Iriomote Wildlife Conservation Center

Yaeyama Islands

If you are at all intrigued by the yamaneko (Iriomote's endemic wildcat), whose critically endangered population hovers around 100, it's worth stopping by this small natural-history centre. Exhibits include English signage, and the museum also screens a short documentary in Japanese about the yamaneko and its population decline, due to hazards like human refuse and fast cars.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Yaeyama Islands attractions

1. Pinaisāra-no-taki

6.58 MILES

At the back of a mangrove-lined bay called Funaura-wan, a few kilometres east of Uehara, you can make out the lovely Pinaisāra-no-taki, Okinawa’s highest…

2. Kanpire-no-taki

6.64 MILES

Kanpire-no-taki, a low-scale series of waterfalls, is the turnaround point for hikers who have travelled up the Urauchi-gawa.

3. Mariyudō-no-taki

6.89 MILES

A trek upriver through the damp Iriomote forest leads to the lovely Mariyudō-no-taki, a series of low waterfalls.

4. Barasu-tō

9.26 MILES

Located off the north coast of Iriomote-jima is the unusual Barasu-tō, an islet formed entirely of bits of broken coral. In addition to the tiny island…

5. Tsuki-ga-hama

10.55 MILES

The best swimming beach on the island is Tsuki-ga-hama, a crescent-shaped yellow-sand beach at the mouth of the Urauchi-gawa on the north coast.

6. Kaiji-hama

10.63 MILES

This lovely stretch of beach is on the southwest coast, also happens to be the main hoshi-suna (star sand) hunting ground. If you don't arrive bearing…

7. Kondoi Beach

10.66 MILES

Kondoi Beach, on the west coast, offers the best swimming on the island. At the entrance to the beach you'll find bike parking, picnic tables and toilets.

8. Hoshisuna-no-hama

11.02 MILES

If you're looking to do a bit of snorkelling, head to this beach on the northwestern tip of the island. The beach is named after its star sand, which…