Japan’s southernmost island, “Hateruma Island”.
This time, we’d like to introduce tourist spots in Hateruma Island.
We’ll also be showing ways to access the island, so be sure to check it out!
1．Introducing Hateruma Island’s appealance by photo!
2．Access and transportation within Hateruma Island
3．Sightseeing Spots in Hateruma Islands
3-3.Hateruma Island’s lighthouse
3-4.Starry Sky Observatory Tower
3-5.Japan’s Southernmost Monument
4.Recommended Restaurants in Hateruma Islands
4-1.Most Delicious Yaeyama Soba in Yaeyama Islands!
4-2.Taste the unique ice creams in Nakasoko shop
5．Recommended Accomondations in Hateruma Island
6.Extra ～For those who want to enjoy the Hateruma YUntaku「Guest House Tamashiro」～
7．Recommended Model Course who will go for a day-trip
8．Important Notices for going Hateruma Island
1．Introducing Hateruma Island’s appealance by photo!
Being the southernmost island, Hateruma Island is also the closest island to the starry sky.
The Southern Cross observable in good weather conditions.
Many people in fact visit the island to see the stars; the bright, starry night sky makes for a truly priceless spectacle.
The precipitous cliffs spanning next to the observatory in Takanazaki in Hateruma Island.
The blue water clashing against the cliffs is an exhilarating sight to behold.
Since there are strong winds, it is extremely dangerous to look at the cliffs directly below.
Yaeyama’s most beautiful, “Kitahama Beach” is also here in Hateruma Island.
The beautiful azure ocean will fill you with joy just by gazing at it.
Japan’s southernmost police substation. The term, “southernmost” makes everything special.
Even the manhole cover is stylish. Watch your step while looking down.
2. Access and transportation within Hateruma Island
The only way to reach Hateruma Island is by ship.
The ship leaves from the remote islands terminal in Ishigaki Port, otherwise known as the entrance to Yaeyama islands.
Taking the regular route bus is recommended to reach Ishigaki Port from New Ishigaki Airport.
There are two lines: 4 and 10. We recommend taking line 10.
The bus will take you right in front of Ishigaki Port remote islands terminal.
The last bus stop is the “bus terminal”, so please be careful.
*Line 4 doesn’t go to the terminal.
Although there are three companies that cross the Yaeyama Islands from the remote islands terminal, only one company goes to Hateruma Island.
You will have to take the ship from Anei Kankou. (You can book the trip beforehand)
Anei Kankou’s fast ferries are available 4 times a day during summer season, and 3 times a day during winter season. The trip takes around 60 to 70 minutes.
Please note that fast ferries may be canceled due to strong winds and high tides.
In that case, you can board the “cargo-passenger ferry Hateruma”.
This cargo-passenger ferry can accommodate up to 52 people, with 40 seats. Seats for this first-come-first-served ferry cannot be reserved in advance.
The ferry operates every Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and second and fourth Fridays. The ferry leaves Ishigaki Port at 09:00, and the trip to Hateruma Island takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Regarding prices for each items, please refer to the list below.
～Transportations in Hateruma Island～
Once you arrive at Hateruma Island, the owner of your reserved hotel will send a car to pick you up.
※When reserving your hotel, make sure to notify your hotel again as you leave Ishigaki Island.
It’s also easier to rent vehicles from hotels, as many of them lend cars and motorcycles.
The transportation method in the island is either car or motorcycle (there is no public transportation).
Our recommended means of transportation is “rent-a-motorcycle”.
There have been many guests who felt relieved to have brought a motorcycle, as they find out at one point that they have to climb a steep slope to get back to Kitahama, as well as other places.
The benefits of renting a bicycle is the cheap cost, and being able to cruise around the island.
Bicycles are recommended to those who would like to spend a slow and relaxed time at the island.
3. Sightseeing Spots in Hateruma Islands
3-1. Nishi Beach・Pemuchi Beach
Although it reads Kitahama (north beach), this beach is called “Nishihama (sounds like south beach)”. Apparently there is a good reason behind this; in Okinawan dialect, “North” is pronounced, “Nishi”!
Kitahama is one of the most beautiful beaches in Yaeyama, with crystal-clear waters and gentle waves that make it easier to swim in.
It is also the only beach in Hateruma Island where you can go swimming; there is even a showering facility!
Then, where is Japan’s southernmost beach? The article continues below.
Pemuchi beach is located just below Japan’s southernmost monument, making it Japan’s southernmost beach.
The southernmost beach faces south, and because of harsh tidal conditions, swimming in its waters is extremely dangerous and prohibited.
Instead of swimming, take off your shoes and socks and go beach combing!
3-2. Koto Jou
Koto Jou refers to the lookout, which is made with coral rocks stacked in a spiral-shape.
And since Hateruma Island is low in altitude, the lookout was built as an annex to the municipal office, which was built on a 4-meter-tall pedestal.
These lookouts were made during the mid-17th century in many of Yaeyama’s islands.
As of now, it became one of the main tourist spots in Hateruma Island, and tourists can see the wide horizon, the sugarcane fields, as well as Iriomote Island from the top of it.
3-3. Hateruma Island’s lighthouse
Hateruma Island’s lighthouse is built towards the center of the island, standing as if it were watching over the island’s village.
The lighthouse is located on a slightly raised plateau in the village. Please try and stop by during your trip.
3-4. Starry Sky Observatory Tower
Hateruma Island’s must-see spot is this starry sky observatory.
The best spot for seeing the Southern Cross on the island closest to the starry sky.
The opening observatory dome, 200mm refraction telescope, and more to see the beautiful night sky.
There is also a guide inside the observatory, so tourists can see the starry sky while listening to instructive commentary.
On the second floor is a planetarium as well as a reference room, so tourists on a day trip can see and study the stars.
Underneath the sky full of stars, try taking a peek into the telescope.
It’s a rare and valuable opportunity not available in cities!
3-5. Japan’s Southernmost Monument
Japan’s southernmost monument stands on the island’s Takana beach, on the south side.
The monument faces the islands of the Philippines, and you can feel the island’s connection to other parts of the world.
This monument was built commemorating the island’s return to Japan, and you can also see Japan’s southernmost “Heiwa no Hi” (monument of peace).
The path is made with rocks gathered from all 47 prefectures in Japan, in a shape that resembles two entangling snakes’ trails.
The path is made with the wish that the island won’t be separated from the mainland by war.
4. Recommended Restaurants in Hateruma Islands
4-1. Most Delicious Yaeyama Soba in Yaeyama Islands!
Iino is a popular place among those who know.
The small restaurant, located inside Hateruma terminal also has a small counter, but is always crowded with tourists.
When it comes to serving Yaeyama soba, different restaurants top it with various toppings, but this restaurant maintains a somewhat salty and rich-tasting soup.
Also, the restaurant serves “Yashigani soba” as a special summertime menu.
The menu uses various parts of Yashigani crab, one of Okinawa’s three delicacies, which is added to the restaurant’s Yaeyama soba made with the restaurant’s specialty soup.
If you would like to try it out, be sure to make a reservation beforehand.
Another great thing about the restaurant is that you can order the incredibly rare Japanese choice sake, “Awanami” by the glass.
The sake goes splendidly well with soba, so try ordering it alongside your dish.
4-2. Taste the unique ice creams in Nakasoko shop
One of the stylish shops in Hateruma island, the store sells miscellaneous goods, as well as drinks.
One of the shop’s exclusive goods is “Awamori Ice cream”.
You’ll have to stand to enjoy the ice cream, but the island sake ice creams and brown sugar ice cream will give you an authentic taste of Okinawa. That’s because all of them are handmade by the owner of the shop!
There are also daily-changing menus, so you should try them out, too. Also, no photography is allowed inside the store, so be cautious (it’s fine to take pictures of the outside).
5. Recommended Accommodations in Hateruma Island
An old, folk house-style inn with a unique Ryukyu atmosphere. The inn has a newly renovated main building and an annex, and guests can cook for themselves.
When cooking, guests can use the cooking building, which is spacious and free to use.
Besides the main building and the annex separated by sliding doors, the guest rooms are exceedingly clean!
The annex is especially recommended for long-term stays.
There is also wireless LAN for accessing the internet.
Yuntaku no Jikan (or chatting time in Okinawan dialect) is a charming time with an atmosphere that naturally gathers people in one place.
Listening to the inn’s owner and the hostess about the island will make for a lasting piece of memory!
What’s also great about the inn is that guests can rent bicycles as well as motorized bicycles.
Renting them is also much cheaper compared to anywhere else.
The inn also has children’s helmets, so guests can go out cruising with everybody in the family!
It’s extremely difficult to acquire a room during peak seasons, so be sure to make a reservation much in advance.
5-2. Pension Sainantan
Pension located right below Kitahama.
It’s a great choice for guests who love playing at the beach, which is located right outside the building.
There are chairs in the terrace, so guests can enjoy the view of the ocean while feeling the gentle breeze. Come and enjoy the refreshing resort life.
The meals are also splendid. For dinner, there are two entrées served alongside sashimi. After the meal, guests can enjoy a relaxing chatting time in the pension.
At the drinking party hosted by the pension’s owner, guests can taste delicious drinks such as awamori as much as they want for free. Offering various sake, the owner offers sincere service to the guests.
The clean white building contrasts with the deep blue ocean, making for an exotic resort-like picture.
6Extra ～For those who want to enjoy the Hateruma Yuntaku「Guest House Tamashiro」～
Tamashiro is a popular restaurant with a large number of regulars.
The meals are served in large proportions, and guests can feel free to enjoy chatting while enjoying glasses of awanami.
“Yuntaku (chatting in Okinawa dialect)” is where the store owner drinks together with the guests.
Please come to Hateruma Island where you can see the Southern Cross, and create valuable memories while spending a candid time at yuntaku!
7. Recommended Model Course who will go for a day-trip
It’s possible to visit Hateruma Island on a day’s trip.
Here, we present an example course that has most of Hateruma Island’s popular spots. Feel free to take a look.
8. Important Notices for going Hateruma Island
Hateruma Island can be accessed only by ship.
However, note that ships can be canceled during bad weathers.(during direct typhoon hits, etc.)
Also, during winter season with high tides, there is a 20 to 30 percent chance that a ship can be canceled,
Also, if the ship is canceled on your way back, you will have to look for a lodging.
Beware that only a few inns take credit cards, so be sure to bring cash.
Further, the cargo-passenger ferry runs only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and 2nd and 4th Fridays (makes 1 round trip per day; leaves 09:00; leaves Hateruma Island 14:00; total travel time each way is 2 hours and 30 minutes).
When going to Hateruma Island, we suggest planning your schedule as shown below.
|1. Manage the time schedule. (Ex.) Not to ride the ferry from Ishigaki island to Hateruma and plane from Ishigaki island at the same time.
2. Plan accordingly if the express ferry stops due to the weather condition.
3. You will be stacked for several days in typhoon and winter season.
Don’t go to Hateruma Island or leave the Hateruma Islands earlier if the weather will be worse.
You can check the ferry status from the Anei Kanko Official Website.
Japan’s southernmost island, Hateruma Island is a serene and peaceful place.
The island offers so many things out of the ordinary, and we invite you to pay a visit!