Biking Taketomi Island in Japan

Biking Taketomi FI

This is the last post I will be making about my Spring Break trip to Okinawa. Feel free to rejoice or despair depending on how you’ve been feeling about my posts these last few weeks.

In case you missed out on my other posts here is a quick summary of my Okinawa Trip:

First we arrived in Ishigaki and explored around Kabira Bay.

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Beautiful Kabira Bay where we stayed while visiting Ishigaki in Okinawa Japan.

Then we rented a car and got lost road tripped around the island.

Our third day in Okinawa, we went kayaking through mangroves and hiked around a waterfall.

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Kayaking through mangroves to reach the waterfall in the top right-hand corner of this picture. My favorite day of our Okinawa trip.

The next day we spent the morning in the ocean scuba diving with manta rays and the afternoon peacefully sleeping on a boat falling asleep and getting burned alive by the sun.

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Waking up the morning of our last full day in Okinawa was very bittersweet. We were happy to be heading to Taketomi island for the day since we had heard many wonderful things about it, but we were sad that it was our last day.

Taketomi is a very small island near Ishigaki where the people don’t need to drive cars. Everyone gets around by bike and walking. They also have water buffalo drawn carts for the tourists to ride around in. It’s hard for me to imagine a life without cars even after visiting the island! The pace of life would be so different!

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Taketomi is so slow, simple, and peaceful. A perfect place to relax during a vacation.

Taketomi is accessible from Ishigaki by ferry. So we loaded up our stuff for the day and went to the ferry port in Ishigaki City. The ferry ride is much shorter than the ride to Iriomote, about 10 minutes. Round-trip the ferry ticket cost us 1,100 yen.

When we arrived on Taketomi we decided to rent bicycles in order to get around. It cost us about 1500 yen for the full day. You could also rent them for a shorter amount of time if you wanted.

The man we rented our bicycles from operated his business out of a small shed on the back side of the touristy part of the island and was waiting next to the ferry when we got off. He gave us a hand drawn map of the island and a brief description of the island and the different places to go in Japanese.

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The shed we rented out bikes from on Taketomi. The bikes were in good working condition and the man made sure to find frames large enough for our long gaijin legs. You can see the rental price on the right-hand side of the door.

We thought we got the gist of what he was saying, but we really didn’t. We should have already learned by now that hand drawn maps are the enemy. In the end, we had to resort to trusty google maps and our phones. Between the three of us our sense of direction is truly awful. This the probably the fourth or fifth time we got lost while on this trip.

The first stop of the day on Taketomi was Kondoi beach that our bike-rental man told us was good for swimming. When we got there we realized the beach was indeed beautiful and that the sand was fine, but the water didn’t get much deeper than our knees no matter how far we went.The beach was great for swimming if you had small children since there was no tide and the water never got too deep. For

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cute family and motorbike.

The beach was great for swimming if you had small children since there was no tide and the water never got too deep. For us, it was just an awkward depth and not really for swimming. When we realized we would just wade in knee deep water no matter how far out we went we snuggled up with books and podcasts under a shady umbrella and watched the cute families play in the water.

After a good hour and a half, we decided to bike around a bit more to see more of the island. We rode past an elementary school, a community center, and some homes before stopping at a restaurant for lunch.

Since the island is small and survives off of tourism we had limited options of where to eat and everything was VERY highly priced. For a below average Japanese curry and rice lunch, I paid 1700 yen (about 16 dollars). Bring extra cash to Taketomi or pack your own lunch!

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a small tower we rode past on our bikes. Taketomi is an island full of little places to discover like this.

After lunch, we went to the other beach for the afternoon. This beach is called Hoshizuna no Hama and is famous for its star-shaped sand. Tour groups would shuffle in once an hour or so and people would dig around in the sand looking for the star-shaped ones. It didn’t look like anyone came to this beach for relaxing or swimming but us. Actually, I thought this beach was more suited to traditional beach swimming than the other one. It was more of a traditional beach with waves and waist deep water. We swam a bit and got a few good stares from the sand digging tourists before falling into what had become our daily afternoon nap.

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Hiding our burnt skin from the sun underneath this shade. You can see the people hunting for the star-shaped sand beyond the tree cover.

Taketomi is an island that has real charm. There are narrow streets, traditional architecture, beautiful beaches and a slow pace. However, it was very expensive on the actual island and we missed out on doing a lot of things because it was the end of our trip and we weren’t warned about the prices. For example, we wanted to ride in one of the buffalo carts but we couldn’t justify spending 20 dollars for the experience.

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Water Buffalo drawn carts for the tourists on Taketomi. They also played traditional Okinawan instruments for you at the end. If you want this experience make sure to budget for it. It was quite expensive!

If you are on Ishigaki going to see Taketomi is a must do, it’s cheap and quick to get there and its a beautiful interesting place. I would only warn you to budget more money than you think is necessary on this day because things on Taketomi are significantly more expensive and you shouldn’t regret missing out on anything.

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3 Responses

  1. Stephanie Grotte June 1, 2015 / 2:07 pm

    Erin – it looks like you’re having a wonderful time. I hope you’re doing well! I love reading about your adventures. Miss you!!!

  2. Erin June 2, 2015 / 12:41 am

    Roomie! It has been far too long. I’m glad you enjoy reading it. I have been super busy with school which is why my updates have been infrequent. I’ll be home this Christmas though for a visit! I would love to see you.

    • Stephanie Grotte June 24, 2015 / 1:03 pm

      Yes! I would love to see you. 🙂 Let me know (I think you have my email) when you’re headed home, and we’ll find a good time/day for us to meet up!

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