Located just southwest of Ishigaki in the Okinawa Islands, Taketomi Island is at once convenient yet remote. Quiet and charming, the small island has no cars and no chain convenience stores, and the population of only a few hundred still live in traditional coral-walled houses with red-clay tile roofs. Visitors wanting to get the full cultural experience can tour the village on a cart pulled by water buffalo, guided by a local who’ll tell folk takes to the sounds of a local instrument.
The island’s beaches also make it worth a visit. Kondoi Beach on the western shore offers beach facilities with white sand and beautiful teal water. Kaijihama Beach on the southwestern coast and Aiyauhama Beach on the eastern coast are both notable for their star-shaped sand formed by the shells of crustaceans.
The only way to get to Taketomi Island is by boat. High-speed ferries depart from Ishigaki every 30 minutes throughout the day, and the trip takes about 10 minutes.