Magic Isles: Okinawa and Beyond
Discover a new universe of Japanese culture and gastronomy, as you traverse the Ryukyu archipelago, through emerald jungles, pristine beaches and untrodden isles.
"Andrea did a wonderful job designing an itinerary to suit three generations of diverse interests, and was flexible and responsive to last minute changes and requests. He showed us many hidden treasures of this beautiful region that would have missed we're it not for him."
- Heather on her journey in Italy
A possible, beautiful itinerary for you
As you arrive in Okinawa, especially if you are an experienced traveller in mainland Japan, you will notice that there is a very distinct character to this region. It is Japanese, with carries echoes from other, very distant places and times. The confluence of the seas has made Okinawa a place of long-lived, warm people. The cuisine, the weather, they are simply magnificent.
Gateway to the Yaeyama Isles
A short flight from Okinawa Island, you find yourself in Ishigaki. Surrounded by white sand beaches and crystalline waters, you can experience some of Japan’s best snorkelling, with colourful coral and many pristine places to discover. Your guesthouse, which conveniently houses a yoga studio and a café, is the ideal location to explore the surrounding nature and ease into a more contemplative mood. At night, the starry skies announce that you are pretty much reaching the confines of Japan, and the deeper you go, the more mysterious it gets.Read more
Taketomi and Iriomote
Taketomi teems with the secrets of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom. We recommend that you hop on a bike —or a water-buffalo-drawn cart— and explore the island at your leisure. As you explore the many coral lanes, lined with lush vegetation and striking colours, you will spot the tiled roofs of the traditional Ryukyu houses. Little has changed since then, so it is quite a trip to centuries past. Next, take a short ferry ride to Iriomote, wild among the Yaeyama Isles, and, if you’re lucky, you might even spot the elusive Iriomote wildcat.
There is a certain power to landmarks, and Yonaguni, which harbours Japan’s westernmost point, is no different. Yonaguni is also home to magnificent beaches and features the world’s largest Atlas moths. The island is rich in legend and is a favourite place of wonder for Edo-period literature. However, it mystifies travellers even to our days. The so-called Yonaguni Temple, an underwater formation reminiscent of a pyramid, has befuddled scientists ever since its discovery in the 80s. Atlantis or not, there is a mystique hanging over this westernmost reach of Okinawa.