About 125km west of Ishigaki and 110km east of Taiwan is the islet of Yonaguni-jima, Japan's westernmost inhabited island. Renowned for its strong sake, small horses and marlin fishing, the island is also home to the jumbo-sized Yonaguni atlas moth, the largest moth in the world. However, most visitors come to see what lies beneath the waves.
A mere 15-minute boat ride from Ishigaki-jima, the tiny islet of Taketomi-jima is a living museum of Ryūkyū culture. Centred on a flower-bedecked village of traditional houses complete with red kawara (tiled) roofs, coral walls and shiisā statues, Taketomi is a breath of fresh air if you're suffering from an overdose of modern Japan.
Forty-five kilometres south of Iriomote-jima is the tiny islet of Hateruma-jima, Japan's southernmost inhabited island. Just 15km around, Hateruma-jima has a couple of beauteous beaches and a seriously laid-back vibe. Ferries arrive at the small port on the northwest corner of the island, while Hateruma village is in the centre.