Following on from the previous article on Ishigaki Island, this article introduces Iriomote Island. Japan is a long and narrow island nation from north to south, and you can enjoy a richly varied climate and weather. Okinawa Prefecture is located at the southern end of the archipelago and offers a tropical climate and beautiful seas. Among these, Iriomote Island, introduced here, is extremely rich in nature, with mangrove forests spreading out along the coast and a variety of precious animals, including the Iriomote cat, living here. The island is surrounded by coral reefs, making it a very popular snorkelling and diving spot. We would like to share the information we have seen during a recce in this article.

Where is Iriomote Island?

There are no direct flights to Iriomote Island from Tokyo or Osaka, but it can be reached by ferry from Ishigaki Island in about 40 minutes. It is the 12th largest island in Japan. The island is recognised for its diversity of flora and fauna and is set to be inscribed as a World Natural Heritage site in 2021, together with the northern part of the Okinawa main island and other areas. Many people visit there from Ishigaki Island for day trips, but we recommend you to stay a few nights to enjoy this wonderful island.

Guest house Mariudo

We stayed at the guest house Mariudo during our recce. In addition to accommodation, this place offers canoeing, snorkelling and trekking tours, as well as bicycle, motorbike, canoe and snorkelling equipment rentals, and we joined a snorkelling tour where we were taken around the island by boat. The guest house is divided into a main building and an annex, with the main building starting at ¥6,500 per night with half board, and the annex, a resort hotel style accommodation, starting at ¥9,000 per night with half board, very low prices. Breakfast and evening meals are delicious and the staff speak English well, so you can spend a comfortable stay.
(Contact Information)
Address: 984-14 Uehara, Taketomi, Yaeyama District, Okinawa 
Tel: +81 980 85 6578

The sea of Iriomote Island

The sea of Iriomote Island is popular both at home and abroad for its beautiful coral reefs. one of the clearest in Okinawa, and the colour of the sea is emerald green and the inside of the sea looks crystal clear. Because of its beauty which is considered as one of the clearest in Okinawa,this emerald green sea is also called "Iriomote blue". Furthermore, as the sea of Iriomote Island is in the tropics, you can dive into the sea from March to November.

The sea of Iriomote Island is full of colourful corals. It is said that the number of coral species found around Iriomote Island is over 400 and about 1/3 of all the corals found in Japan can be seen. We went snorkelling in the recce, and it was so colourful that it looked like a flower blooming in the sea.

Iriomote Island has as many tropical fish as corals. It is said that the number of species may exceed several hundred. As well as clownfish, which became popular for the film “FInding Nemo” , you can see colourful tropical fish that you have never seen before. We were even lucky enough to see a hawksbill turtle.

Canoeing, SUP and Trekking in Iriomote

The attractions of Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture is its extensive mangroves. The area is the second largest after Okinawa Island, and more than 90% of it is covered by tropical rainforest, allowing you to enjoy subtropical nature. Canoeing and SUP are particularly popular activities, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenery of the mangrove forests as they float along the river, and if combined with trekking, you can go even deeper into the jungle. Popular canoeing courses are the Nakama River, Pinaisara Falls and Sangala Falls, while we went to Koola Falls by SUP. This is a short experience and recommended for SUP/canoeing beginners with little experience.

In the previous and this articles, we have introduced two islands, Ishigaki and Iriomote, where you can enjoy tropical resorts in Japan. We will continue to share information about various Japanese filming spots in the coming feeds.

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