Welcome to Yaeyama Islands


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.


Top experiences in Yaeyama Islands

Travel guides

Starting at $38.99

Image for

Yaeyama Islands activities

$34.48 Day Trips & Excursions

Ishigaki to Taketomi Island Day Trip with Kondoi Beach Option

In the morning, make your way to the Ishigaki Port ferry terminal and board a boat to Taketomi Island. Upon arrival, you’re picked up at the port and transferred to the tour office. Take the ferry on your own to Iriomote island, where you'll join a Japanese-speaking tour group. Throughout the day, you are accompanied by an English-speaking assistant who introduces you to each activity. In addition, you can consult a provided booklet for descriptions of attractions on your tour itinerary.First, hop into a water buffalo cart for a half-hour ride around the village of Taketomi, ambling along sandy paths past the red clay roofs of Ryūkyū-style homes. Listen as the driver plays the sanshin (a traditional Okinawan instrument) and sings traditional Okinawan songs.Afterward, a bus picks you up for the trip to Kondoi Beach, or you can rent a bicycle to explore the island on your own. See the Important Information tab for pricing and other details.Option 1: Kondoi BeachIf you’ve chosen this option, a bus picks you up from the water buffalo cart boarding point and takes you to Kondoi Beach, where you can spend free time swimming in the turquoise water and relaxing on the impressive expanse of white sand. Just tell the driver which ferry you plan to take back to Ishigaki Port and you’ll be picked up at the beach in time for your departure. Alternatively, you can decide later and call the driver when you are ready to return to Ishigaki.Option 2: Rental BikeIf you’ve selected the bike rental option, walk about 3 minutes on foot to the rental office and get fitted with your bicycle. You’ll have access to your bike all day, allowing you to explore the island sights at your own pace. Pedal to the plentiful handicraft shops and watch local artisans weave traditional cloth, take in the views of white-sand beaches or sink your teeth into a sumptuous meal of island-raised shrimp (own expense). After returning the bicycle you will be taken back to the port in time for whichever ferry you would like to take back to Ishigaki.Please note: A minimum of 2 people per booking is required.Click on “View Additional Info” for the meeting locations.

$127.46 Outdoor Activities

Iriomote Island Urauchi River Cruise, Maryudo Falls Adventure

Make your own way to the tour office in the morning to pick up a round-trip ferry ticket before departing from Ishigaki Port. Ride the 50-minute ferry on your own to Iriomote Island (Iriomote-jima), where you’ll join a Japanese-speaking tour group and be met by an English-speaking assistant who provides limited translation for the day’s activities. From Uehara Port, take a bus to the Urauchi River, the longest river of Okinawa Prefecture. Board a boat for a sightseeing cruise through the lush mangrove estuary. Disembark at the start point of your jungle hike.Head down an easy forest trail for about 30 minutes until you reach an observation platform. Here, take in the splendor of Maryudo Falls, a 52-foot (16-meter) cascade that is considered one of Japan's must-see waterfalls. Linger longer or walk another 10 minutes to the end of the trail to marvel at another waterfall, Kanpire Falls.Cruise back along the Urauchi River and enjoy a bento box lunch upon arrival at the dock. After fueling up, receive a brief kayak instruction and embark on a 2-hour guided kayak journey along the Urauchi River and Utara River, a branch of the larger waterway. Paddle through mangroves and listen as your guide describes the flora and fauna of Iriomote Island and the surrounding region.Back at the dock, you can take a warm shower before riding the bus back to Uehara Port. Return by ferry to Ishigaki in the evening.Click on “View Additional Info” for the meeting locations.

$127.05 Outdoor Activities

Iriomote Island Kayaking Full-Day Tour with Sangara Falls Hike

Arrive at the tour office in the morning to collect your ferry ticket from an English-speaking assistant. You'll also receive a booklet with descriptions of the attractions on this tour itinerary. Board the ferry on your own, and relax on the 50-minute ride across the water to Iriomote, the largest (and least inhabited) island in the beautiful Yaeyama island chain.Disembark at either Uehara or Ohara port, and meet your guide to travel the short distance by bus to the kayaking base. If you have brought some other clothes along for the tour, use the stop to change. After you receive your life jacket and paddle, listen to a quick safety briefing. Step inside your kayak (go solo or share with another group member), and paddle upstream along the Nishida River. The tour is aimed at all levels of kayakers, from first timers to seasoned pros, and the pace is set by the slowest member of the group to ensure no one is left behind.Your guide points out the area’s stunning natural sights as your group meanders through Iriomote’s dense mangrove forests. After roughly 25 minutes on the water, leave your kayak on the riverbank and start your 30-minute hike up a mountain path that leads to Sangara Falls (aka Nishida Falls). See wild examples of jungle species that are unique to the Yaeyama Islands including rare butterflies and sakishima-suo trees with rippling roots. At the falls, enjoy up to an hour of free time to explore the rock pools, gaze out over the dense jungle, savor a provided bento box, and perhaps take a swim under the waterfall itself. When it is time to head back, hike down to the river to get in your kayak. After paddling back to the base, you can take a quick shower before returning by bus to the port in time for your late-afternoon ferry to Ishigaki Port. Click on 'View Additional Info' below for the meeting point locations.

$54.45 Outdoor Activities

-Ishigaki Ocean- Sea Kayak Adventure with English-Speaking Guide

1. Pick-up at Designated Hotels or Check-in at ChulaChula Shop 2. Reception and Departure for Starting Point    Enter the shop and have your reservation checked then receive your free rental equipment for this activity. 3. Arrival at Starting Point and Introduction to Kayak    After a 15-minute car ride to the starting point, learn the basic techniques on rowing a kayak from a licensed instructor. 4. Practice    Start by hopping in your kayak and use your paddle to practice rowing left and right. After getting your balance right, paddle across the shallow shores first before heading further out. 5. Kayak Experience    Set out to the open waters as you let the waves push you along the clear waters of Ishigaki Island. Explore the wonderful wildlife as you enjoy your kayak adventure! 6. Tea Time at a Secret Beach    Follow your instructor and head to a secret beach nearby. Spend a relaxing time on the island with a cup of tea specially prepared for you. 7. Return to the Beach 8. Drop-off at Designated Hotels or Check-out from ChulaChula Shop

$72.60 Outdoor Activities

-Ishigaki Ocean- Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) with English-Speaking Guide

1.  Pick-up at Designated Hotels or Check-in at ChulaChula Shop 2. Reception and Departure for Starting Point    Enter the shop and have your reservation checked then receive your free rental equipment for this activity. 3. Arrival at Starting Point and Introduction to Paddle Boarding   After a 15-minute car ride to the starting point, learn the basic techniques on how to balance and row on a SUP from a licensed instructor. 4. Practice   Start by kneeling down on the paddleboard while learning to balance and row along the shores. Once you get used to it, slowly stand up on the board. It may be unstable at first, but once you get the hang of it, you can sail away at ease. 5. SUP Experience   After practicing, go across the shores and paddle along the clear blue waters of Ishigaki. See the wonderful marine life as you take a peek into the world under the sea! 6. Tea Time at a Secret Beach    Follow your instructor and head to a secret beach nearby. Spend a relaxing time on the island with a cup of tea specially prepared for you. 7. Return to the Beach 8. Drop-off at Designated Hotels or Check-out from ChulaChula Shop

$72.60 Outdoor Activities

-Ishigaki Ocean- Sunset View Standup Paddleboarding with English-Speaking Guide

1. Pick-up at Designated Hotels or Check-in at ChulaChula Shop 2. Reception and Departure for Starting Point    Enter the shop and have your reservation checked then receive your free rental equipment for this activity. 3. Arrival at Starting Point and Introduction to Paddle Boarding   After a 15-minute car ride to the starting point, learn the basic techniques on how to balance and row on a SUP from a licensed instructor. 4. Practice   Start by kneeling down on the paddleboard while learning to balance and row along the shores. Once you get used to it, slowly stand up on the board. It may be unstable at first, but once you get the hang of it, you can sail away at ease. 5. SUP Experience   After practicing, cross the shores and paddle along the pristine waters of Ishigaki while you wait for the for the perfect moment to see the sunset. 6. Golden Hour Sunset Viewing   Drop anchor at the best spot and sit astride the board as you witness the exquisite wash of pinks and russets in the sky as the sun sets over the horizon. 7. Return to the Beach 8. Drop-off at Designated Hotels or Check-out from ChulaChula Shop

Yaeyama Islands in detail