It’s surprising that Taketomi is so low key. With beaches like this, I’d expect more of a Waikiki situation, but that’s not the case at all. There are no beach hawkers or over priced vendors. In fact, you won’t even find a vending machine. It’s as if you’ve discovered a pristine paradise that no one knows about yet. Just park your bike rental and enjoy.
There are a few beaches on Taketomi, but my favorite is Kondoi Beach (photo above). Even though it has crystal clear water, it’s too shallow to swim or snorkel. During low tide, you can walk to a sand island quite a ways out. With a view of both Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands and white sand, I could spend all day here. My advice? Pick up a bento from town and have a picnic.
Another beach that’s less for picnicking and more for sightseeing is the West Pier. It used to be a customs port for all boats entering the Yaeyama Islands, but it was moved to Ishigaki a few hundred years ago. A mildly-dilapidated concrete pier still stands where you can walk out to a beautiful view (photos below).
It’s a nice walk up the mossy coastline.
Further down the west coast is Kaiji Beach where you can find sand shaped like stars, broken off from ocean coral. Bring along a piece of black paper, which makes it easier to separate the stars from the regular sand. Taketomi is definitely doable in a leisurely day. It was the highlight of my trip to Ishigaki!