Top ChoiceBeach in Ishigaki-jima

Sunset Beach

At the north end of the island, on the west coast, you will find this long strip of sand with a bit of offshore reef. As the name implies, this is one of the island's best spots to watch the sun set into the East...

Top ChoiceBeach in Iriomote-jima

Ida-no-hama

From Shirahama, at the western end of the north coast road, there are four daily boats (¥500) to the isolated settlement of Funauki. Once there, it's a mere 10-minute walk on to the absolutely gorgeous Ida-no-hama.

Top ChoiceIzakaya in Ishigaki-jima

Shima-no-tabemonoya Paikaji

This Ishigaki city favourite serves all the Okinawan and Yaeyama standards. The boisterous atmosphere and kitchen get top marks, although smokers detract from the experience. Try the ikasumi chahan (squid-ink...

Top ChoiceBeach in Ishigaki-jima

Kabira Bay

Kabira-wan is a sheltered bay with white-sand shores and a couple of interesting clumplike islets offshore. Swimming is not allowed in the bay, as pearls are cultivated here, but there's no shortage of...

Cafe in Ishigaki-jima

Cafe Taniwha

You can't do better than Cafe Taniwha as a first stop in Ishigaki. Owners and citizens of the world, Kuri and Fusa have created a snug, welcoming space for local eccentrics and international travellers. They...

Landmark in Hateruma-jima

Japan's Southernmost Point

Cycling along roads criss-crossing fields of sugar cane and tracing kilometres of unspoiled coastline – the southernmost point of Japan's southernmost inhabited island, feels appropriately far-flung once you've...

Beach in Taketomi-jima

Kaiji-hama

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 some kind of container for the minuscule treasures, there's...

Beach in Iriomote-jima

Hoshisuna-no-hama

Hoshisuna-no-hama

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 actually consists of the dried skeletons of marine protozoa.

Beach in Hateruma-jima

Nishihama

Just to the west of the port is this perfect beach of snow-white sand with some good coral offshore. Here you will find free public showers, toilets and a camping ground.

Waterfall in Iriomote-jima

Pinaisāra-no-taki

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 waterfall at 55m. When the tide is right, you can paddle a...

Japanese in Ishigaki-jima

Ishigakijima Village

A contemporary version of the old-school dining yokochō (alleys) ferreted away in Japanese cities, this new restaurant complex is the perfect place to dine when feeling indecisive. Tiny eateries, each with some...

Museum in Iriomote-jima

Iriomote Wildlife Conservation Center

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...

Museum in Ishigaki-jima

Ishigaki City Yaeyama Museum

This modest museum has exhibits on the culture and history of the island, which are quite well presented with English explanations. Notable among the more typical cultural artefacts: a few informational pages...

Soba in Ishigaki-jima

Ishigaki-jima Kids

Tucked into a tiny, tidy space in Euglena Mall, Ishigaki-jima Kids serves good Yaeyama-style cafe fare – sōki-soba, taco rice and the like – all detailed in a picture menu. There's usually a great lunch set of...

Natural Feature in Hateruma-jima

Takanazaki

At the southeast corner of the island is this impressive 1km-long cliff of Ryūkyū limestone, pounded by the Pacific Ocean. There's a small observatory here, and at the western end of the cliffs is a small...

Monument in Yonaguni-jima

Irizaki

Just as Hateruma-jima has a monument to mark Japan's southernmost point, Yonaguni-jima has one to mark the country's westernmost point (日本最西端の碑), here at Irizaki. If the weather is perfect, the mountains of...

Izakaya in Ishigaki-jima

Mori-no-Kokage

This little Ishigaki city izakaya is a friendly refuge true to its name, which means 'the shade of the forest'. Local treats are sliced steak of Ishigaki beef (¥1280) and the microbrew ishigaki-jima-zake (¥500)....

Izakaya in Yonaguni-jima

Island Cuisine Isun

In Kubura, this cosy izakaya is a local favourite. Though the menu is in Japanese only, we recommend the kajiki (locally caught swordfish) sashimi and the sansai (locally gathered wild mountain vegetables) salad....

Beach in Ishigaki-jima

Fusaki Beach Aqua Garden

Nonguests of the adjacent resort can pay to enter this massive 'aqua garden' complex with a beachfront pool, bar-restaurant, yoga lessons and a huge range of equipment rental options, from snorkels to stand-up...

Art in Ishigaki-jima

Minsā Kōgeikan

Minsā Kōgeikan is a weaving workshop and showroom with exhibits on Yaeyama Islands textiles. You can also try your hand at weaving a coaster (¥1500); you'll need to reserve ahead by phone. The building is located...