- Daisuke Okui
6 recommended day trips to Yonaguni Island, the westernmost point of Japan (Okinawa)
The westernmost point of Japan. What is Yonaguni Island?
Yonaguni Island is one of the Yaeyama Islands and the westernmost island in Japan. It is located more than 500 km from the main island of Okinawa, but only 111 km from Taiwan. From its unique climate, which is different from any other island in the Japanese archipelago, to its history and culture, this is an island you will want to visit at least once.
If you have come all the way to Japan's westernmost island, you may want to spend a night, but there may be times when you have to make a day trip, despite your best intentions, due to the number of travel days, plane reservations, and other factors. We would like to introduce some recommended sightseeing spots in Yonaguni that you can visit in a limited time.
Access to Yonaguni Island
There are two ways to get to Yonaguni Island: by air or by ferry.
If you take the air route, you can get to the island from Naha Airport on Okinawa Island or Nannujima Ishigaki Airport on Ishigaki Island. There are only two to three flights per day, and the number of passengers per flight is limited, so early planning and reservations are recommended depending on the time of year.
Ferries depart only from Ishigaki Island, twice a week, and the trip takes about 4 hours. If you use the round-trip ferry, the return trip will be the next day at the earliest, so you will need to spend one night in Yonaguni Island.
6 Recommendations for Sightseeing in Yonaguni Island
As for transportation on Yonaguni Island, there is a bus service, but it mainly goes around the villages, and it is not suitable for visiting tourist attractions efficiently as there is one bus service every 1-2 hours. For efficient island sightseeing, we recommend that you do some preliminary research beforehand and rent a car or motorcycle, or take a tour of the island.
If you arrive at Yonaguni Island by air, it is located right in the center of the northern part of the island, so it is best to go around the island in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
Irizaki Lighthouse and Japan's westernmost monument
It is located in Kubura district, the western village of Yonaguni Island. There is a parking lot and public restrooms. If you arrive at Yonaguni Island by ferry, you can reach the ferry terminal in this district, which is about 1 km away and can be reached on foot.
There is a monument and a lighthouse (built in 1957/the lighthouse cannot be climbed) that marks the westernmost point of Japan, and from the observation point, Taiwan, about 111 km away, may be seen if you are lucky (Taiwan is only visible about once a month). There is also a monument under the lighthouse commemorating the successful reenactment (experimental) voyage of the great voyage across the sea in a round wooden boat 30,000 years ago in 2019.
For day trip tourists, you will not be on the island until sunset time, but it is a famous point to watch the sunset from the westernmost island of Japan into the western sea.
Agarizaki Ranch and Agarizaki Lighthouse, where you can meet Yonaguni horses
Agarizaki Ranch, located at the eastern end of Yonaguni Island, is a peaceful place where Yonaguni horses and cows graze. There is a parking lot, but there are no public restrooms. Agarizaki Lighthouse stands in the pasture. It is a 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the lighthouse. From the nearby observatory, you can see the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
Shikina Island Clinic, the setting of the drama and movie (location of Dr.Koto Shinryojo)
This clinic was built for the filming of the TV drama and movie versions of the remote island medical manga Dr.Koto Shinryojo. Visitors can experience the realistic interior of the clinic and the excitement of being in the exact same place as seen in the TV drama and movie.
Go to the mysterious underwater ruins!
Board a semi-submersible boat departing from Kubura Port in the west of Yonaguni Island to see the mysterious underwater ruins in the sea southeast of the island. The trip takes about 1.5 hours (boarding time is about 1 hour), and the boat departs twice a day, so it is necessary to think about how to get around the island and time your trip accordingly. Also, depending on the waves and weather conditions, some boats may not depart. There is no building like a ferry terminal or public restroom at the harbor, and you will board the boat directly after arriving at the harbor, so it is recommended that you use the restroom before going.
About 20 minutes after setting sail, you will arrive at the underwater ruins point, and when the boatman announces the arrival, you will go down to the semi-basement of the ship. There is a mat-type chair in the center of the semi-basement level, so you can lie on your stomach on it and look at the underwater ruins through the windows on either side. The ruins look as if they were cut out artificially, and there are steps that look like staircases. There has been much research and debate over the years, but no definitive conclusion has yet been reached. Whether they are man-made or the result of nature, they look like mysterious ruins and are very exciting.
The spectacular view from the top! Rokujou Beach
If you want to see the beautiful white sand beach and the blue sea, you can stand on the beach and see the sea! When you want to see the beautiful white sand beach and blue ocean, you may imagine standing on the beach and looking at the ocean, but the view from the top is also great. The entrance to the road to the point where you overlook Rokudatami Beach is a bit confusing, so when you get close, look for the handmade signboard shown in the photo. Once you find it, follow the narrow path on the side.
*There is no parking lot, and if you are visiting by rental car, you will have to park on the street, so pull over to the edge to park so as not to impede the passage of other cars.
When you see the ocean stretching out in front of you, be careful to follow the path, which looks like it was made by people stepping on it. There is no fence on the cliff, so go to the point where you can look down below without getting too close. Enjoy the spectacular view of the lovely white beach, which is only about 6jou(10え㎡) in size as its name suggests, and the blue ocean.
*In case of heavy rain or strong wind, it is dangerous to visit on the cliff, so do not visit in bad weather.
Tategami Rock, a sacred rock in Yonaguni
The rock that rises out of the sea off the island is called "Tachigami" and has been worshipped as a sacred rock. According to legend, a young man climbed the rock and was unable to climb down, so he prayed to the gods and was able to get down safely.