Yonagunijima is a small island 6km long and 2km wide situated 108km east of Taiwan. It is the westernmost point of the Japanese archipelago. The island is famed for its superb diving, with hammerheads visible daily between September and March, as well as the underwater monument discovered by Sou-Wes founder Kihachiro Aratake. The waters around Yonagunijima are said to be the third clearest in the world.
The main residential area is the town of Sonai, situated on the north coast near the airport. This has the greatest concentration of accommodation on the island, including the Hotel Irirfune. Car and bicycle rental services are available and staff at Hotel Irifune will be happy to help you make any reservations during your stay.
The island is most easily accessed by air and there are flights daily to and from Naha (2 hours) on the main island of Okinawa and Ishigakijima (30 mins). A round trip is around ¥15,000 (prices may vary according to season).
Ferries also depart from Ishigakijima on Tuesdays and Fridays and return from Yonagunijima on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The trip one way takes approximately 4-5 hours. A round trip is around ¥10,000 (prices may vary according to season).
There are events on the island throughout the year, but the key events are between June and August. Dates vary from year to year, so please ask us if you are interested in timing your trip to coincide with one of the following events.
Dragon Boat Race (Douganuhi)
A boat race with traditional long boats that is held at Kubura as a form of prayer to the god of the sea to ensure that the fishermen catch plenty of fish in the year ahead.
Japan International Billfish Tournament
An annual fishing contest hosted by Japan’s westernmost island and attended by fishing experts from around the world, the Japan International Billfish Tournament is a major sporting with events in a variety of categories including trawling and offshore fishing, where billfish of around 120kg are regularly caught (the biggest ever caught to date was 168kg!). There are also surf fishing competitions and competitions for children and parent teams, making this an event that anyone with an interest in fishing can enjoy. Please inquire with our staff regarding applications to attend.
Harvest Festival (Hounensai)
A festival with dancing and music performed by local groups as a form of prayer to ask for bountiful crops in the year ahead. Festivities begin in the morning and go on till late into the night.
Obon Eisa
Obon is an occasion when Japanese people honor the spirits of their departed ancestors, and is a festival that takes place in many different forms across Japan. The Obon Eisa festival in Yonagunijima is a lively event with music and traditional dancing that goes on well into the night. Obon is a three day period usually around the 13th of the month.
Yonagunijima Marathon
The Yonagunijima Marathon is a 24 km course which does a complete circuit of the island starting and finishing at Yonagunijima Junior High School. For those who prefer a slightly less challenging task, there is also a 10 km race which starts at Japan’s westernmost point by the Irisaki lighthouse and is run at the same time as the 24 km event. Applications to attend should be submitted between September and mid-October. There is a fee of around ¥4,000 which includes a t-shirt, hat, insurance and food and drink at the party after the marathon. Please inquire with our staff if you are interested in attending.
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