Iriomote Island is a small, uninhabited island located in the middle of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands Dispute in the East China Sea. It was discovered by the Portuguese in 1543 and named Ilha de Santa Maria (Island of Saint Mary). The island came under Japanese control in 1609 after Japan’s unification and was renamed Iriomote-Jima. The island was administered as part of Chiba Prefecture until December 1972, when it became an autonomous prefecture.
Iriomote Island is one of the uninhabited islands located in the Tokara chain and part of the Okinawa Islands. It is about 1,550 km southwest of Tokyo. The island’s history goes back to the early 1800s when it was used as a penal colony for political prisoners from the Ryukyu Kingdom. In 1879, it became a military base for the Japanese navy and in 1945, it was seized by American troops during World War II. Iriomote Island was placed under Japanese administration in 1972.
The island measures about 24 km long and 13 km wide. It has a total area of 54 sq km. The highest point on the island is 1,537 m above sea level. The surrounding waters are fringed with coral reefs and have a depth of about 150 m.
The island is home to a diverse array of plants and animals. It is known for its abundant birdlife, including the critically endangered Okinawa rail. The island is also an important habitat for wild cats, such as the Japanese bobcat and sand martin.
There is no official population of Iriomote Island, as the island is a protected area and its population is strictly monitored by the Japan Forestry Agency. However, various sources estimate the island’s population to be anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 people.
The island is primarily reliant on forestry and tourism. Forestry is the main industry, accounting for about 60% of GDP. Tourism has also become an important contributor, with visitors coming to see the abundant birdlife and wild cats.
The climate of Iriomote Island is tropical with significant rainfall. The island receives about 2,000 mm (80 in) of rain annually. The rainy season runs from May to October and the dry season from November to April. It is also subject to typhoons.
Culture and Religion
There is no one answer to this question as it depends on your individual interests and preferences. However, here are a few general things to keep in mind when it comes to culture and religion on Iriomote Island:
- Iriomote Island is home to various animistic religions, such as the Yapese religion and the Santōka Shintō-ryū. These religions are based on belief in spirits, gods, and ancestors.
- Christianity is the predominant religion on Iriomote Island, with around 90% of the population professing faith in Jesus Christ. Churches and other Christian facilities can be found all over the island, and religious ceremonies and festivals take place frequently.
- There are also a number of Muslim residents on Iriomote Island, who make up around 5% of the population. Muslims follow the Islamic faith, which emphasizes the importance of prayer, fasting, and charity work.
There are no official languages on Iriomote Island, but the majority of residents speak Japanese. However, a number of other languages are also spoken, including Okinawan and Bunun. The island is predominantly Buddhist and there are several Buddhist temples scattered around the island.
There are no formal schools on Iriomote Island, but children often attend primary or secondary school in the main towns on the island.
Iriomote Island is a Special Region of Japan and its politics are closely monitored by the central government. Most political power rests with the local prefectural government.
There are no government services available on Iriomote Island.
The Iriomote Island tourism industry is booming, thanks in part to its many natural wonders and unique culture. Located off the eastern coast of Japan, the island is composed of three main islands – Iriomote, Kuroshima, and Miyako – and a number of smaller islets. The main attractions for tourists are the island’s unique animal and plant life, as well as its stunning landscapes. The island’s top tourist destinations include Kuchinoerabu National Park, Yujiri-ga-take Marine National Monument, and Iriomote-Jima National Park.
Hotels and Resorts List
Here is a list of some of the best hotels and resorts on Iriomote Island:
- Iriomote Marine Park Lodge – This lodge is situated on the southern tip of the island, and it features amazing views of the Gulf of Thailand. It also has a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a spa.
- Iriomote Island Lodge – This lodge is located on the west coast of the island, and it features stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It also has a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a spa.
- Kumamoto Garden Resort – This resort is situated in the middle of the island and it offers beautiful views of Mt. Kumamoto as well as lush gardens and streams. It also has a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a spa.
- Miwa Onsen Resort – This resort is situated in Miwa village and it offers beautiful views of Mt. Miwa as well as hot springs that are perfect for relaxation. It also has a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a spa.
Here are some of the attractions that tourists should enjoy while visiting Iriomote Island:
- Kuchinoerabu National Park – This park is home to a vast array of animals, including deer, monkeys, and elephants. It also features stunning landscapes and natural pools.
- Yujiri-ga-take Marine National Monument – This monument is home to a number of different species of coral, as well as colorful fish. It is also a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts.
- Muko-dake Observatory – This observatory offers stunning views of Iriomote Island and the surrounding seas. Visitors can also enjoy hiking trails and picnicking spots in the area.
Here are some of the activities that tourists can enjoy while visiting Iriomote Island:
- Hiking – One of the best ways to explore Kuchinoerabu National Park is by hiking its trails. There are also a number of other attractions in the park, such as natural pools and coral reefs.
- Kayaking – Kayakers can explore Yujiri-ga-take Marine National Monument by paddling along its waterways. This area is also home to a number of coral reefs, which make for beautiful sights and adventures.
- Fishing – Fishermen can enjoy the sport of fishing in the Muko-take Observatory by targeting different types of fish in the surrounding seas. There are also numerous picnicking spots throughout the area where visitors can relax after a successful catch.
The island can be reached by ferry from Tateyama in Kagoshima Prefecture. The trip takes around one and a half hours, and the fare is around ¥8,000 per person.
Many locals enjoy cooking various types of seafood, such as squid and octopus, in their traditional styles. Visitors can also try local dishes at some of the island’s restaurants.
So there you have it – a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about Iriomote Island. From the best places to stay to the best ways to experience the island’s natural treasures, this article has it all. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or an experienced one, we hope that this guide has helped you in some way. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts and feedback!
- What Is The Best Time To Visit Iriomote Island?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best time to visit Iriomote depends on individual preferences and needs. However, generally speaking, visitors can enjoy the island’s scenic beauty all year round.
- Is It Possible To Hike In Kuchinoerabu National Park?
Yes, hiking is one of the main attractions on Iriomote Island – and Kuchinoerabu National Park is definitely one of its most popular spots. However, please be advised that hiking in the park can be strenuous and difficult, so it’s not recommended for those who are not experienced hikers. Instead, consider exploring some of the other islands in the area which offer a more relaxed experience.
- Is There Any Tourist Information Available On Iriomote Island?
Yes, there is – and it’s available in both English and Japanese. You can also find a number of tourist information centers on the island, which are perfect for getting advice on what to see and do.