One of the Yaeyama Islands, Taketomi Island is situated on the cost of Ishigaki Island in the Okinawa Prefecture. Although it is a very small island, many travelers make the visit to the quaint destination which houses an authentic preserved Ryukyu village. The traditional village has been well-preserved and offers a unique glimpse into history and culture.
History of Taketomi Island
Sandy streets, historic stone walls, and traditional Okinawan houses all add to the unique charm of Taketomi. The village has been preserved to maintain both the historic construction and charm. In order to keep the island well-maintained, certain rules have been put in place to ensure that the aesthetic of the island stays true to history. As such, specific construction rules are in place including specific stones or other materials that are permitted to use when building. This is both to keep the island pristine and beautiful, but also to keep the historic look.
As a result of these rules, the modern day Taketomi is not entirely accurate to the past. 1905 was the first year that the famous red roofs appeared and were symbolic as a sign of wealth. By 1964, authentic thatched houses made up approximately 40% of Taketomi’s houses.
Location of Taketomi Island
South of Ishigaki Island, Taketomi Island is only 4 kilometers away and the small circular shaped island is considered part of the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, which was established in 1972.
What to do on Taketomi Island?
Taketomi Island is very popular among tourists, and there a variety of tourist activities and attractions in the area. The island has very beautiful beaches, making it one of the most popular activities, with many visitors relaxing along the shores. Other activities include ox-cart rides throughout the traditional village, snorkeling in the surrounding waters, or walking throughout the charming houses and quaint shops. It is also great to rent bikes and explore the natural beauty of the island.
Other attractions include the Nagominoto Tower in the center of the island that offers a great view overlooking the houses.
Kondoi Beach and Kaiji beach are both popular among tourists and offer plenty of beautiful sand and pristine water. The island is filled with traditional homes, shops, and eateries selling local food, ingredients such as sugar cane and handmade crafts.
How to visit Taketomi Island?
Taketomi island can be accessed via ferry boat and there are several boats departing throughout the day. Ferry boats depart daily between the hours of 7:30 am and 5:30 pm approximately every 30 minutes.
Since the island is so small, it is possible to explore the entire island by foot, by bicycle or with the water-buffalo carts, perhaps the most unusual and memorable experience!