Irabu-jima & Shimoji-jima Islands, Okinawa Japan

Irabu-jima (伊良部町) & Shimoji-jima (下地町) Islands, Okinawa Japan

 

Irabu-jima Island and Shimoji-jima Island are two small islands connected by 6 bridges and are part of the Miyako Island group. The two Islands are located about 6 km North West of Miyako-jima Island and about 300 km South West of Naha City and the Main Okinawa Island. The Miyako Island group is also only about 400 km East of Taipei Taiwan. In ancient times during the Ryukyu kingdom the Miyako Islands were a stop off point for trading convoys on their way to Okinawa from China.

Popular destinations with SCUBA Divers Irabu-jima Island and Shimoji-jima Island are renowned for their natural beauty both under the sea and on land. As they are small islands the culture here is distinct and the people are friendly and usually will greet strangers with a smile.
 

Transportation to / from Irabu-jima & Shimoji-jima Islands

Because The islands of Irabu-jima and Shimoji-jima have no airport the only way to reach them is by boat. Regular ferry services run to Sarahama Port and can be accessed from Hirara Port on Miyako-jima Island.

Ferry from Miyako-jima Island

Hayate Kaiun or Miyako passenger ferry:
Hirara Port ↔ Sarahama Port
Travel time: 15 min.
Fare: 400yen Adult, 200yen Child

Hayate Kaiun or Miyako car and passangerFerry:
Hirara Port ↔ Sarahama Port
Travel time: 25 min.
Fare: Passanger 360yen Adult, 190yen Child, Car 3,000 yen

 

SCUBA Diving, Irabu-jima & Shimoji-jima Islands

Okinawa Information SCUBA Diving - Irabu-jima & Shimoji-jima Islands

 

The most popular activity by far that draws visitors and tourist to these two islands is the phenomenal diving available here. With literally hundreds of dive sites to explore people tend to keep coming back year after year and see something new in the underwater world each time. Irabu Island and Shimoji Island are known for their many caves and underwater arches made of Ryukyu limestone. These limestone caves a re breading grounds for large and colorful fish that live in the warm ad tropical waters.
 

 Irabu-jima & Shimoji-jima Islands dive sites

 dive map for Irabu-jima & Shimoji-jima, Okinawa Japan

1. Snake Hole
2. Shiratorizaki
3. ……
4. L Arch and Warp Hall
5. W Arch
6. Z Arch
7. X Hall
8. No.15
9. Triple three
10. Palace of Devil
11. …..
12. Toriike Grotto
13. ……
14. Mini Tooriike Grotto
15. Antonio Gaudi
16. Kasumi Dropoff
17. Nakanoshima Channel
18. Nakanoshima Hall
19. Ichinose Hall
20. Ishinose Dropoff
21. Sango Hall(Coral Hall)
22. Twin Cave
23. Eight Ball Arch
24. Rock Beauty

 

 

Sightseeing and activities on Irabu-jima & Simoji-jima Islands

sights and activities on shimojijima irabujima okinawa japan

 

Tooriike Pond, Shimoji Island
Tooriike are two salt water ponds connected by and underwater cavern made from Ryukyu limestone that can be explored by divers with the proper training. If viewed from the air these two bonds look like eys and are called “dragons eye balls” by locals. The Tōriike are famous for their beautiful landscape and there are only few places in Japan which feature such beautiful shades of shining blue seawater A few local Shimoji-jima legends surround these two picturesque ponds. One popular tale tells of how the ponds were created. The story goes; two fishermen caught a mermaid and being friendly neighbors they decided to cut her in half and share her. On the same night of the catch they heard sobbing coming form the sea beckoning her to come back. The mermaid replied the she could not come back as she was cut in half. The voice from the sea told her that three big waves would be sent to bring her home. Not long after a tsunami came and washed the fishermen’s home away along with the mermaid. When the water receded all that was left was the two ponds of Tooriike.

 

Katsu fish trap

The Katsu fish trap
On Irabu-jima and Shimoji-jima Islands the is a unique way of fishing performed called “Katsu”. The Katsu fish trap can be found in Katabaru-Inō bay, south of Sawada beach on Irabu-jima Island.

The trap makes use of the tidal rhythm on Sawada beach and basically works like this, On high tide, the fish swim into the trap on low tide the fish find them selves un able to swim out. The trap is made of stones walls places on the shallow shelved bottom of the shore.

 

Festivals and Events on Irabu-jima & Shimoji-jima Islands

 

The Romantic Sea Road Irabu Island Marathon (late February)

The longest course in this marathon is a half marathon with a distance of 21.1 km. The long course encompasses both Irabu-jima Island and Shimoji-jima Island. Startin from Heiseinomori Park on Irabu Island. The race continues around Shimoji Island and back to Irabu Island, turning at Swan Cape at the northern edge of the island and finally finishing at Heiseinomori Park. Besides the half marathon there are three other short races that allow almost everyone to partake in the days events. The main theme of The Romantic Sea Road Irabu Island Marathon is to promote health and fitness, so it is organized as more of a fun event with people of all ages taking part
- Course A 21.1 km
- Course B 13.5 km
- Course C 7.0 km
- Course D 1.6 km

From Sarahama Port: Approx. 10 min. by car Parking: Available (Free) Name of Venue: Heisei Wood Park Address: Nagahama, Miyakojima City Irabu, Okinawa

 

Beaches on Irabu & Shimoji Islands

sawada beach irabu and shimoji islands okinawa japan

Sawada Beach
On the list of the top 100 most beautiful beaches in Japan. During high tide the ocean retreats and reveals a fascinating landscape. On the West side of the beach you can have a look at the traditional art of fishing with nets on this Okinawa .....

Toguchinohama Beach irabujima and shimojijima islands okinawa japan

Toguchinohama Beach
Close to the more “populated” area in the center of the two islands. The sand on this beach is so fine and white it is almost like walking on flour. The water is also crystal clear and clean, seeing the topical fish swimming around you while taking a dip in the

Nakanoshima Beach Okinawa japan

Nakanoshima Beach
Swimming is not recommended because the coral reef is located right off the shore, but snorkeling or SCUBA Diving are the perfect activities for this Irabu-jima Okinawa location. Many colorful tropical fish can be found in the warm waters right off the shores. There are ......

 

 

North Okinawa Tours

 JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Northern Okinawa Tour
On this tour visit many of the North Okinawa’s famous sites like Churaumi Aquarium ( the world's third largest aquarium), Ryukyu Mura where you can experience living history, and many more exciting places. Lunch included.
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JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Nakijin-jo Castle World Heritage Bus Tour
On this tour visit many of the North Okinawa’s famous sites like Cape Manza, Churaumi Aquarium ( the world's third largest aquarium), Nakijin-jo Castle, Nago Pineapple Park. Lunch included.
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JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Okinawa Marine Walk from Nago (Departs at 9:00 am)
Enjoy walking underwater through Okinawa's clear ocean by simply putting on a special helmet which draws air from the surface, you can breathe normally even while underwater and explore Okinawa's beautiful coral reefs.
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JTB Okinawa Japan TOurs Okinawa Jet Skiing, Banana Boat & Super Mable Tour
Enjoy all 3 of these thrilling marine sports out on the open water. 
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Miyako Islands Hotels & Resorts

 Location  Rating  Hotel Name
 Miyako Is. 4 star hotel Hotel Atoll Emerald Miyakojima
 Miyako Is. 4 star hotel Miyakojima Tokyu Resort 
 Miyako Is. 4 star hotel Hotel Breeze Bay Marina 
 Miyako Is. 5 star hotel Shigira Bayside Suite ALLAMANDA