04 November 2008

Trip to 西表島 (Iriomote island, Japan) on 31 October - 03 November 2008

Source and photos: http://horizons.free.fr/seikatsu/eng/memories/2008-10-31_jp-okinawa.htm

ピナイサーラの滝 (Pinaisara waterfalls) above the jungle on 西表島 (Iriomote island) I visited 沖縄 (Okinawa, Japan) for the second time from 31 October to 03 November 2008 to explore jungles, walk among traditional houses, and tour beaches far from the main island. My three sunny days and a rainy day at 26-31°C there with François were a great experience.

Contrasting with 沖縄本島 (main island of Okinawa, see Post 29 March 2008), 西表島 (Iriomote island) is quite wild, with vast protected lands, a unique road at the periphery, and beautiful seas around. We spent Friday on a tour there canoeing a river bordered by mangroves and trekking in the jungle. We encountered numerous fishes, miniature crabs, white ants (aka termites), lively lizards, and a sleeping 波布 (Habu viper) before reaching ピナイサーラの滝 (Pinaisara waterfalls), where the aerial view was captivating. After a short immersion at the bottom, we canoed back then relaxed at the mild 西表島温泉 (Iriomote-jima spa).

We started Saturday contemplating the sea while eating breakfast on the terrace of the friendly and cheap ペンション星の砂 (pension Hoshi-no-suna). Afterwards, we examined the starry sand of 星砂の浜 (Hoshisuna beach), and swam at the warm 月ヶ浜 (Tsukiga beach). Before lunch, we crossed the sea in a cart pulled by a water buffalo to stroll in the botanical garden of 由布島 (Yubu island), where one can enjoy the vegetation as well as butterflies. Finally, we drove to 南風見田の浜 (Haemida beach), where we witnessed impressive natural light shows.

For our last hours at 西表島 (Iriomote island) on Sunday, we cruised 仲間川 (Nakama river) to see mangroves, and incidentally spotted ferocious 南黒鯛 (Minami-kurodai piranhas). We then sailed for 竹富島 (Taketomi island), where we walked among traditional houses, and saw numerous flowers, beautiful waters at コンドイビーチ (Kondoi beach) and a calming sunset at 西桟橋 (Nishisanbashi). Silent, dark and unusually shaped, the village revealed itself mysterious at night.

To wrap up our vacations on Monday, we walked in the streets of 竹富島 (Taketomi island) early morning then sailed for 石垣島 (Ishigaki island), where the rain awaited us, simplifying our visit to a drive around the island. We still had sun at 玉取崎展望台 (Tamatori cape viewing platform) but got much rain afterwards. During a lull, we visited ヤエヤマヤシ (Yaeyama palm tree groves), then drank fresh guava juice while waiting for typhoon-like rain to stop. We finished the day at 川平湾 (Kabira bay) and 川平石崎 (Kabira-ishizaki) before sleeping at the sympathetic やいま日和 (Yaima Byori).

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