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Yaeyama Islands

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The Yaeyama Islands (八重山諸島 Yaeyama-shotō) are in Okinawa, Japan.

Islands

Map of the Yaeyama Islands

Understand

The Yaeyama Islands are the remotest and most southwestern part of Japan, closer to Taiwan than Okinawa Island, much less the mainland.

Talk

Due to their isolation the Yaeyama Islands are a linguist's dream. While standard Japanese is spoken everywhere and the main Okinawan language is also well understood, there is a unique Yaeyaman language as well. Ishigaki, Iriomote and Taketomi all have their own dialects of this, and Yonaguni's is so distinct that it's usually considered its own language.

Get in

The Yaeyama Islands are a long way from anywhere.

By plane

The main airport in the islands is on Ishigaki. There are frequent connections to Naha and Miyako and limited direct services to major Japanese cities like Tokyo.

By boat

A weekly ferry travels from Kaohsiung (Taiwan) to Ishigaki. There are also 4 services per week from Naha and Miyako to Ishigaki.

Get around

By plane

Japan Transocean Air has limited flights (1-2 services daily) from Ishigaki to Yonaguni and Terama.

By boat

There are frequent services from Ishigaki to Taketomi (just 10 minutes) and Iriomote (40 minutes). Infrequent boats connect to the other islands. The major operator is Yaeyama Kanko Ferry.

See

The Yaeyama Islands are about as off the beaten track as it gets in Japan. Iriomote is the only island in all Japan with authentic jungle and mangrove forests, while tiny Taketomi is known for its carefully restored traditional Ryukyu village.

Do

Thanks to pristine coral reefs, scuba diving is the number one sports activity in the islands.

Eat

Some of the more interesting local fare on offer includes snake and mimiga, a salad of pork ear, cucumber and vinegar.

Drink

Stay safe

Get out

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