Top things to do in Yaeyama Islands

Top Choice Beach 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 Ch…
Top Choice Beach in Iriomote-jima


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 Choice Izakaya 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 fried …
Top Choice Beach 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 glass-bottome…
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 sometim…
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 arri…
Beach in Taketomi-jima


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 usua…
Beach in Iriomote-jima


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


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


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 ka…