Kumejima (vē) is one of the islands that make up the Okinawa Shoto island group. It is located about 90 kilometers west of Okinawa Honto. Like many other of the small islands surrounding Okinawa Honto, Kumejima offers a less developed version of the beaches and Okinawan culture for which the prefecture is well known. Kumejima is quite small, and traveling from one end of the island to another rarely involves a journey longer than ten kilometers.

Like elsewhere in Okinawa, the beaches of Kumejima, snorkeling and diving are among the principal attractions for visitors. Hatenohama Beach, an approximately seven kilometer long sand bar surrounded by water just east of the island, is Kumejima's most famous attraction. The beach is highly regarded for its white sand, but can only be accessed by joining a tour. The other beaches of Kumejima are also quite attractive, and are generally less busy than the beaches found on Okinawa Honto.

Kumejima developed similarly to the rest of the archipelago, where regional rulers appeared and built castles as their seats of power. The Uegusuku Castle Ruins stand on one of the island's highest peaks, affording panoramic views of the surrounding area. However, the castle was not able to resist the forces from Okinawa Honto, and Kumejima became part of the Ryukyu Kingdom in the early 1500s.

Kumejima has two major towns, one is located around the port and is inhabited mostly by locals, while the other is a small town of hotels, restaurants and shops near the Eef Beach, catering to tourists. A number of small attractions are scattered all throughout the island:

Beaches and snorkeling

Hatenohama Beach

Half day around 3500 yen; full day with lunch around 4500 yen

Ara Beach

Admission: Free, no parking fees

Eef Beach

Admission: Free, no parking fees

Shinri Beach

Admission: Free, no parking fees

Other attractions

Uezu Residence

Hours: 9:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 300 yen

Uegusuku Castle Ruins

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Pools of Tropical Fish

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Tatami Ishi Rocks

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Torinokuchi Rock

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Mifuga Rock

Hours: Always open
Admission: Free

Getting there and around

How to get to Kumejima

By air

JAL and RAC (Ryukyu Air Commuter), a member of the JAL Group, operate about 6-8 flights per day between Kumejima and Naha Airport on Okinawa Honto (how to get to Okinawa Honto). Flight duration is about 35 minutes. The regular one way fare is around 13,000 yen, however, discount tickets are usually available for around 8,000 yen.

During the summer, JAL operates one direct flight per day between Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Kumejima. Flight duration is about 2.5 hours. The regular one way fare is around 56,000 yen, however, discount tickets are usually available for about 20,000 yen.

By ferry

Kumejima (Kanegusuku Port) and Naha (Naha Tomari Port) are connected by ferries operated by the Kume Shosen Company. There are two round trips per day, with some of them stopping at Tonaki Island along the way. The one way trip takes 3.5 to 4 hours and costs 3450 yen. A round trip costs 6560 yen. Online reservations can be made through Direct Ferries or Klook.

How to get to and around the Okinawa Islands

How to get around Kumejima

Rental cars are available through a small number of companies at the airport and port and are the most convenient way to travel around the island, while bicycles and motorcycles can be rented from some hotels and minshuku on the island.

There are three bus lines on Kumejima: The Loop Line travels in a circle along the island's main road (4-5 buses per day in either direction), the Airport Line connects the airport with Eef Beach (5-6 round trips per day), and the Shimajiri Line travels from Eef Beach to the southern tip of the island (2-3 round trips per day). Fares depend on the distance traveled and range from 120 yen to 470 yen.