Showing posts with label iriomote. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iriomote. Show all posts

Friday, December 22, 2023

Iriomote Island Beaches


As of this posting, we are "enjoying" an unusually early cold and snowy spell, so these images are for the rest of you in the northern hemisphere right now.

Iriomote is a fairly large island in the Ishigaki Islands, not far from the coast of Taiwan. In fact it is the second largest island in all of the Okinawas.

Most of the island is fairly dense jungle and mangrove swamp and is home to the Iriomote Wild Cat.

The island is sparsely populated and lives along the single coastal road that covers about 2/3 of the coastline.

Iriomote has a lot of fine beaches and coastline suitable for snorkelling.

It also has a fair amount of coastal mangrove groves.

The most famous beach is called Starsand Beach because among the sand you can find tiny star-shaped grains.

These pics were taken in April, well outside the tourist season and so mostly deserted.

The previous post was on the water buffalo carts of Yubu Island.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Yubu Island Water Buffalo Carts


Yubu is a tine island 400 meters off the coast or Iriomote Island that has no ferries or bridge.

Transport to and from the island is by carts pulled by water buffalo, or by walking.

The island was formed by  deposits from the Yonara River and so is only just 1 meter above sea level. At high tide the channel is only 1 meter at the deepest point, and at lower tides is much shallower.

A line of utility poles marke the route for pedestrians and carts.

Very much a touristy thing, the drivers typically play sanshin and sing Okinawan folk songs.

Most of the island is a botanical garden. The island was settled after WWII but most left after a devastating typhoon of 1969.

The previous post was Iriomote Island Snapshots. An earlier post on Taketomi Island Water Buffalo Carts.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Iriomote Island Snapshots


Iriomote Island, 90 percent covered in fairly impenetrable jungle and mangrove swamps has a thriving pineapple industry and has recently started a pineapple beer festival.

I will post more on Iriomote beaches later, but here are a couple of shots of singular objects embedded in the sand.

Not much text today, just photos to enjoy...

An almost circular hole in a tidal rock is filled with bits of coral

Of course a wide variety of flowers can be found.....

A couple of coastal settlements have small areas of rice paddies.

Compared to mainland Japan, the coastline of Iriomote has relatively little in the way of tetrapods and other concrete fortifications.

A rare sight anywhere in Japan, a free-grazing cow at pasture.

The previous post in this Okinawa series was on the Urauchi River and Mariudo Falls.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Urauchi River & Mariudo Falls


The Urauchi River is the longest river in Okinawa Prefecture, and it is found on Iriomote Island, the largest of the Yaeyama Islands.

As Okinawa consists of many small islands, its perhaps not surprising that the longest river is only just over 18km in length.

the river source is in the middle of the mostly uninhabited island at 311 meters elevation and reaches the sea at the NW of the island.

Boat trips go upriver about 10 kilometers and from where they stop a trail runs another kilometer or so to Mariudo Falls.

A three stage falls of just 16 meters, Mariudo Falls is not the tallest on Iriomote, but possibly the most visited. It is possible to hike further upstream to another waterfall, and several smaller falls are passed on the way to Mariudo.

Many sources use the word "jungle" to describe Iriomote, but while it is certainly different from mainland Japan, I would use "sub-tropical" forest.

What Iriomote does have is plenty of mangroves, trees that grow in the salty water of intertidal zones in tropical and sub-tropical environments.

The guide on the boat was very excited to point out this bird which, I believe, was a Crested Sea Eagle.

Its also possible to cruise the river in guided kayak tours.

The previous post on Okinawa was on Mount Nosokodake on neighboring Ishigaki Island.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Star Sand Beach


There are two Hoshizuna (star sand) beaches in the Yaeyama Islands, one on Taketomi, and this one on the north coast of Iriomote.


No crowds, no deckchairs, no ice creams.....


Warm water..... in midwinter the water temperature drops to 20 degrees celsius...


The star sand is actually the skeleton, about 1mm across, of an organism...