Recommendations For The Best Tropical Island Vacations

The Other Japanese Islands

Okinawa is a large spreadout archipelago, which actually combines smaller archipelagos. Most of them are linked by ferry lines. Others are too far and are only connected by plane.


This island 300 km south of Naha is well known for its snorkeling and diving spots. You can get in by plane from Tokyo or Naha.

This island is a bit crowded by tourists because it has everything to offer : beautiful beaches, turquoise waters home of coral barier and marine life, and preserved and luxuriant nature. The coast is very varied, always magnificent, ranging form the white beach to the sea cliff forged in the rock. 

Toursim is a well developed activity and you cand find a lot of different attractions : theme parks, temples, and other historic spots. Of course, you’ll find diving, as well as boats that you can rent to go fishing in the deep sea.

The Yonoha Maehama (perfect for kite surking) and Sunayama beaches are among the most beautiful, and the most crowded, of the island. The Higashi Henna Zaki peninsula offers a long coral reef, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling.

The accomodations are also abundant, and the offer range from the traditional Japanese guesthouse (Minshuku) to the dormitory guesthouse at a very affordable price. Also, you can find a lot of places to eat or to entertain, as the night life is pretty active.

Others islands around can be joined through the bridges, even if renting a car is a bit costly.


This island is at 30 minute by ferry north of Naha and is part of a small group of five islands. Its magnificent beaches and the turquoise waters that totally circle it make this island the perfect snorkeling destination. It is possible to stay over night on this island, in one of the local minshukus.


One of the biggest island of the Kagoshima archipelago, south of Kyushu. You can connect by plane or boat from all the major cities in Japan.

The beaches are beautiful, some could be considered the best in Japan (and maybe among the best in Asia). You can dive or go for a snorkeling adventure. The coral reef is very close to the coast, and is teeming with life, which will allow you to go on your own without the help of any guide. 

The island is pretty well developed, and you’ll find all sort of accommodations : youth hostels at 3,000 yen/night, or high standard hotel from 10,000 yen/night. Many agencies offer diving tours and gears to rent, as well as fishing boats, and you will be able to arrange a tour in the magnificent waters. Also, the roads are well maintained and cover the whole island, so you can rent a bicycle or a car (a bit expensive though, count 5,000 Yen for a car for one day) to discover all the small places, as many small villages are spread all over the island. There are also many beaches, here and there, that are still preserved and wild.  

The south part of the island is entirely constituted of mangrove swamps, in between mountains and forests. This is the perfect destination for all of you who want to take advantage both of the beach and sea relaxation and the wild nature and adventure. The pristine forest offer a lot of opportunities, such as trekking, canoeing, and horse riding.

Other local particularities, along with the summer festivals add even more interest to this island. Finally, food specialities are also numerous and offer a more exotic Japanese cuisine.


Yakushima is a volcano island  that has no beach to be seen, but its interest is in the pristine forest and the amazing wildlife. If you know Hayao Miyazaki and the Ghibli Studio, this island has inspired him for a lot of his movies, including the nature representation in the movie Mononoke Princess.

The island attracts many Japanese tourists, as it is considered a national treasure. Therefore, expect high prices (but very high standards) for all the hotels, and a peak of demand during the most favorable months. You can still find guesthouse starting à 3,000 Yen/night, but the real good deal would be to go camping for 800 yen/night in camping area with view on the sea. It’s best to bring your camping gear with you though.

Activities include: trekking, canoeing, canyoning, onsen relaxation (an onsen is a natural thermal water source where you can bath), nature discovering, wildlife observation and temple visits.

The green of the forest, the moss that covers all the rock and the trees, the sound of the streams and the lianas which fall from the trees…this is a wonderful spectacle, that will make you think you are back at prehistoric time, or on another planet, wild and mysterious. This is just mesmerizing and you will enjoy each day you spend on this island.

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