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Yonagunijima (Yonaguni Island), Japan’s Westernmost Island
post : 2019.05.31 07:00
The Yaeyama Islands include Ishigaki, Taketomi, Iriomote, Hateruma and many others, and each of these islands have with their own special characteristics. Among them, Yonaguni Island has particularly distinctive scenery and very special characteristics.
Reaching Yonoguni Island from Ishigaki Island takes about 30 minutes by air and approximately four hours on a ferry. From this westernmost island of Japan, the distance to Ishigaki Island is 117km, and just 111km to Taiwan, making it closer to Taiwan. Steep cliffs surround the island and the color of the seas around it are a beautiful deep blue. Even though it’s only 30 minutes away from Ishigaki Island, the island of Yonaguni offers a sense that you’ve arrived somewhere completely different, and has that distinctive feel of being somewhere really far away.
Whenever I visit Yonaguni, I always tour the island on a motorcycle. Feeling the great nature of Yonaguni through the wind on my skin just feels so fantastic!
Yonaguni Island has numerous places that seem to be full of energy. One of them is Tachigami Iwa, a large rock formation that stands high from the water. The view looking down to it from the observation point is magnificent.
Irizaki is the westernmost point in the country and from here, you can see the last sunset of the day in all of Japan.
Photo above shows the view from Tindabana, with the Sonai community and Nanta Hama beach.
Rokujo Beach offers a spectacular sight and is highly recommended. The way down to the beach may a little bit of a challenge, but seeing it from above is great, too.
You can see many Yonaguni horses grazing in the fields in Agarisaki and areas around the animal farms at Minami Bokujo. The horses are carefree and are lazily enjoying themselves.
The people of this great island situated at the farthest corner of Japan live their lives in the dynamic nature here, and are strong and charming. The accents in their language are completely different, unlike the people from the other Yaeyama Islands who share a similar accent. Their intonations at the end of the sentences rise and when hearing them speak, it really gives me a renewed sense that I’ve arrived somewhere far away.
I often get asked, “Which island do you recommend?” To that, I always respond without hesitation, “Yonaguni!” Many people who love the islands of Okinawa have yet to go to Yonaguni to discover its allure, and I really recommend people to go! If you get a chance, perhaps on your next trip to Okinawa, definitely make a visit to Yonaguni Island♪
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Masumi Sasamoto