VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Iriomote Island, Okinawa

VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Iriomote Island, Okinawa

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Japan

Whether you’re working from home, sheltering in place or just staying home, if you’re like us, you’re probably dreaming of open skies, sandy beaches, tall mountains, or perfect powdery slopes. Our travel plans may be on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream up where we’ll go next.

Welcome to virtual vacation video series where we can explore destinations from the comfort of our homes.

Join us as we take a short virtual journey to Iriomote Island.

To get here, hop on a flight then a ferry ride from mainland Japan. Or, if you’re stationed on Okinawa, a short flight and a ferry ride from Naha will get you there. Despite the distance, Iriomote Island has plenty of nature, culture, activities, and food for those looking for a getaway that’s out of the ordinary.

Some of the must-see spots in Iriomote Island include:

  • Ida no Hama – This sandy beach known for crystal waters and a superb ocean view is one of a kind. It draws visitors from long and wide despite its remote location on the island’s western coast.
  • Barras Island— This unique land mass made up of sea coral off the northern coast of Iriomote is a great snorkeling spot to check out the local tropical fish and a close up look at the reefs.
  • Urauchi River – This 10 km river boasts one of Japan’s biggest mangrove jungles. Take a boat tour here and connect with nature, explore the waterfalls and coal mine ruins within.

Last, but not least, Yufu Island is a destination that you can’t miss. A 15-minute ride on a water buffalo cart through shallow waters will take you there. Just 0.5 km away from the west coast of Iriomote Island, this small island is home to a flower garden, a butterfly garden and a pond where the water buffalo gather.

While touring Iriomote Island, make sure you try some shima-banana, a local banana with a rich and creamy texture and sour flavor. These fruits are unique to Okinawa, so grab one or a few during your visit.

I hope you enjoyed a look at Iriomote Island through travel photos and that it's inspired your next trip. Stay safe and get ready to travel with us in our next video. Thanks for watching!

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