Adventures in the Yaeyama Islands



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Japan’s spectacular Yaeyama Islands lie at the southwestern tip of the country's island chain. 

A world away from the capital city, here you'll discover pristine beaches, crystal clear aquamarine seas surrounding islands of jungles and mountains that uniquely define the character of these sparsely-populated outposts. 

A visit to the Yaeyama Islands offers an experience unlike any other. 

Yaeyama Islands The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Adventures In The Yaeyama Islands
by Rob Dyer

The Ryukyu Archipelago

You might not be familiar with the Yaeyama Islands. They're part of the Ryukyu archipelago of islands stretching southwest from Kyushu, all the way down to Taiwan.

The better-known Okinawa is part of the Ryukyu chain. Well, the Yaeyama Islands lie beyond that. Ishigaki, the main administrative island for the group, is a 1 hour flight from Okinawa.

12 main islands make up the group:

  • Aragusuku
  • Hateruma
  • Hatoma
  • Iriomote
  • Ishigaki
  • Kayama
  • Kohama
  • Kuroshima
  • Sotobanari
  • Taketomi
  • Yonaguni
  • Yubu

See: Iriomote, Yubujima and Taketomi Triple Island Tour HERE


A 3 Hour Flight From Tokyo

To give you some idea of just how remote these subtropical islands are, Tokyo is a 3 hour flight away at best. While on a clear day Taiwan is visible from Yonaguni Island.

Or, to put it another way, Taiwan is just 67 miles from Yonaguni Island, whilst Tokyo is more than 1,200 miles away.

Ishigaki The Real Japan Rob Dyer

Ishigaki island makes a great base for explaoring the rest of the Yaeyama Islands

Unspoilt Isolation

If you're looking for unspoilt isolation, beaches, waterfalls, crystal clear seas, mangrove forests, water buffalo pulling wooden carts, tradition, and a culture that's barely changed for hundreds of years, then this is the place for you.

Swimming or diving in the coral reefs found here you'll come across dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays and white sharks.

See: Mangrove Canoeing and Jungle Trekking on Iriomote HERE

Yaeyama Islands Ishigaki The Real Japan Rob Dyer

The seas around the Yaeyama Islands are stunning

See: Scuba Diving Tour on Ishigaki Island HERE


A Different Language

They even have their own languages - Yonaguni and Yaeyama. Around these parts, Japanese is the second language.

They even have their own languages - Yonaguni and Yaeyama

Where To Stay In The Yaeyama Islands


VIDEO: Water Buffalo Cart Crossing to Yubu Island

Location Map

Have you been to the Yaeyama Islands? If so please leave a comment below.


Travelling In Japan When You Don't Speak The Language

If you want to travel in Japan but don't speak the language, check out my guide book How To Travel In Japan Without Speaking Japanese.

How to travel in Japan without speaking Japanese ebook The Real Japan Rob Dyer


Yaeyama Islands Tours

Scuba Diving Tour on Ishigaki Island HERE

Iriomote, Yubujima and Taketomi Triple Island Tour HERE

Ishigaki Half-Day Snorkeling Tour HERE

Mangrove Canoeing and Jungle Trekking on Iriomote HERE

Half-Day Bus Tour of Ishigaki HERE

Discover more about the Yaeyama Islands HERE

Browse accommodation in Yaeyama on HERE

More Destinations

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Japan Travel Guide Books

How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese

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