Iriomote is part of the subtropical Yaemyama island chain. It is the second biggest island in the archipelago of Okinawa but it has a population of only around 2000 people. The island can only be accessed from the sea, and the main reason for its small population is the fact that the majority of the island is covered in dense protected jungle and mangrove.
Holidaying in Iriomote
Japanese local tourists like to visit the island during winter season to escape Japan’s main island’s wintry conditions and to be fully immersed in nature. Iriomote is not a typical resort island with a bubbly nightlife and large resort hotels, but it has amazingly beautiful beaches with crystal clear ocean water, a natural area that is great for hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and other activities in nature. It is also the perfect place to relax and be away from busy city life.
Most tourists stay on Iriomote for 2 or 3 nights, but if you are into hiking/trekking you can easily spend a week here to discover the jungle and its flora and fauna. Because Japanese workers only have a limited amount of holidays that are usually taken at the same time, it is a good idea to avoid Japanese national holidays and the Obon and New Year’s period as it does get more crowded and expensive around those days. The rest of the time, Iriomote is mostly an oasis of peace and quiet.