The garden and roadside walls are all made from local rocks and natural building materials to maintain the island`s heritage. The walls and hedgerows abound with plants and wild flowers, and typically the streets are a blaze of color from bougainvillea, hibiscus and wild poinsettias. Within the main village there are tours on carts drawn by water buffalo, with the driver telling traditional folk tales, singing and playing the sanshin, the traditional three stringed instrument local to the area. There is also an observation tower, Nagomi no tou, from which you can look out across the whole village, a local craft museum demonstrating local weaving, and a number of small cafes in the village.
On this tour you will be able to experience and participate in the main attractions of the island.
The first element on the trip is a tour of the nearby corals in a glass bottomed boat. Sightings typically include an array of colorful fish, sea anemone, clams, an occasional sea turtle, and a variety of beautiful corals below.
You will then be taken by bus from the Port at Taketomi to Kaiji Beach, with its star shaped sand. We will stop here for a while for you to admire the beach and sea views, which are stunning. We then take a brief tour of the island and you will be able to see Kondoi Beach with its fabulous white sands and turquoise sea beyond. The crescent shaped beach is surrounded by a coral reef, and is simply magnificent. At low tide a small island of sand appears about 100 meters from shore, an ideal destination to gently walk to, through the shallow crystal clear water.
We then enter Taketomi Village so that you can enjoy a ride on one of the water buffalo drawn carriages. From the vantage point of the carriage you can admire the traditional style houses, natural walls and gardens and the abundance of flowers and flowering shrubs which line the paths and roadways.
In the village you can visit the southernmost temple of Japan and the local museum connected to it. Yaeyama is famous for its weaving and materials and Taketomi became well known in the past because of the dyeing skills the islanders had in dyeing Yaeyama cloth, Gunbou and Yaeyama Minsah and Bashoufu.
Dyes and materials are cultivated locally and you can see examples of the fabrics produced and sometimes a weaving demonstration in the local folk craft center not too far away from the temple.
We then return by coach to the Port to take the ferry back to Ishigaki Port.