Yoron Island (Yoronjima) 与論島
A Greek village, phantom beach and fictional railway station on a secluded tropical isle
Otherwise known as Yoronjima or Yoronto, Yoron Island is one of the Amami Islands off Kyushu and belongs to the Amami Gunto National Park. The island is famed for its pellucid waters and watersports possibilities such as sea kayaking, diving, and swimming.
In addition to being an ideal subtropical getaway, this island features some offbeat attractions and activities, including a quasi-Greek village, a station to nowhere and a traditional drinking game. There are plenty of places to stay on the island.
Yoron Island lies closer to Okinawa than the Japanese mainland
The island's "Yoron Kenpo" drinking game is a traditional way of welcoming guests
Many houses still have traditional cone-shaped thatched roofs
The island's annual marathon has competitors race twice around the island
How to Get There
The main transport hubs for the island are Kagoshima on the Japanese mainland or Okinawa.
Airlines fly to Yoron Airport from both Naha in Okinawa and Kagoshima. Ferries depart daily from Kagoshima City and stop at the Amami Islands, including Yoron, on their way to Okinawa. The trip takes around 20 hours. From Okinawa, Yoron Island is a three-hour ferry ride away from Motobu Port. Bus services on the island are limited; far more convenient options include rental car, moped or bicycle.
Pristine beaches, coral reefs and year-round comfort
Yoron Island draws crowds for its relaxed ambiance, clear waters and white sands. The average temperature is 22 degrees here. Watersports are a popular pastime, but it's just as common to see people lying on the beach and reading. Near one of the beaches is a Greek village with whitewashed buildings, gardens, and views of the ocean.
The singular culture of Yoron
Because of its location, Yoron has its own distinct island culture and history. You can learn more about this culture at the Southern Cross Center. Head to the observation deck to view Okinawa Island and Okinoerabu Island when the weather is clear.
A true garden paradise
A small garden called Yunnu Rakuen ("Yunnu" is island's name in the local dialect, while "rakuen" is the Japanese word for paradise) here is home to many of the island's native plants. It's easy to combine a visit here during your day.
The phantom beach of Yurigahama
A beach revealed and hidden by the tides, Yurigahama lies off the Okaneku Beach coastline and is only accessible during low tide. Keep your eye on tidal timetables or ask someone local, since this phantom beach's location changes each day.
Take the road to nowhere
One of the island's more unusual attractions is the fictional Yoron Station. Situated on an imaginary line connecting Kagoshima, Yoron Island and Okinawa, the train station and surroundings make for a most unusual journey.