We’ve just introduced you to three Japanese Islands that we visited in the Okinawa prefecture and after showing you the best of Ishigaki Island, it’s time for our second stop during this tour: lovely little Taketomi Island.
Ready for take-off!
From the harbour in Ishigaki, we took the ferry over to Taketomi, it’s only a 15 minute ride!
Cycle Trip around Taketomi Island
The population of Taketomi Island lies around 300 people. This cute little island is know for its traditional Okinawan houses, stone walls and sandy streets. You will love the red-tiles roofs and little shisha guard dog/lion hybrids that guard every building.
The best way to see the place is to rent a bike and hop from beach to beach to relax or snorkel in between.
Another popular activity, which we let you decide for yourself if you find it ethical or not, is taking an ox-cart ride through the village.
We made a little video for you to show you our cycle trip around Taketomi island. Check below to see it and let us know what you think (we speak in Dutch, but we created English subtitles for you!)
What else we did on Taketomi Island…
They do have bigger bikes for us Westerners :)
My favourite Shisha from the island. Go Bikes!
You don’t really need a plan to get around Taketomi Island, dus soak in the beauty around you!
If you’re not afraid of heights and/or constructions that seem to be crumbling under your feet, then make sure to make your way up Nagomi Tower.
There is only room for 2 people at a time, so pick your best friend and enjoy the 360 degree view together:
If you cycle straight towards the ocean from the viewpoint, you will hit West Pier first. Not a great beach per sé, but still nice enough for a quick look and a selfie with the amazingly coloured water in the backdrop.
Apparently the blue in the water can take on 7 or 8 different shades! Ooooohhh Pretty!
For the best beach, keep cycling towards Kondoi Beach (the roads really just go in a circle, you can’t go wrong). The water on this beach is quite shallow and great for a dip. At the beginning of the beach, you can park your bike and also find toilets and showers.
To be honest, we’re not really sunbathers (and the weather wasn’t that great -very hot, but not very sunny), so we only stayed here for a short while. Still, long enough to make some friends with a Japanese couple who loved our friend Paul’s Glastonbury’s shirt and could stop talking about music :)
Star Sand Beach (Kaiji beach)
I found the next beach much more interesting, as it was covered with ‘hoshizuna’, or ‘star sand’. Well.. covered… it used to be at least, before they started botteling it up like crazy and selling to tourists (there is still a souvenir stand ON the beach! Hah!)
If you have some patience and sief through the grains, you will see tiny little star-shaped pieces of ‘sand’, which actually is formed from the remains of tiny star-shaped crustations. Very cool!
Just keep looking!
Cycling back to the village, such great little streets!
Before you return your bike, make sure to visit this lovely lady! She owns a sweets shop and sells super yummy sugared peanuts and cane sugar ice lollies
After all that goodness, we could say we had a lovely day out. Time to get back on the ferry and continue the rest of our adventures in Okinawa!!!
How to get There?
There is a great Okinawa ferry network around all the islands and to get from Ishigaki Island to Taketomi island, it’s only a short ride.
From the ferry terminal in Ishigaki, there are many desks where you can book a ticket (we did at the one below). There is also a desk with English speaking staff, which is probably the easiest to book from.
How to get Around?
Tatekomi island Japan is super tiny, so the easiest is to rent a bike and take it easy. You can rent a bike from a couple of places and prices range from around ¥300 an hour to ¥1500 for a full day.
Where to Stay?
We didn’t stay on Taketomi island ourselves, as it makes a good enough day trip (there isn’t much more to see), but if you really want to slow down, you can stay in one of the guesthouses in Taketomi village.
Where to Eat?
We had lunch in the harbour of Ishigaki before we head off to Taketomi island Okinawa and it’s probably easy to grab something from the convenient store in Ishigaki before you head out, but there are some small shops scattered around the island where you can get refreshments and a couple of restaurants serving traditional meals.
We do recommend, however, to visit the lovely little shop on the crossing before the viewing platform. It is run by an friendly old lady and she has incredible sugared peanuts and sugar cane icelollies. Must do!
And if nothing else.. there are always the vending machines. Everywhere, seriously.
Planning a Trip to Japan? Here are some great resources:
- Skyscanner – Find the best flights to Japan
- Booking.com – Find the best hotels in Japan
- World Nomads – Find the best travel insurance
- Get Your Guide – The most popular tours & activities around Japan
- ViaHero – Get help planning a trip to Japan from a local
- Magical Trip – Discover Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto at night with a local tour guide
- G Adventures – Group travel to Japan
Disclaimer: We were kindly invited by the Okinawa Tourism Board to experience the hospitality, culture, food and nature of Taketomi Island. All photos, videos and opinions are 100% our own, as always.