Surface area: 334,39 km2
Taketomi island in Japan is a small island close to the island of Ishigaki which is often visited as part of an excursion that actually starts from Ishigaki itself.
From there, in fact, the ferry only takes 10 minutes to arrive at the island.
Despite being a small village, it is the administrative seat of all the Yaeyama islands with the exception of Ishigaki and Yonaguri.
The village has retained the original structure of a fishing village with single storey houses with red clay roofs that are finished off with the typical terracotta lions which are designed to ward off any negative visitations.
Any new houses must be built in accordance with the old style which ensures a very unusual type of scene for Japan.
The houses frequently have gardens with brightly coloured flowers and many of the streets are covered in white sand which is made from coral dust.
In the centre of the village of Taketomi there is a sort of small tower which is called the “Nagomi”.
It isn’t very high but, from here, it is possible to see a complete panoramic view of the island, a perfect oval, the extremities of which are covered in sub-tropical vegetation.
You will need to climb a sort of staircase and only a limited number of people can admire the views at the same lime.
One of the other main attractions is a ride on a wagon that is pulled by a buffalo.
During the tour, the driver relates anecdotes in Japanese and performs Ryukyu songs accompanied on a sanshin, a typical Japanese instrument with three strings.
Apart from the places listed above, the island’s main attraction is, without doubt, the beaches, whose startlingly white sand is made from coral dust which provides a truly unique feature.
Kondoi beach, with its shallow turquoise waters, is one of the most famous beaches on the island. You can rent sun umbrellas here and go snorkelling in the crystal-clear shallows.
Another beach that is not far from Kondoi is Kaiji from where you can enjoy spectacular views. There are also some trees here which you can use to shelter from the sun.
Although the island relies heavily on tourism, it is not specifically defined as a tourist resort. .
Hospitality is offered by the home owners, there is only one shop in the centre of the village and in the evenings, nothing is open to entertain visitors.
It is not possible to enter the places on the island that are considered as sacred and if you try, you are likely to be expelled even if you only enter by accident.