every 30 minutes between 7:30 and 17:30 with a short break around noon. The roundtrip fare is 1330 yen, and the one way trip takes 10 minutes by high speed ferry, and 15 minutes by car ferry.

Taketomi Island is small, and it is possible to explore the island entirely on foot or by rental bicycle (300 yen per hour, or 1500 yen per day). Another popular way to tour the village is from a water buffalo drawn cart.

The water buffalo tour operators and bicycle rental companies offer free shuttle service between the ferry terminal and their respective locations (no reservations required). Otherwise, the village can be reached in a 10-15 minute walk from the pier.

How to get to and around the Yaeyama Islands

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Tours and Packages
Okinawa Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Okinawa.

User Ratings
Ratings for Taketomi Island:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of the best  
User Rating (by 53 users):
93/100
  highly recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 786):
22.  Railway Museum (Nagoya)   93/100
23.  Sefa Utaki (Okinawa Island)   93/100
24.  Todaiji Temple (Nara)   93/100
25.  Cherry Blossoms (Kakunodate)   93/100
26.  Himeji Castle (Himeji)   93/100
27.  Taketomi Island (Yaeyama Islands)   93/100
28.  Climbing Mount Fuji (Mount Fuji)   93/100
29.  Peace Park (Hiroshima)   93/100
30.  Hot Springs (Kinosaki)   93/100
31.  Kobe Beef (Kobe)   92/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
496.  Oshinkoshin Falls (Shiretoko)   89
497.  Rurikoji Temple (Yamaguchi)   89
498.  Izu Cactus Park (Izu Peninsula)   89
499.  Shiratani Unsuikyo (Yakushima)   88
500.  Tobu World Square (Kinugawa Onsen)   88
501.  Taketomi Island (Yaeyama Islands)   87
502.  Kawasaki Daishi (Kawasaki)   87
503.  Hearn Residence (Matsue)   87
504.  Suganuma Village (Shirakawa-go)   87
505.  Tsuboya District (Okinawa Island)   87

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
Anei Kanko
Official English website of the ferry company.
Ishigaki Dream Kanko
Official English website of a ferry company.

Japanese Links
Yaeyama Kanko Ferry
Official website of the ferry company.
Anei Kanko
Official website of the ferry company.
Ishigaki Dream Kanko
Official website of a ferry company.

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