Okinawa Tourism Information:Watersof“Panari”intheYaeyamaIslands,WhichNoRegularBoatCovers

Waters of “Panari” in the Yaeyama Islands, Which No Regular Boat Covers

post : 2014.10.13 13:00

Aragusuku Island of the Yaeyama Islands, which is also called “Panari” in dialect, comprises two islands, Kamiji Island and Shimoji Island.
It is located between Kuro Island and Iriomote Island.
Among all the inhabited islands in the Yaeyama Islands, Aragusuku Island is the only island where there is no regular boat service available. 

The present population of Aragusuku Island is 13 people on Kamiji Island and only one on Shimoji Island.
There is literally nothing that is commercial on this small island.
People do not come to the island often, so the waters around the island are especially pure and clear even in the Yaeyama Islands.

The only lookout on the flat island is an observatory called “kuinupana” on Kamiji Island.

Walk through the forest on the right of the port. 

Climb a bit on stone steps.

And refreshing emerald water will open up before you!

Ahead of the pier of Kamiji Port below your eyes are Kohama Island slightly on the left from the center, Iriomote Island on the left, and Ishigaki Island on the far right.

Iriomote Island lies down calmly.
Iriomote Island is the second largest island in Okinawa after Okinawa Main Island.

Look further down to the left, and you will see Shimoji Island, the other island of Panari.
Shimoji Island is entirely given over to cow pasturage.

The waters in Panari are incredibly crystal clear and have many excellent coral reefs and full of reef tropical fish.  

The highly-elevated part by stone masonry is “kuinupana.”
“Kui” is a name of this area and “pana” means the edge.

The island once had a school and Kamiji Island in the early Showa period (around 1930s ) was populated with as many as 500 people. However, most of the residents moved to Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island.

Currently, only 14 people registered themselves as a local citizen of Panari, but for festivals like “ketsugansai” in autumn natives of Panari come back to hold their important events every year.

Even though I live in Ishigaki, I had not been able to come to Panari so easily.
I had been so fascinated by the beautiful landscapes in pictures.
When I came to stand right here for the first time, I was really thrilled!

The only way to get to Panari is via a private tour company on Ishigaki Island and Kuroshima Island, which offer snorkeling tours.
If you get a chance, I would like you to savor the stunning vista!

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer Masumi Sasamoto