Yonaguni Island: The mystic westernmost island in Japan

by Shiyoung Kim
JapanTravel

The westernmost island of Japan, Yonaguni

Yonaguni is the westernmost island of Japan as well as one of the Yaeyama islands in Okinawa prefecture. It is a very beautiful island which was also used as a film site. Let me introduce this mysterious island to you.

How to get here

There are two ways to get there. The first way is to take a direct flight from Naha airport which I did. Another way is flying or sailing from Ishigaki island.

The airplane flying between Yonaguni island and Okinawa prefecture was tiny and cute - probably because of the small size of the island. It was unusual for me to see this small airplane with two propellers on each sides as I'm used to seeing jumbo size airplanes!

Yonaguni airport was small as well which I thought was pretty practical.

Sightseeing & Attractions

A harvest festival was happening when I went into the center of the island. It seems like the harvest festival happens annually in autumn. Everyone on the island was participating in various traditional dances or events, hoping for a rich coming year.

Yonaguni's ocean was so clean just like Okinawa's. The clear water and cool wind gave me such refreshing feeling. The clean beach was very impressive too.

I recommend getting a rental car to tour around the island. You can also see dairy farming at the northern part of the island.

Yonaguni island is famous for three animals - spearfish, horses and moths. The spearfish is an important animal for the local people's fishing industry. The horses of this island are famous for being strong and healthy. And there is a moth museum at the center of the island.

When you go to the westernmost part of the island, you will see a particular rock. In order to see this rock, you have to climb up the hill. When you are up on the hill, the beautiful scenery of the town will spread out before your eyes.

You will feel that you are at the westernmost spot of Japan when you see that rock. At the back of the rock, you will see the distance between Yonaguni island and Okinawa prefecture (509km) written on it as well as the distance between Yonaguni island and Taiwan (111km). You will feel how close you are to Taiwan from this island.

Yonaguni island was used as a film site for the TV drama, "Dr.Goto's Clinic". The film site is still there for fans.

Where to eat

Yonaguni island is also full of delicious food. One of my favorite foods was a snack called Mimiga (ミミガー) - jerked pig's ear skin. Mimiga was a perfect combination with Awamori(泡盛), the regional spirit of Okinawa.

Yaeyamasoba (Yonaguni style noodle) was impressive too as well as other foods made with spearfish.

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