Hateruma (波照間) is the southernmost populated island in Japan, and part of Okinawa's Yaeyama Islands.
Anei Kankō and Hateruma Kaiun together have four departures daily from Ishigaki harbor. If you buy a round-trip ticket, be sure to catch the same operator's boat on the way back. Travel time is 60 minutes.
Monuments at the southernmost point of Japan
There are no buses or commercial car rental companies on Hateruma, so for trips beyond the village, rent a bicycle or moped. Some guest houses like House Minami offer car rental service to staying guests for a fee and even to non-staying visitors for a slightly higher fee but bicycle is probably the best way to enjoy Island life and the 'middle-of-nowhere' atmosphere. If absolutely intrepid or desperate, walking is actually a viable option, as its approximately 3km from the village to the observatory. Walking isn't exactly viable for every single location of interest though.
- Japan's Southernmost Point Monument (日本最南端の碑) is on the southeast coast of the island. As the local maps say, "Beyond here, the Philippines".
- Astronomical Observatory (星空観測タワー), on the southeast corner (300m from the southernmost point). Open every evening except Monday, with a minimal planetarium presentation. The Southern Cross is visible from mid December to June. Many local inns provide shuttle service (free or Y500) to and from the observatory.
- Nishi Hama (ニシ浜), west of the port. The turquoise waters here are among the most beautiful in all of the islands.
- Pananufa (パナヌファ), west of the village and directly south of the port, 0980-85-8187. A charming cafe/restaurant with a library and musical instruments to play.
Hateruma's local specialty Awanami (泡波) makes its way from the distillery to the local stores only sporadically, and the islanders usually buy it all up within hours. So if you come across anything larger than the tiny 100ml bottles, grab it. Fuka Shōten (冨嘉商店) is a good place to look.
- Nishihama-sō (西浜荘), 3 min walk from the port, 0980-85-8290. Shared rooms for Y2000, private rooms also available. Kitchen facilities with free rice, which you won't find anywhere else.
- Hoshizora-sō (星空荘), 0980-85-8130. Japanese rooms for Y6000, English rooms for Y7000. One of the few minshukus in town that seems to entertain non-japanese speaking tourists. Easily contactable by facebook. Reservations to be done 2 months in advance. Offers transport to and from ferry terminal, and bicycle rental. Owner is a lovely lady that speaks a little English, and may offer you tours to the now derelict airport and the southernmost point of Japan on her van if you ask nicely.