Iriomote Island in Okinawa: An island of jungle beaming with nature and lives

Okinawa, with its pristine natural scenery, rich culture and an abundance of gourmet offerings, is a travel destination like no other. Highly accessible, there are direct flights from Hong Kong to Okinawa’s main island, Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island.

As the second-largest island after the main island of Okinawa, Iriomote Island is a treasure trove of nature’s gifts as more than 90% of the island is covered in jungle. Right from Ishigaki Island, it can be easily reached by fast ferry in around 40 minutes.

A smorgasbord of activities

The entire Iriomote Island is designated as a national park, and many visit the island specifically to experience the rich nature it has to offer. The sea, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and all kinds of living creatures ooze a distinct charm.

In Iriomote, you can have adventure-like experiences metropolitans can only dream of. There are many activity tours you can partake in. Popular recreational activities include trekking. Join a trekking tour to popular spots – such as Pinaisara Waterfall, the largest waterfall in Okinawa, and Mariyudu Waterfall – and relish being immersed in a forest cloaked by subtropical flora.

Want to get close to the water? Iriomote is where you can paddle your way slowly along the river flowing amid a mangrove forest! Also highly-recommended is jungle cruising along the Urauchi River, the longest river in Okinawa. There you’ll explore an amazing variety of flora and fauna whichever way you turn.
For the more audacious, there’s a range of caving tours to choose from. Explore incredible natural caverns and limestone caves, and step into an underground world you didn’t know exists.

Nature indulgence

Mariyudu Waterfall, selected as one of the 100 best waterfalls in Japan, is a beautiful three-tiered waterfall amidst a lush verdant forest. On the Star Sand Beach, you can find star-shaped sand grains while gazing at the emerald green ocean.

The island is home to the Iriomote wildcat, a nationally designated special natural treasure. The native species live only on Iriomote Island, where around 100 of them inhabit, and the number is said to be declining year by year.

Yubu Island

Located about 500 meters from Iriomote Island’s east coast, Yubu Island is a scenic small island consisting entirely of a subtropical botanical garden. To get there from Iriomote Island, you can ride on the water buffalo carriage, which usually takes around 15 minutes. At the Butterfly Garden, you can find rare butterflies all year long, including the tree nymph butterfly, known to be the largest in Japan.

Visit https://www.visitokinawa.jp/ for more information about Okinawa.

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