1. Hateruma Island
Considered as most beautiful island beach in Japan, Hateruma islands with estimated population of 600 (2004) can be reach by air to lshigakl Island and take a ferry to Hateruma. Located at Yaeyama District of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.
Activities on the Hateruma Island
- The Astronomical Observatory — open to visitors most evenings, with a brief presentation about the planets. From here you can observe 84 of the 88 constellations.
- The monument at Takanazaki – made out of stones collected from all over Japan and was built to commemorate Okinawa reverting to Japan in 1972.
- A leisurely cycle tour of the island – this is the best way to get around and really soak up the peace and quiet of the island.
- Snorkelling or diving off the beach at Nishi – explore the coral reefs, rock arches and myriad tropical ﬁsh.
- Best time to visit Hateruma Islands is in Mid-December to June weather to view the Southern Cross.
2. Iriomote Island
The Iriomote islands has a population estimate at 2250 in 2006 is a popular event location for Yamaneko Marathon in February and the Festival of Shitsumatsuri in November and can be reach by air from Japan’s main islands or Taiwan via Okinawa, to lshigaki; then by boat, from lshigaki Port to Funaura and Uehara.
Best things to do in Iriomote Island
- The Festival of Shitsumatsuri, a series of Yaeyama rituals to welcome the god Mayunganas, including speeches, mock duels, boat races, mass singing and frenetic dancing – all in traditional costumes, and exclusively on the beach.
- Watching the Yamaneko (lriomote) wildcat live on CCTV at the lriomote Wildlife Centre.
- The coastal flora and large sea bird colonies on the steep cliffs of Nakanougan Island, nearby.
- Leaving at dawn, by canoe or kayak, to witness the life cycle of the Sagaribana trees lining the river channels.
- The Sagaribana flower gives off an intense and sweet smell with feathery pink and white blossoms are overpoweringly exotic en masse, and the subject of much Japanese poetry.
Best iriomote natural ocean and floral video
3. Rebun Islands
The islands are known as Rebunto in Japanese has a population estimate at 3400 in 2005. You can reach the rebun islands by using a flight or ferry from Wakkanai. Located at far north of Japan off the north-West coast of Hokkaido.
Activities on the island
- Garota Beach – a sandy beach on the western coast of Rebun, popular with wind surfers. The section of hiking trail between Cape sukoton and Garota Beach on the island of Rebun.
- The Hachiejikan hiking trail — the trail runs down the whole of the west coast of Rebun, from Sukoton Misaki in the north, through woods and across flower-filled meadows, to Motochi in the south.
- Best time to visit Rebun Islands is in June to August weather every year when the wild flowers are in bloom.
4. Ogasawara Islands
In English, the islands are called the Bonin Islands have the population of 2300 people in 2005. You can get there by ship from Tokyo to Chichi-jima. The ship leaves once a week and the journey takes 25 hours.
Activities on the island
- Whale watching – see in live humpback whales and sperm whales in their natural habitat. There are an organized tour will lead you to where the whales are most plentiful and increase your chances of seeing them.
- Swimming with dolphins — with the clear waters around the islands, you can see both spinner and bottleose dolphins swimming.
- Snorkelling and diving among the coral reefs. Marine life is plentiful, and this is where the first ever filming of a giant squid took place in 2004.
5. Shikoku Island
Things to do in Shikoku Island
- Bathing at Japan’s oldest hot spring, Dogo Onsen, near Matsuyama – even the no-frills ’Kami-no-Yu’ (‘Bath of the Gods’) gets you the huge, traditional wooden Japanese buildings and marble trimmings.
- Watching a nocturnal performance of Noh theatre by the flickering light of bonfires, medieval style, in the restored Matsuyama Castle Ninomaru Historical Garden.
- The opulent merchant’s mansion of KamieHaga House, and traditional wax and candleemaking at Uchiko, a beautifully preserved 19th century small town in Ehime.