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Yonaguni Island (^ߍ, Yonaguni-jima) is the westernmost island of Japan. It is located in Okinawa Prefecture and is a part of the Yaeyama Islands. The small island has a circumference of about 30 kilometers and a population of under 2000 people. It is known for marine activities like scuba diving and its native fauna, which includes the Atlas moth and Yonaguni horse.

The main attractions for scuba divers are large numbers of migrating hammerhead sharks that can be seen around the island between late November and May, and the unique "underwater ruins", known as the Yonaguni Monument. The underwater stone formations appear geometrically so perfect that there is a debate to whether they are natural or man-made.

Prices for single dives for certified divers start from about 8500 yen and typically include a guide, transport, tank and wetsuit. Trial dives are available for non-certified divers, and the prices typically start from 15,000 yen including all equipment and gear. Note that trial dives to the underwater monument cost around 25,000 yen but are not recommended for beginners due to strong currents.

Numerous beaches can be found along the island's coast, offering clear waters for swimming. Unlike the other Yaeyama Islands, Yonaguni does not have much coral reef, but is exposed to the sea and its currents. Swimmers enter at their own risk.

Yonaguni is home to the Yonaguni horse, a native Japanese breed. These pony-sized horses have brown hair and were originally used for riding. Today they are a protected and allowed to roam freely in the three pastures near the villages. Texas gates, a grid of slates above a depression on the road, act as a barrier and deter the horses from leaving the pastures.

There are three villages on the island: Sonai in the north, Kubura in the west and Higawa in the south. The most populous village is Sonai, followed by the fishing village of Kubura. Higawa has only around 100 inhabitants.

Below are some of the attractions on Yonaguni:

Westernmost Point and Irizaki Lighthouse

Agarizaki Lighthouse

Gunkan and Tategami rocks

Tindabana Viewpoint

Atlas Moth Museum

Hours: 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: 500 yen
Closed: Tuesdays, national holidays and New Year holidays

Dr. Koto Clinic

Hours: 10:00 to 18:00
Admission: 300 yen
Closed: No closing days

Getting there and around

Yonaguni is about equally close to Taiwan as to Ishigaki; however, the only way to access Yonaguni is from Naha or Ishigaki, the main transportation hubs of the Okinawa Islands and the Yaeyama Islands respectively.

How to get to Yonaguni Island

By air from Naha   (how to get to Naha)

Ryukyu Air Commuter (RAC), a member of the JAL Group, operates one daily flight between Naha Airport and Yonaguni Airport. Flight duration is around 75 minutes. The regular one way fare is about 35,000 yen, while discount fares are usually available for around 20,000 yen.

By air from Ishigaki   (how to get to Ishigaki)

Ryukyu Air Commuter (RAC), a member of the JAL Group, operates three daily flights between Ishigaki Airport and Yonaguni Airport. Flight duration is around 30 minutes. The regular one way fare costs about 13,000 yen, while discount fares are usually available for about 8000 yen.

By ferry from Ishigaki   (how to get to Ishigaki)

Twice weekly, a car ferry makes the journey between Ishigaki and Kubura Port on the western end of Yonaguni Island. The one way journey takes about 4.5 hours and costs 3550 yen. A round trip fare is available for 6750 yen and must be used within 14 days. The cost for bringing an average sized car onto the ferry is about 30,000 yen one way.

How to get around Yonaguni Island

There is one road that runs along the perimeter of Yonaguni Island and connects Yonaguni Airport, the three villages and most of the island's attractions with each other, as well as a few roads that cross the island.

A free community bus runs about once every two hours along the western half of the island and serves the three villages. Besides the public bus, rental vehicles like cars and mopeds are available on the island. A compact car costs about 5000 yen per day, while a moped costs about 3000 yen. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.

Rental bicycles are available from the rental shops or from your accommodation. It takes about three to four hours to cycle around the island, and an electric-assisted bicycle is recommended due to the distance and hilly terrain in some parts of the island. It costs between 1500 and 3000 yen to rent a bicycle for 24 hours.

How to get to and around the Yaeyama Islands

Hotels around Yaeyama Islands

Top rated on the Yaeyama Islands
Budget:
    • Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima
      Mid-range
      Situated in Ishigaki Island, 400 metres from Fusaki Beach, Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima features accommodation with a garden, free private parking and a terrace. This 3-star hotel offers luggage storage space and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 2.3 km from Shanishani Beach. All rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a fridge, a microwave, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a wardrobe. The hotel offers some rooms with sea views, and rooms are equipped with a balcony. All units have a private bathroom, a hairdryer and bed linen. Guests at Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima will be able to enjoy activities in and around Ishigaki Island, like fishing. Yaeyama Museum is 7.2 km from the accommodation, while Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 27 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 18 km from Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima.
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    • Matsukaze The Guest House Ishigaki
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi, Matsukaze The Guest House Ishigaki is located across the street from the bus stop and a supermarket. The property is 1 km from Yaeyama Museum. Property staff can assist guests with creating their travel plans and give advise on nearby areas. Featuring a terrace, this 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a shared bathroom. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen and a shared lounge for guests. The living room features tatami (woven-straw) floors and a seating area where guests can relax. A washing machine is provided for guests during their stay for their comfort, while detergent is available for an additional fee. Guests can rent a bicycle to explore the nearby areas or go snorkeling with a rental snorkeling set available on site. Ishigaki Port Ritoh Terminal is a 8-minute drive or a 15-minute walk from the guest house. Kabira Bay is 13 km from the guest house, while Yonehara Beach is 13 km away. New Ishigaki Airport is 10 km from the property.
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    • Guesthouse Asibina
      Budget-friendly
      Boasting a terrace, Guesthouse Asibina is a guest house situated in Ishigaki Island, a 15-minute walk from Yaeyama Kanko Ferry Terminal. The guest house with free WiFi is 13 km away from Yonehara Beach and Kabira Bay. Attractions in the area include Sukuji Beach, 15 km away, or Tamatorizaki Observation Point, set 21 km from the property. All guest rooms are fitted with air conditioning. Each dormitory rooms has an electrical outlet and fan. Shared bathrooms have free toiletries. Guests can benefit from a shared kitchen with a fridge and kitchenware. A washing machine and tumble dryer can be used for a fee. Ishigaki Sunset Beach is 28 km from the guest house. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 11 km from Guesthouse Asibina.
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    • Guest House Yun Terrace
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House Yun Terrace, a property with a shared lounge, is located in Ishigaki Island, 1.1 km from Painuhama Artificial Beach, 2.2 km from Tadahama Beach, as well as 3 km from Maezato Beach. Featuring a terrace, the 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. Yaeyama Museum is 700 metres from the guest house, while Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 25 km away. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 13 km from Guest House Yun Terrace.
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    • Alaise De Bale Ishigaki
      Luxury
      Situated in Ishigaki Island, 90 metres from Idona Beach, Alaise De Bale Ishigaki features accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden and a terrace. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, room service and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi. Guests can make use of a bar. At the hotel, the rooms include a wardrobe. Complete with a private bathroom fitted with a bidet and free toiletries, the rooms at Alaise De Bale Ishigaki have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and certain rooms come with a balcony. At the accommodation rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Guests at Alaise De Bale Ishigaki will be able to enjoy activities in and around Ishigaki Island, like hiking. Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 11 km from the hotel, while Yaeyama Museum is 23 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 13 km from Alaise De Bale Ishigaki.
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    • Lulaliya
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Ishigaki Island, 300 metres from Kabira Bay, Lulaliya features air-conditioned rooms and free private parking. The bed and breakfast has a barbecue and sun terrace, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Some units feature a seating area for your convenience. Extras include slippers, free toiletries and a hair dryer. Lulaliya features free WiFi throughout the property. There is a shared lounge at the property. Sukuji Beach is 1.9 km from Lulaliya, while Yonehara Beach is 5 km away. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 13 km from Lulaliya.
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    • Ishigaki Sunset Cove
      Luxury
      Situated on the secluded West Coast of Central Ishigaki Island, 18km from Ishigaki City, 5km from Yonehara Beach, Ishigaki Sunset Cove is set along the beach and rooms with free WiFi access. Among the various facilities of this property are an outdoor swimming pool and a garden. At the resort, the rooms come with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Selected rooms here will provide you with a kitchen with a microwave, a toaster and a fridge. The units at Ishigaki Sunset Cove come with a seating area. An alternating Western or Japanese breakfast is available daily at the property. The accommodation offers a sun terrace. The area is popular for cycling, and a limited number of rental cars are available at Ishigaki Sunset Cove. Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 5 km from the resort, while Kabira Bay is 10 km away. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 10 km from Ishigaki Sunset Cove.
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    • HOSTEL SunTerrace Ishigaki
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Ishigaki Island, 1.3 km from Painuhama Artificial Beach, HOSTEL SunTerrace Ishigaki features accommodation with a shared lounge, private parking and a terrace. With a garden, the 1-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen, and luggage storage for guests. A safety deposit box is accessible to all guests, while certain rooms are equipped with a game console. The rooms have bed linen. Tadahama Beach is 2.7 km from the hostel, while Yaeyama Museum is 300 metres from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 13 km from HOSTEL SunTerrace Ishigaki.
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    • Guest House Chura Cucule Ishigakijima
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Ishigaki Island, 2.3 km from Painuhama Artificial Beach, Guest House Chura Cucule Ishigakijima features air-conditioned accommodation and a shared lounge. The property is set less than 1 km from Yaeyama Museum, 26 km from Tamatorizaki Observation Point and 2.6 km from Ishigaki Island Limestone Cave. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. With a shared bathroom fitted with a bidet and a hairdryer, rooms at the hostel also boast free WiFi. At Guest House Chura Cucule Ishigakijima rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Banna Park is 3.2 km from the accommodation, while Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory is 5.9 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 15 km from Guest House Chura Cucule Ishigakijima.
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    • Glamping Resort Yokabushi
      Luxury
      Featuring free WiFi and a restaurant, Glamping Resort Yokabushi offers accommodation in Ishigaki Island, 400 metres from Tamatorizaki Observation Point. Free private parking is available on site. A flat-screen TV is offered. Enjoy a cup of tea while looking out at the mountain or pool. Rooms have a private bathroom fitted with a bath. Extras include slippers and a hairdryer. The resort also offers free use of bicycles. Ishigaki Sunset Beach is 9 km from Glamping Resort Yokabushi, while Yonehara Beach is 10 km from the property. New Ishigaki Airport is 11 km away.
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Experiences around Yaeyama Islands

Top rated in Yaeyama Islands