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- Series / Island Blessing, Island Taste Part 36 Kwansou
Best 5 spots on Hateruma Island, the southernmost island of Japan
post : 2017.12.21 17:00
Do you know that there are as many as 39 inhabited islands in Okinawa? Remote islands is a great destination which can offer something special that mainland doesn’t have. Visitors can enjoy rich nature in relaxed settings where the time passes leisurely. It may be hard to decide which island to go, out of 39 choices, so we will introduce an island located southernmost of Okinawa. One hour high-speed boat ride from Ishigaki Rito Terminal gets you to Hateruma Island. An open sea trip sometime could be rough but a trip to Hateruma is worth it!
1. At the southernmost location of Japan
There is no public bus or taxi service in Hateruma so it is better to rent a bike or bicycle. And then let's head for Takanazaki Cape where a monument stands indicating Hateruma’s the southernmost location. Takanazaki Cape is a scenic point in the southeast and known as popular photo taking spot.
At the beginning of the trail you will see piled pebbles forming the paths. And these two paths somewhat look like two snakes tangled each other. A local story tells that one path indicates Okinawa and another is mainland Japan. This stone-edged path was created to express people’s wish for two regions never to be apart again.
From Hateruma port to the monument is 25-minute ride with 4km distance. Why not enjoy bicycle ride in nice breeze and idyllic setting of Hateruma?
2. Veggie lunch at café of the southern end of Japan
Neither supermarkets nor convenience stores, or bookshops on Hateruma, but there is a café.
This is an eatery called “kkuru” situated in the southernmost part of Japan. Kukuru is an Okinawan language meaning heart. An old Okinawan-style house was renovated into a nice café with a feel of nostalgic and cozy atmosphere.
What they offer is vegetable-based meal such as keema-flavored veggie curry, veggie taco rice and gateau chocolat made with local ingredients like local tofu. Ground meat for taco rice is replaced with local tofu and local mochikibi grains are substitute for cheese. Meals are not too light, and of course not too heavy at all since they are not animal-based food. A plate of food matches an atmosphere of idyllic Hateruma Island.
Please note that Kukuru café's shop holiday is irregular and normally closes during sugar manufacturing season (December – March).
3146 Hateruma, Taketomi-cho town, Yaeyama-gun Okinawa Prefecture Japan
3. Brown sugar and awmori: the best Hateruma’s souvenirs!
Now you are here at the ”Islands’ End”, don't miss the chance to get some souvenir from there. They don’t offer you a variety since Hateruma is very small Island. In fact little choice of souvenir will save your shopping time. Now we will introduce two items we definitely recommend.
Brown sugar is a must item since it is made from local sugarcane, which is grown in the field covering a large part of Hateruma Island. A small chunk of brown sugar has a condensed taste of sweet cane and less with zatsumi (rough and disagreeable taste). Brown sugar goes well with strong coffee or espresso.
Our second recommendation is local awamori called “Awanami”, which is known as very rare brand. This item is produced by a local family business company with small-scale manufacturing, mostly for local market. It is hard to find one outside Hateruma and even if lucky enough to spot one it is often priced ten times as much. Awanami is made from local underground water which has slight salt content and is often well-received by Awamori enthusiasts. Awanami is available at local Izakaya, so why not try it once while your stay.
4. Pension "Sainantan", best recommended for those who want to feel close to the sea
“Pension Sainantan (southernmost)” is a pension situated at the southernmost area of Hateruma with its rooms offering nice views of Nishinohama beach. Nishinohama beach is known beach as it was chosen as the best beach in Japan.
The pension’s owner is Mr. Sakieda who opened his private inn 9 years ago. He is hoping more and more people can fully enjoy this beautiful beach all day long. From quiet early hour through the sun setting over the edge of the horizon. The joy of beautiful scenery is priceless.
When it is clear enough at nighttime, above you is a starry sky like a planetarium. Out of 88 constellation, 84 cane be observed. Lie down on the rooftop terrace and enjoy star-filled night sky.
Phone: +81 980-85-8686
5. Breathtaking beauty of Nishihama Beach
Lastly, we will introduce Nishihama Beach which has always ranked among the best in the country. You will be amazed with stunning scenery of white sandy beach and color formation of emerald green, blue and cobalt blue.
In the sea water with high visibility, you can see your feet very clearly.
At the unruffled sea, you can observe corals and tropical fish in the shallow area.
Nothing blocks your views, just lie down, listen to the sound of waves, feel the breeze and enjoy the scenery. Soak in the abiding sense of repose. Hateruma is an island with therapeutic qualities. Hateruma is also recommended for anyone not deciding which island to visit. Anybody can go there to rest one’s body and mind.
Hateruma, Taketomi-cho town, Yaeyama-gun,
Okianwa Prefecture Japan