On Taketomi Island, 6 astonishing beaches are located. When I talked to the Izumiya Inn family, they recommended to walk from Higashi Port to Kondoi Beach. It should be very enjoyable with various scenery. I took the route from Higashi Port through to Kaiji Beach and back, which could be done in a half day. Here are the highlights!
1. Higashi Port
I started to explore from Higashi Port. As I imagined, there were many cats at the parking of Higashi Port. Some of them were sleeping at someone’s truck bed and I found them at exactly the same place when I came back.At the Higashi Port, there were some students who attend the high school on Ishigaki Island and staff of resort hotels. It takes only 10 mins from Ishigaki Island to Taketomi Island, and the sea is usually very calm due to the surrounding coral reef.
Some part of the beach was covered with rugged rocks, and I worried about whether I could go forward. I observed carefully to find the place to put my feet and I could move smoothly with my Shima Sandals. Shima Sandals are connected by straps to the soles, so I could walk safely. Whenever I explore the seashore to find marine creatures, I always wear them. Even fisherman use them for fishing in Ogasawara Islands.
After getting over the rugged rocky area, the beach became easier to walk on. The sand became powdery and very soft. I could not find anyone until I reached West Pier.
I found a Torii, a gateway at the entrance to On. On is a place for islanders to pray to their gods. I never entered due to it being a sacred place. The Torii faced the Ishigaki Island solemnly and the area looked so calm and peaceful.
2. West Pier
Finally, I could reach to West Pier and I was so relieved to come where I knew. It took about one hour from Higashi Port to West Pier while taking photos and enjoying the view.
Islanders used to use West Pier to cross the sea to Iriomote Island to cultivate rice fields, since Taketomi Island was not suitable for growing rice. There were old ships still waiting to set sail for fishing near the West Pier. If you visit there during low tide, you can reach the end of the pier.During high tide, people come to fish, even during the night. I met a guy who was going to fish for squid when we came to see the stars. During winter time, it is difficult to see the stars due to the rainy season. However, we were lucky enough to see the Milky Way, Orion and Winter’s triangle.
I came to West Pier in the morning too. If the weather is fine, you can see Iriomote Island from here. I came back here with other Izumiya Inn guests to see Sunset. The silhouette of people by sunlight was so clear and the changing light was beautiful.
3. Kondoi Beach
You will see Kondoi Beach soon after leaving West Pier. The beach is much wider than the previous beach near Higashi Port, and it was easy to walk. There were several tourist groups walking from West Pier to Kondoi beach. Kondoi Beach was shallow, so it was easy to walk and soak in the water up to knees. Even in the winter season, sometimes the sky is clear and the temperature rises over 20 degrees. I walked around in the warm water and enjoyed the fish jumping out of the sea. Walking through to Kaiji Beach to find Star Sand from Kondoi Beach, I could reach a small island when the tide was low. The sky was so clear and the sea was so wide and blue. It took 10 mins by car from Higashi Port to Kondoi Beach.
4. Kaiji Beach
At Kaiji Beach, you can find Star Sand, Hoshizuna, the sedimentation of the foraminifera dead shells. The shell is easily breakable, so it was difficult to find the perfect shape. Taketomi Island was surrounded by Subtropical Vegetation, with the adjacent coastline serving as a shelter against the winds and tides.
I kept walking from Kaiji Beach, but the beach turned to rocky and it was hard to walk through. So, I gave up and went back to Kondoi Beach.
5. Narasa Beach
From Kondoi Beach to Narasa Beach, I took the paved beltway because it was much easier to ride a bicycle. However, the path to Narasa Beach from the beltway was not paved. There were rocks, holes and grassy places which made it more difficult to reach the beach. It was so hard to ride my bicycle on the unpaved path to the beach, but it was worth doing.
6. Kitocchi Beach
From Narasa Beach to Kitocchi Beach, you can enjoy beautiful white sand. Taketomi Island is surrounded by coral reefs and waves wash over dead coral and crash them onto the white sand. The sand at Narasa Beach was not as smooth as Kondoi Beach due to the amount of dead coral.
How to travel
There are several transportation options to do sightseeing on Taketomi Island. A circular bus is available from Higashi Port to the beaches. You need to make a reservation and the bus fare costs 300 yen. Hotels and guest houses provide a pick-up service too. I rented a bicycle at Himawari near Izumiya Inn. They serve a fruit juice if you rent a bicycle there. Shaved ice with mango ice cream was my favorite sweets there.
When to visit
Beach Opening is from mid March. Swimming can be done from mid March to the end of October. The best season is from May to September. Rainy season is from May to June and Typhoon season is from July to October. During winter season, jackets and long sleeves are needed. It rains often, so rainwear and umbrellas are also needed. If the temperature rises to 20 degrees, some people could swim but I don’t recommend it though.When I reached Kaiji Beach from Higashi Port, I remembered I had left my bicycle at Higashi Port. I went back to Higashi Port following the same way. It took about 4 hours for the round trip between Higashi Port and Kaiji Beach. It was like enjoying a huge beach without others. There is no lifeguard on Taketomi Island, so I talked about where I was going and made sure my phone was connected for just in case. It would take only 30 mins from Higashi Port to Kondoi Beach by walk taking paved road.