Taketomi Island travel guide, Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa - Best things to do in Taketomi - day trip from Ishigaki. Backpacking Okinawa Japan travel blog

 

Taketomi Island is really about taking it easy and taking in the views.

The perfect way to do this is to go for a leisurely bike ride around the island.

 

Taketomi Island. Best things to do on Taketomi day trip - bicycle rental. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

You can make a visit to Taketomi Island a part of your trip to Japan by adding in some time to go to the far south islands of Okinawa.

Within Okinawa prefecture, there’s the Yaeyama Islands.

And Taketomi Island is a part of the Yaeyama Islands.

 

The way to get to Taketomi is by ferry from the neighboring Ishigaki Island.

 

Taketomi Island - ferry around yaeyama island. Backpacking Okinawa Japan

 

You can stay overnight in Ishigaki for a perfect 3 days in the Yaeyama Islands:

 

 

Best things to do on Taketomi Island

Taketomi Island travel guide, Yaeyama Islands, Okinawa - Best things to do in Taketomi - day trip from Ishigaki. Backpacking Okinawa Japan travel blog

 

 

1. Kondoi Beach

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - kondoi beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

2. Kaiji Beach (star-sand beach)

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - kaiji beach, star-sand beach okinawa. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

3. Nishi-sanbashi pier

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - nishi sanbashi pier. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

4. Misashi-on

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - misashi-on. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

 

And…

Here’s what your one day trip to Taketomi Island can look like!

 

First, the quick list…

 

1. Ferry from Ishigaki port to Taketomi

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - ishigaki to taketomi ferry around yaeyama islands. Backpacking Okinawa Japan

 

2. Rent a bicycle

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - bicycle rental shop for cycling. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

3. Go cycling around the island!

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - cycling around taketomi island. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

4. Ferry from Taketomi port back to Ishigaki

Taketomi Island day trip - best things to do in Taketomi - taketomi to ishigaki ferry around yaeyama islands. Backpacking Okinawa Japan

 

 

And now…

A bit more details on how to spend time on Taketomi Island!

 

I started my day late morning, and I found this was a good amount of time and I didn’t really feel rushed.

 

  • 11:00am Ferry to Taketomi from Ishigaki ferry port
  • 11:15am Arrive at Taketomi
  • Rent a bicycle
  • Cycling around the island! (with stops at scenic points + beach hopping)
  • 5:15pm Ferry back to Ishigaki ferry terminal
  • 5:30pm Arrive back at ferry terminal

 

After you get your bicycle, the order of places to visit isn’t so important as the island is relatively small, and it can feel even smaller since you’re getting around by bike.

If you’re not renting a bike, you’ll probably want to more carefully look at the map to plan out your day since going by foot will take longer.

In any case, here’s what a sample day on Taketomi island could look like!

 

 

Bicycle rental

So once you get off the ferry, you’ll almost immediately see a row of shuttles buses.

 

Taketomi Island - bicycle rental shuttle bus at Taketomi ferry port. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island - bicycle rental shuttle bus at Taketomi ferry port. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

A number of these are shuttles to take you to get a bicycle rental.

You can basically choose any of them. You don’t need to make any reservations in advance.

I got on the maroon-colored shuttle.

 

Taketomi Island - bicycle rental shuttle bus at Taketomi ferry port. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

Then this will take you to the bicycle rental shop.

 

Taketomi Island - bicycle rental shop for cycling. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

The bike shop I ended up at seemed very accommodating to English speakers, as a guy here pulled me aside from the main line to provide me with a bicycle and other information about the island. (Including explaining possible places to visit on a map.)

 

The cost of my bicycle rental was 2,000 yen (US$18) for the day.

I got a “mountain bike” so this was slightly more expensive.

 

Taketomi Island - bicycle rental shop for cycling - mountain bikes. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

The cost of an ordinary bicycle rental is 1,500 yen (US$14) for the day.

There are also fat bikes and tandem bikes too.

 

Taketomi Island - bicycle rental shop for cycling - fat bikes and ordinary bikes. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

It’s also an option to rent a bike at an hourly rate, and that starts at 300 yen (US$3) per hour for an ordinary bike.

 

If do decide NOT to rent a bike on the island, make your first stop from the ferry port the building that’s located right nearby. (And be prepared to walk a lot on the island!)

 

Taketomi Island - tourist visitors information center at Taketomi ferry port. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island - tourist visitors information center at Taketomi ferry port. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

Here is basically the visitor’s center.

You can get a free English map here to use for the day, but you do need to return it.

There’s a detailed Japanese map that you can buy for 200 yen (US$2) as well.

If you’re renting a bike, you don’t need to stop by for a map as you will likely get one with your bicycle rental. (I received a map anyway.)

There are toilets and coin lockers located inside this building as well.

 

 

Start cycling around the island!

Since the bicycle shop is basically in “town,” first you’ll start off by riding through the streets of the “village.”

 

Taketomi Island - cycling Taketomi village streets. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

Again, the order you go to the scenic points isn’t important, but at some point you’ll probably be backtracking.

 

 

Kondoi Beach

 

This is the main (only?) swimming beach and beach-lazing area on Taketomi Island.

So if you’re looking to get in some sun or to get in the water, this is where you’ll want to go.

This beach also has some facilities too so this can make it among the most convenient scenic look-out point.

It seems from online reports that this is somewhat of a snorkeling beach, but I didn’t see any fish.

That doesn’t mean that you won’t though if you go snorkeling here!

 

Taketomi Island. Kondoi Beach - swimming beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. Kondoi Beach - swimming beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. Kondoi Beach - swimming beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. Kondoi Beach - swimming beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

If you want to get in some beach time, Kondoi Beach is the beach to do so at.

And then after a visit to Kondoi Beach, these are mainly some scenic viewpoints!

(Or maybe you want to go to the scenic points first so you can finish your day off at the beach!)

 

 

Kaiji Beach (star-sand beach)

Taketomi Island. Kaiji Beach - star-sand beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

So Kaiji Beach aka Hoshizuna Beach aka Star-Sand Beach is one of the popular spots on Taketomi Island because of the type of sand you can find at this beach.

That’s why with a visit here, you’ll see people crouched down seemingly looking for something.

 

Taketomi Island. Kaiji Beach - star-sand beach - where to find star sand in okinawa. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

They are looking for that famous star-shaped sand!

 

Taketomi Island. Kaiji Beach - star-sand beach - where to find star sand in okinawa. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

And it is possible that you can find some too. (Not as much as the above photo though – that’s souvenir sand!)

When I was there, people were successfully finding this type of sand.

And aside from the sand, this beach is again good for the views. (Which can basically be said anywhere along the coast on Taketomi Island!)

 

Taketomi Island. Kaiji Beach - star-sand beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. Kaiji Beach - star-sand beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

 

Nishi-Sanbashi pier

Besides the views…

 

Taketomi Island. Nishi sanbashi pier beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. Nishi sanbashi pier beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. Nishi sanbashi pier beach. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

This isn’t really a snorkeling area but I did see fish here!

When you walk out to the pier, you can have a look in the water from above to see if you can see any fish in the water.

When I was there, you could see some on the left side of the pier, as you’re walking out toward the ocean.

And, seeing some other people further out in the water…

 

Taketomi Island. Nishi sanbashi pier beach- snorkeling spot?! Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

I decided to get in the water too. (Follow the lead of others… 😉 I think they were trying to catch fish, though.)

 

Taketomi Island. Nishi sanbashi pier beach- snorkeling spot?! fish! Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. Nishi sanbashi pier beach- snorkeling spot?! Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

I think snorkeling at Yonehara Beach on Ishigaki Island will provide you near-guarantees of fish sightings if you want to save your snorkeling activity for another day! (But it is nature, so no absolute guarantees!)

 

 

Misashi-on

After I finished up visiting what seemed to be the 3 top coastal spots on Taketomi Island (Kondoi Beach, Kaiji Beach, and Nishi-sanbashi pier), I looked at the map and it seemed like there might be something up north of the island.

So I biked up that way.

There was another scenic coastal point along the way…

 

Taketomi Island. cycling around island with bicycle rental. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. cycling around island - fishing. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

And then the Misashi-on area also provided more views!

 

Taketomi Island. misashi-on. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. misashi-on. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. misashi-on. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

Taketomi Island. misashi-on with bicycle rental. Backpacking Yaeyama islands, Okinawa Japan

 

 

And then finally…

Taketomi to Ishigaki ferry

Taketomi Island - taketomi to ishigaki ferry around yaeyama islands. Backpacking Okinawa Japan

 

Off to return the bicycle rental, and then they also offered a shuttle back to Taketomi ferry port!

 

Be sure to see how to spend the rest of your days on Ishigaki island with hiking, snorkeling, and another boat ride!

 

 

 

HAPPY TAKETOMI ISLAND VISIT!

 



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The super fast train in Japan
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NEW way of buying individual shinkansen train tickets online!
I will start by saying I have NOT bought train tickets online this way (yet!) to verify this! (But it's on my list for my next trip to Japan!)

There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.

You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)

I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!

The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.

So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.

Search for popular routes in Japan here. For example, Tokyo to Kyoto.

If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.

My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.

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Best travel guides for Japan
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