Yubujima (由布島) is a subtropical flower island separated from Iriomote island by a shallow strip of Ocean. Measuring only two by one km, Yubujima is the smallest island in the Yaeyama Archipelago. This archipelago, the most Western and Southern islands of Japan, are located 2000 km South from Tokyo and less than 200 km from the coast of Taiwan.
Yubujima can only be reached via it’s big neighbor island Iriomote that is served by boat from Ishigaki. Ishigaki, where also the main regional airport is, and the other Yaeyama islands are reviewed in future articles.
Crossing from Iriomote to Yubujima.
The island is only a good 1 km away from Iriomote and can be accessed bare foot when there is low tide. Part of the fun however is to make the crossing by one of the carts pulled by a water buffalo.
To be fair, the place is a bit touristic in high season but outside the main summer months the whole atmosphere is one of “yukuri” which is slow (pace) in Japanese. Surely there should be other destinations on your shortlist before coming to Yubujima. But if you are visiting or staying in Iriomote island then it’s absolutely worth making a stop.
Especially children will enjoy the crossing and the water buffalo’s that are so used to tourists. The time table for the crossings can be found on the Yubujima island website.
The island itself has a restaurant and the obligatory souvenir shop annex vending machines. Worth seeing is the collection of tropical plants and palm trees.
Click one of the photos in the gallery below to start a full screen slide show.
Many of you may have visited tropical islands before and maybe you have the same idea. Despite economically speaking living conditions are sometimes tough, the local people take it leisurely by laughing and singing and show no stress at all. On Iriomote and Yubujima things are not different. Have a look at the small movie from the return crossing to Iriomote and you will get the point.