Taketomi Island (Taketomijima) 竹富島
Water buffalo rides, beautiful beaches and a liberal helping of Ryukyu culture
Just a 15-minute ferry ride from Ishigaki Island , Taketomi Island might as well be worlds apart. A time capsule of traditional Ryukyu culture and architecture, a day trip to the island is a must.
- The red-tiled houses of Taketomi Village
- Water buffalo tours through the town
- Sunset on Kondoi Beach
How to Get There
Taketomi Island is a short ferry ride from Ishigaki Island .
Three ferry companies operate between the islands, departing every 30 minutes. It takes about 10 minutes by high-speed ferry, and 15 minutes by car ferry each way.
Taketomi Island is a traditional Ryukyu-style village
The main way to get around the area is by water buffalo
Kondoi beach is the most popular beach on the island
The Okinawan way of life
A 15-minute walk from the ferry port will bring you to Taketomi Village, a beautifully preserved example of traditional Okinawan village architecture.
Walk the sunbaked streets among the single-storied houses, surrounded by stone walls, and covered with red tiled roofs, and you'll soon be swept away by the beauty of the Okinawan landscape. Look out for the shisa statues, which are half lion and half dog, and guard in pairs against evil spirits.
Where the buffalo roam
The best way to see the village is by water buffalo. Take a 30-minute tour of the village in a traditional rig pulled by a buffalo, while your guide serenades you on the sanshin, a three-stringed instrument similar to the Japanese shamisen.
The best beach on the island is Kondoi Beach, on the western side. It's a 15-minute walk from the central village. You can also cycle there. There are several bicycle rental shops on the island.
With soft sands, emerald waters and plentiful facilities, the beach is the perfect place to spend a few relaxing hours. Watch the spectacular sunsets here before heading back to Ishigaki Island.
Getting to and from the port
Buffalo tour operators and bicycle rental outlets offer free shuttle services from the ferry port to the village and back. Otherwise, it's a 15-minute walk.