Locals, visitors take their time on Taketomi Island

The white sand beaches of Taketomi Island are among the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. AYA ICHIHASHI/STARS AND STRIPES
The white sand beaches of Taketomi Island are among the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. AYA ICHIHASHI/STARS AND STRIPES

Locals, visitors take their time on Taketomi Island

by Aya Ichihashi
Stars and Stripes

As soon as you step onto Taketomi Island, southwest of Okinawa, it’s impossible not to notice that time flows much slower here than anywhere else.

Paved roads are few, and so are automobiles and traffic lights. There are no fluorescent-lit 24-hour convenience stores. A water buffalo ambling through the neighborhood is heavy traffic.

About 360 people live on Taketomi, enough to make a small high-school class. The island, part of the Yaeyama Archipelago, is just over 5 miles in circumference and only a 10-minute ferry ride from Ishigaki Island. It’s a little less than 200 miles from Taiwan. From Naha to Ishigaki, it’s about a 50-minute flight.

Once on the island, I pedaled to white-sand Kondoi Beach, ranked the third-best destination by travelers in Japan this year by TripAdvisor. The sand is white, light and fluffy, and the beach stretches for a quarter-mile.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.596465

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