photo by koizumi
Hello from Yuka. Our Golden Week holidays are over. Some lucky people had ten days off but most people had a bit less days separated by one or two work days in between, I wanted to go somewhere warmer (packing is easier) and Ichiro wanted to visit all southern islands of Japan in his life, so this year we decided to visit Iriomote-jima Island.
Iriomote-jima is the second biggest island among the Yaeyama islands of Okinawa, but only 2000 people live there while Ishigaki-jima, the biggest island has almost 50000 people. About 90 % of Iriomote-jima is jungle where nobody lives and the roads are only 54 kilo meters long in all the island. There is no air port, no shopping mall or convenience store. There are 17 hotels including small inns in Ishigaki-jima and people come for activities in nature such as diving, treckking and cycling.
We flew from Kansai Air Port, Osaka to Ishigaki-jima island and took a ferry to Iriomote-jima. Mobile phones can work and the hotel we stayed had a really nice service.
We arrived at the hotel in the afternoon and stayed two nights, but we had to leave early on the third day to catch the air plane at 10:40 at Ishigaki-jima so , actually we only had one whole day and a half day. It was a short stay (took almost 9 hours from our home to get there) but it was unbeliebvably relaxing trip, as if time has stopped.
Seeing various kinds of tropical plants, colorful butterflies, hearing the calls of animals and the sound of waves. No noise of traffic, just repeating sound of waves. No smell of cities, no hustle and bustle.
When we woke up, we went to the beach for stretch. They do stretch program in every morning either in the mangrove jungle or on the beach. In front of the hotel is the Tsukigahama (Todomari) beach(the photo on top).
We enjoyed kayaking in the misterious mangrove jungle and trekking through the jungle to see the heavenly beautiful fall. When we reached the fall finally, the guide gave us onigiri (rice ball) made by his wife and sweet pineapples. We will never forget the blissful moment:-) with the scenery of the fall and the sweet taste of pineapple!
This time we were too early to see sagaribana(barringtonia flowers)- this delicate flower bloom at night and close in the morning drop on the river. The floating flowers on the river with sweet scent - it is like seeing a dream, they say.
It happens in late June to early September at Nakama river in Iriomote-jima. I know it will be difficult to get the good timing but I am dreaming to visit the island again and wishing to see this scenery.
photo by koizumi
Spending time only seeing the colors and hearing the sound of nature was great. I enjoyed walking along the beach with dreamy state of mind, Ichiro was way behind me, trying to find crabs in the small holes on the beach, like a five-year-old kid.
He had a great time too, he wrote a short story inspired by this trip to Iriomote-jima. I am so happy for him.
We both came back with a little mustle ache from trekking but it was a nice and most refreshing trip.
You probably have such relxing place in your country, but if you are looking for a place to really `relax' in nature in Japan, it is a bit far from Tokyo or Kyoto, but we definitely recommend Iriomote-jima.