At the far southwestern end of the Southwest Islands are the gorgeous Yaeyama Islands (八重山諸島; Yaeyama-shotō), which include the main islands of Ishigaki-jima and Iriomote-jima as well as a spread of 17 isles. Located near the Tropic of Cancer, they are renowned for their lovely beaches, superb diving and lush landscapes.
The Yaeyama Islands are one of the most popular destinations in the Southwest Islands. They offer Japan's best snorkelling and diving, and some of the country's last intact subtropical jungles and mangrove swamps (both on Iriomote-jima). Perhaps the best feature of the Yaeyamas is their variety and the ease with which you can explore them: plentiful ferry services run between Ishigaki city and nearby islands such as Iriomote-jima and Taketomi-jima, and you can easily explore three or four islands in one trip.