Ishigaki Island (Day 4: Taketomi Island)

9:00 AM
The last day, we went to Taketomi island. It took only 10 minutes on a ferry to the island from Ishigaki bay.

Taketomi Island is a small island, 9 km in diameter. It is famous for the traditional houses with red tile roofs and white sand roads. It is said that it still remains an old Okinawa atmosphere. Before return to Tokyo, I wanted to relax on the island.

The statue of Gushiken Yoko, a world champion boxer. Ishigaki was his hometown.

I booked the set of round-trip felly, water buffalo carriage tour, and rental bike. It cost 3,800 yen for an adult.

Water Buffalo Carriage Tour

9:30 AM
First, we got on a tour bus from the port to the important Preservation District. Then we rode on a carriage drawn by a Water buffalo.

A young tour guide told us and conducted a male buffalo, “AH-PHA”. The guide said AH-PHA is not good at drawing the carriage. 

In Yaeyama island, (which means the eight island including Ishigaki, Taketomi, Iriomote and the other small islands in this area), water buffalos were necessary labor for farmers. Now they work in the tourist industry.

The carriage moved very slowly in the important preservation district. We enjoyed traditional houses with red tiles and tropical flowers. 

I was impressed that the guide tried not to beat AH-PAH. He gently called the name and waited for it move by itself. I don’t know it is the tradition of the island or to promote animal welfare.

The guide told us about the culture and local life of Taketomi Island. He said we should lodge on the island and enjoy drink and music at Izakaya at night because the last ferry departs from the island on 18:00. But there is an unknown way to go back to Ishigaki Island. If you eat and drink at an Izakaya, the master will take you to the Ishigaki island on a fishing boat at midnight.

If I will return to this island, I lodge there and enjoy the night after tourists leave.

The last half of the tour, the guide sang a traditional song and playing Sanshin, the Okinawan’s musical instrument. 

Time went by slowly.

Cycling on Taketomi Island

10:00 AM
After the tour, we rented bikes and pedaled around the island.

Cycling is the best way for go around the island.

We visited Kaiji beach, Kondoi beach and Nishi(west) pier which is no longer used.

It is said there are the star sand on Kaiji Beach, but we could not find.

There are lots of cats on the beach. My son was happy to communicate with them. The blue-green ocean and white sand liked as if we were in paradise.

West Pier. 

After enjoy the wonderful views, we returned the preservation area.

It was regrettable that we didn’t have enough time to have lunch and enjoy music.

11:45 AM, we left the island and flied back to Tokyo.

The conclusion of the day

  • Riding water buffalo carriage is exotic, relaxing, and fun attraction.  
  • Taketomi island is tiny, and most of the streets are not paved. It is enough to rent a bike there.
  • The sights of the beaches were stunning. I wanted to stay there more. 

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