Star sand, Water Buffalo (Taketomi Isalnd) – Day 331

My second day in Okinawa, or more specifically the Yaeyama islands, was spent on Taketomi Island.

Only a 10 minute ferry ride from Ishigaki Island, there are frequent trips to this island every day.


I arrived at the ferry terminal at about 8.15am and hopped on the 8.30am ride and got to Taketomi by 8.45am. A round trip costs about 1300 yen (I can’t remember that well, but it was about that much).

This is an island that apparently only has 320 people living on it. It is SO small.

First stop - Taketomi museum

First stop – Taketomi museum

First stop of the day was the museum. I literally was in there for 3 minutes, as there isn’t much to see and all the exhibitions were mainly in Japanese, so I walked to the town centre to rent a bicycle. I rented a bicycle (mama-chari of course) for 1500yen for the whole day. The most popular form of transport on this island is by bicycle, and you can cycle from one end of the island to the other in no time since the island is that small.

The "roads" in the middle of Taketomi

The “roads” in the middle of Taketomi


The second stop of the day was the beach. One of the most famous beaches on Taketomi is Kaiji beach, or otherwise known as Star Sand Beach. As the name suggests, the sand particles are in the shape of stars. It’s incredible.

Star sand beach

Star sand beach

I had to sift through the sand to find the star-shaped ones, which was very time consuming. I tried to photograph them as best as I could, but unfortunately it was super duper windy on the beach and all the star-shaped sand grains that I picked out flew out of my hand.

Sifting through the sand...

Sifting through the sand…

Star shaped sand!!

Star shaped sand!!

The beach is also full of little crabs crawling around.


DSCF2800 DSCF2788

There is a stall selling star sand in bottles for only 200 yen. In actual fact, the star sand grains are actually the ones below, but I think the ones I picked up look more like stars. The stall had the star sand placed under this microscope thing so you could have a look at them.

Star sand - under a microscope

Star sand under a microscope

After visiting this beach, I cycled to the next famous beach called Kondoi Beach. You can go swimming here and that is what I did. I was a bit worried about the sea because of the typhoon, but there were plenty of other people swimming around so I joined in.

Condoi Beach

Kondoi Beach


After all that swimming, I decided to head into town for a spot of lunch where I ate some Okinawa Soba (soki soba) and some juice. Very delicious.

Soki Soba

Soki Soba

The other thing that Taketomi is famous for is the Water Buffalo Tours. This island is FULL of water buffalos, so it really smells like a farm here. There are about 7/8 buffalos going round the town at the same time, pulling carts packed with tourists. Apparently, the buffalos know the roads off by heart and don’t need any prompting. I didn’t go on a buffalo tour as I rented a bicycle – I’m too stingy.

Buffalo tours

Water Buffalo tours


For the rest of the day, I just went down every single path that I could with my bicycle. Some of the paths weren’t even proper paths and I was a bit worried that I was going to crash and end up in a ditch full of buffalo poo. But luckily that didn’t happen.


Very dodgy path - doesn't even look like a path...

Very dodgy path – doesn’t even look like a path…

There are plenty of other beaches, but they’re not as pretty.


Before heading back to Ishigaki, I went through the town once more and found this watch tower called Nagomi Tower. It has a great view of the island.

Nagomi tower

Nagomi tower

View from the top

View from the top

That’s it for Taketomi island! There really isn’t much else to see here, but it’s worth a visit if you like to cycle around.

I’m very excited about my next post so I’ll be uploading that in a few days!

Thanks for reading!

This entry was published on August 3, 2014 at 12:23 pm. It’s filed under Japan and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Star sand, Water Buffalo (Taketomi Isalnd) – Day 331

  1. How interesting, naturally star-shaped sand. It’s like fairy sand/dust. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Amazing Tour to star-shaped sand beaches of Iriomote Island, Japan | Vertical Sun

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