Iriomote in Japan, is the largest of the Yae Yama Islands, of Okinawa. It is located bordering the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea, Southwest of mainland Japan and East of Taiwan. This island is thickly forested and has swampy mangroves. It is populated mostly along the coast. There are settlements, in Shirahama, Uehara, Ohara and Funaura. Near the western end, there are a few isolated fishing villages. Mt. Komi is the highest point on the island of Iriomote. There is an active undersea volcano 21 kilometers, northwest of Iriomote. Its summit is 200 m, below sea level.
The tourist first has to land at Ishigaki airport. They, then reach Iriomote by boat. There is a park, on the island. The most, famous denizen in it, is the Iriomote wildcat. It is, only found here, and is an endangered creature. You rarely get to see the critter, for it is nocturnal. There are huge mangrove trees, water birds, lizards, and also the skink, which is the largest lizards of Japan.
Iriomote Wildlife Centre
Iriomote Wildlife Centre is to the east of the island. On the west, you will see, Urachi River. This River is often referred to as a little Amazon.
The daredevils take the most thrilling and exciting hike. Hearts beating fast, as you slip down boulders, go through narrow cliffs and holding a rope, wade through rapid currents. Behold, now you see the beautiful Na-Ra Falls.
There are cruises which end at Gunkan-iwa Rock. You have now to trek up, to a viewing pavilion, to admire the Mariyudu Waterfalls. Down, the trail you go to Kanbire Waterfalls. There are guided eco-tours. On your way back, you can visit the museum, which is on the second floor, of the cruise pier building.
On the eastern side of the island, you get to see, some of the largest and oldest mangroves in Japan. A cruise takes you there.
Pinaisala Falls are about 55 kilometers from the island. The falls, look like a bearded man from a long distance. It is a 6 to 7 hours, round trip to go to the top and the basin of this beautiful fall.
Snorkeling and scuba diving are the popular watersports with the tourist. On the southern coast, you will find corals, dolphins and Ishigaki’s mantas, which rarely appear here. Canoeing companies offer a day or half a day tour. It is a fantastic experience.
The tourist can also go to Ida Beach by boat. In the crystal clear waters, you can see the beautiful flora and fauna, beneath the waters. One can spot needlefishes, sea turtles, sea snakes, colorful corals etc.
Hoshizuna-no-Hama is a beach which has sand shaped like little stars. These are the fossil remains, of once living star shaped organisms.
You can move to the east coast of Iriomote and head to the Yubu Islands. The traveler, reaches this island by buffalo pulled carts, moving ahead in the shallow waters. You, will be surprised to find, a restaurant and a tropical fruit orchid on this island. During low tide, some tourist even walk to the island in ankle deep water. Everything, the traveler does on Iriomote island is enjoyable and exciting.
The tourist will find in Iriomote a few scattered cafés, Private guest houses, are the only accommodation on this island. The divers, will find Japanese-style lodges, operated by Diving Team Unarizaki. The beach resorts have spacious rooms. It is worth q visit, to this off the beaten track Iriomote Island in Okinawa, Japan.