Yonaguni Island (与那国島, 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. The island is known for its marine activities like scuba diving, as well as for some of its native fauna like 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 are geometrically so perfectly shaped 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 only 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 typically have brown hair and were originally used as riding horses. Today they are a protected breed 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 as the number of vehicles is limited.
Rental bicycles are also 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, within 450 metres of Fusaki Beach and 8 km of Yaeyama Museum, Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima features accommodation with a garden and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The property is set 27 km from Tamatorizaki Observation Point, 5 km from Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory and 6 km from Ishigaki Yaima Village. The property is 7 km from Banna Park and 14 km from Kabira Bay. The hotel will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms with a wardrobe, a kettle, a microwave, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV, a balcony and a private bathroom with a bidet. Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima offers some rooms with sea views, and each room has a terrace. At the accommodation rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. An Asian breakfast is available each morning at Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima. The area is popular for fishing, and car hire is available at the hotel. Ishigaki Island Limestone Cave is 7 km from Little Mermaid Hotel Ishigakijima, while Ishigaki Public Market is 7 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 16 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
HOSTEL SunTerrace IshigakiHOSTEL SunTerrace Ishigaki in Ishigaki Island provides adults-only accommodation with a shared lounge, a garden and a terrace. This 1-star hostel offers a shared kitchen and luggage storage space. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. At the hostel rooms are fitted with air conditioning and a safety deposit box. Maezato Beach is 2.7 km from HOSTEL SunTerrace Ishigaki, while Yaeyama Museum is 300 metres from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 16 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
Guesthouse AsibinaBoasting 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.View on Booking.com
Guest House Yun TerraceFeaturing a terrace, Guest House Yun Terrace is located in Ishigaki Island in the Okinawa region, 2.4 km from Maezato Beach and 600 metres from Yaeyama Museum. 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. Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 21 km from the guest house, while Ishigaki Public Market is less than 1 km away. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 11 km from Guest House Yun Terrace.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
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
Alaise De Bale IshigakiSituated in Ishigaki Island, 11 km from Tamatorizaki Observation Point, Alaise De Bale Ishigaki features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a bar. 23 km from Yaeyama Museum and 22 km from Banna Park, the property offers a garden and a terrace. The accommodation provides room service and free WiFi. At the hotel, the rooms include a wardrobe. Complete with a private bathroom fitted with a bidet and slippers, 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. Ishigaki Yaima Village is 22 km from Alaise De Bale Ishigaki, while Ishigaki Public Market is 23 km from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 12 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
Matsukaze The Guest House IshigakiFeaturing 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.View on Booking.com
Guest House Chura Cucule IshigakijimaSituated 1 km from Yaeyama Museum, Guest House Chura Cucule Ishigakijima features rooms with air conditioning in Ishigaki Island. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The rooms have a shared bathroom, slippers and bed linen. Tamatorizaki Observation Point is 29 km from the hostel, while Ishigaki Public Market is 800 metres from the property. The nearest airport is New Ishigaki Airport, 17 km from Chura Cucule Ishigakijima.View on Booking.com