Yonaguni Island (^ί, 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:
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.
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Little Mermaid Hotel IshigakijimaSituated in Ishigaki Island and within 400 metres of Fusaki Beach, Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima has a garden, non-smoking rooms, and free WiFi. Built in 2019, this 3-star hotel is within 2.3 km of Shanishani Beach and 7.2 km of Yaeyama Museum. Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory is 5.5 km away and Ishigaki Island Limestone Cave is 6.5 km from the hotel. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a wardrobe, a kettle, a fridge, a microwave, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV, a terrace and a private bathroom with a bidet. Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima features some rooms with sea views, and each room has a balcony. At the accommodation rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. The area is popular for fishing, and car hire is available at this 3-star hotel. Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 27 km from Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima, while Ishigaki Yaima Village is 5.4 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 18 km from the hotel.View on Booking.com
Guest House Yun TerraceLocated 1.1 km from Painuhama Artificial Beach, Guest House Yun Terrace offers 2-star accommodation in Ishigaki Island and features a terrace. With a shared lounge, the 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Private parking is available on site. Tadahama Beach is 2.2 km from the guest house, while Maezato Beach is 3 km away. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 13 km from Guest House Yun Terrace.View on Booking.com
Shiraho Friends HouseJust a 2-minute walk from Shiraho Beach, Friends House features a free-use kitchen, free parking and free Wi-Fi throughout. Simple air-conditioned private rooms and dormitory-style accommodation are offered. A shuttle service is available from New Ishigaki Airport at a charge. Guests at Shiraho Friends House can enjoy a private room with a TV that looks out on local greenery, or sleep in a bunk bed in a room shared with other guests. All rooms have shared toilets and bathrooms. The property is a 4-minute walk from Shiraho bus stop and within a 5-minute walk from Shiraho Coral Reef Conservation and Research Centre. Guests must reserve in advance to use the chargeable shuttle from New Ishigaki Airport, which is a 5-minute drive away. You can sunbathe or barbecue at the rooftop sun terrace or use the free-use internet PC at the air-conditioned dining room. There is an outdoor weight-lifting area, and the property has a free-use washing machine and a coin-operated dryer. No meals are served.View on Booking.com
HOSTEL SunTerrace IshigakiSituated 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.View on Booking.com
Alaise De Bale IshigakiSituated 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 can enjoy a continental breakfast. Guests at the hotel will be able to enjoy activities in and around Ishigaki Island, like hiking. Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 11 km from Alaise De Bale Ishigaki, while Yaeyama Museum is 23 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 13 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
LulaliyaSet 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.View on Booking.com
Ishigaki Sunset CoveSituated 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.View on Booking.com
Guest House Chura Cucule IshigakijimaSituated 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.View on Booking.com
Hotel Patina IshigakijimaA 7-minute walk from Ishigaki Port Ricoh Ferry Terminal and a 3-minute drive from the beach, Hotel Patina Ishigakijima offers cosy rooms with hardwood floors, free internet and a private balcony. Free parking is available on site. The air-conditioned rooms at Patina Hotel include a private bathroom and refrigerator. Guests can enjoy watching the flat-screen TV with a fresh cup of tea. A free-use washing machine and coin-operated dryer are provided, as are free-use bicycles. Free wireless internet and 2 computers with free internet access are offered in the lobby. Massages can be requested for an extra cost. Ishigakijima Patina Hotelfs restaurant serves breakfast daily.View on Booking.com
FUSAKI BEACH RESORT HOTEL & VILLASJust a minute's walk from Fusaki Beach, FUSAKI BEACH RESORT HOTEL & VILLAS features pools, 4 restaurants and aroma healing spa treatments. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. The resort provides yoga lessons and various marine activities, such as snorkelling and canoeing, at a surcharge. An on-site gift shop and market is available for guest's convenience. The hotel offers airport shuttle service to and from New Ishigaki Airport free of charge, while free public parking is available at the resort. Rooms at FUSAKI BEACH RESORT HOTEL & VILLAS come with an en suite bathroom with a hairdryer, toothbrush sets and free toiletries. Rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, a fridge and electric kettle. Restaurant Ishigaki Bold Kitchen serves buffet dishes including local specialities for breakfast, lunch and dinner. RYUKYU SHINTENCHI offers Okinawan-style Chinese dinner, while dinners at seasonal restaurant BEACHSIDE GRILL Kachi-bai features Ishigaki beef. Guests can also enjoy a drink at THE STAR BAR. Ishigaki Airport is a 35-minute drive from the property, while Ishigaki Harbour is located within a 15-minute driving distance. Kannonzaki Lighthouse can be found within a 6-minute walk.View on Booking.com