What’s Doing on Taketomi Island, Japan

By Jonathan Spira on 12 March 2013
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Taketomi Island is one of the Yaeyama Islands in the Okinawa Prefecture.  It is 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Taiwan, 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Mainland China, and 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) from Kyushu, the southern tip of the Japanese main island.  Tokyo, incidentally, is more than 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) away.  Taketomi Island is part of Iriomote National Park, which spans multiple islands.

The island itself is formed from coral reef and it is filled with bright colors and lush foliage. Wildlife is abundant, both on land and sea.

Known for its traditional Ryukyuan houses and stone walls, Taketomi Island has a population of roughly 350 inhabitants and covers roughly 2.09 square miles (5.42 square kilometers).  Tourism is a major industry, as is sugar cane, and visitors come to see the traditional village and enjoy the beautiful beaches.

The island’s population remains fairly stable since it’s almost impossible to get permission to move onto the island. (Indeed, almost all hotelDSC_1002 employees commute from nearby Ishigaki Island.)

All buildings have a Shisa, a statue of a creature that somewhat resembles a lion and protects the occupants from evil spirits, similar in concept to a Tomte in Scandinavia, on the roof.  The island’s streets and paths are covered in white coral, and it is said that this was done to make pit vipers, a venomous snake, stand out.


Click here to continue to Page 2Virtual Tours of the Island, What to Do, Where to Stay, and How to Get There

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