Taketomi Island (竹富島, Taketomijima) is a small island off the coast of Ishigaki Island. That is home to a well-preserved traditional Ryukyu settlement. Taketomi Island is frequently visited as a day excursion from Ishigaki due to its tiny size.
The little town is nearly entirely made up of old-style. One-story dwellings encircled by stone walls and covered with red-tiled roofs. And plenty of lion-like shisa sculptures to ward off evil spirits. Some of the houses in the village are used as minshuku.
Other ancient residences in the town have been converted into restaurants and businesses offering local foods and crafts. Taketomi has no rental automobiles. Therefore most visitors walk or rent a bicycle to get around the village. White sand roads and the neighboring beaches on the island’s western side.
Water Buffalo Cart Rides
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Fee: 2000 yen
Two companies offer water buffalo-drawn cart tours of Taketomi Village. The 30-minute tours travel around the traditional streets of the village while a Japanese-speaking guide tells you about the island. Sings songs, and plays Okinawan music on their sanshin (Okinawan stringed instrument). You may notice that the guides rarely offer guidance to the water buffalo who know their routes by heart.
Can currently not be climbed due to its deteriorating state
The 4.5-meter tall Nagominoto Tower sits roughly in the center of the village. From where you have a view over most of the island. Combined with the hill on which it stands, the tower is about 10 meters above the surrounding houses. Below the tower is a grassy area, with a few shops and restaurants nearby.
Taketomi Island features sandy and rocky beaches, where you may swim and snorkel. Except for Kondoi Beach, the beaches do not have any public facilities.
When visiting the beaches, keep an eye out for powerful currents. That might take you out to sea and dangerous organisms like Habu Jellyfish. A form of box jellyfish that is most common from June to October. Signs in English warn about the risks, and some beaches have swimming zones that have been netted off. If you are stung, you should apply vinegar to the sting, remove any tentacles. Please seek medical attention immediately since stings can be fatal.