Iriomote Island Jungle Book strives to become the real deal, to become true tour guides.
Iriomote Island Jungle Book is mainly run by myself, Yuji Nakano, from Kagoshima, and my wife, Mariko, from Iriomote Island. No matter how much we study, the nature and rick culture of Iriomote Island is so profound, that it’s never enough. I place great importance on working every day to deepen my knowledge and understanding of the island, as well as the spirit of continuing to take on new challenges.
We live in a world of infinite knowledge. There is no way for anyone to know everything, but I strive every day to become a truly professional tour guide offering genuine, high-quality tours. This is what I mean by the motto for Iriomote Island Jungle Book: “We strive to become the real deal, to become true tour guides”.
We have a lot to learn from our customers, and consider life to be one big lesson. I would appreciate it if you can understand my passion.
“About Iriomote Island Jungle Book”
We are a tour shop run by an islander family from Iriomote Island in Sonai Village, one of the oldest villages on the island.
The name of the shop, Iriomote Island Jungle Book, comes from my hope that the tour shop will be like a book about the jungles of Iriomote Island, full of exciting, fun stories.
I am good at guiding slightly difficult tours of unexplored areas with courses requiring a guide to lead the way by trekking or sea kayaking. There are even shorter courses for children or those strained for time. Or maybe you’ll find our secretive special courses tempting. If you would like an islander guide, only a selected number of short tours are available. But Maiko, our guide, will be happy to assist you, if you contact us in advance.
So what makes Iriomote Island Jungle Book special? Here, we have a wide variety of tours ranging from canoeing, trekking, snorkeling, visiting caves, night tours, and more. This is why we pride ourselves in meeting the adventure needs of many of our customers. With our roots in an old village, we are knowledgeable of information no other tour guides in Iriomote Island are aware of.
For tours with lunches included, we don’t just serve meals like Yaeyama soba or pasta, but instead provide either homemade lunches prepared at a cafe located on the median run by my wife or at the deli by Grandma. And the guide (me) is outgoing with lots of experience, and will be a dependable source of information about Iriomote Island ((Haha))
※For more details, see the “OUR STAFF”page.
Not only do we offer the nature adventures commonly available in Iriomote Island, but tours much deeper, entertaining, and sometimes even more exciting like…exploring the townscape of the old village Sonai in Iriomote Island with hundreds of years of ancient history, the ocean, chat with islanders, maybe? encounter wildcats, check out unexplored waterfalls, or explore the interior regions of the island.
Tours are conducted in small numbers or as private ones, so families and children can participate at ease. Depending on the number of participants and physical stamina, we actively provide both normal and private tours to prepare tours the best suited to every customer’s needs.
If you have any questions about Iriomote Island or our tours, please feel free to contact us. We provide more information about our standard tours and the different types of canoes in the section below. Please check it out to help you choose the right tour for you.
☆ How Booking a Tour Works
After selecting a tour from “OUR TOURS” page, book the tour by sending us an inquiry via the“BOOK NOW” page or via phone.
We will reply with the information necessary for your tour, such as the meetup spot, the date of your tour, and what to bring via email.
Here is the location of our shop.
We also provide transportation services to and from Uehara Port and places of stay in the vicinity.
Enjoy Iriomote Island on Canoes！Learn About the Appeal of Exploring Iriomote Island on Canoes！
【So What is Iriomote Island Like Anyways?】
～The Galapagos Islands of the East～
Iriomote Island is the biggest island out of the Yaeyama Islands located in Taketomi Town, Yaeyama County of Okinawa Prefecture. It is the second biggest island in Okinawa after the main island. It is further out west of Ishigaki Island. Over 90 percent of the island’s surface area is jungle – its most distinguishing feature. Abundant in natural monuments, you can fully enjoy exploring the jungles of the Galapagos of the East.
～From olden times, the Islanders of Iriomote Island were・・・～
Islanders living in Iriomote Island roamed freely around the vast mangrove rivers, ocean, and mountains, surviving off of nature’s blessings. Spending their childhood playing in the ocean, home to numerous types of fish, it is the Iriomote Island way to shower using the natural water which springs from the depths of the mangrove forest. Just explore around a little by boat, and you’ll easily find uninhabited islands all over. Enjoy a luxurious time lounging on private beaches of the great outdoors.
【Enjoy Canoeing in Iriomote Island！！】
The main feature of Iriomote Island is undoubtedly the “mangroves” covering every inch of the island. Inhabiting the mangroves are rare flora and fauna you just can’t encounter on other islands. Rowing a canoe, you can enjoy observing mangroves and looking for animals and plants, experiencing nature with your whole body, while seeing the mangroves up close. So what exactly is so appealing about canoeing in Iriomote Island? Here we’ll explore the attraction of Iriomote Island canoeing.
【The Rich Abundance of Mangroves】
With mangroves unfurling in every direction, as far as the eye can see, the ambience is overflowing with the raw vitality created by nature. The mangrove river, filled with a mix of sea water and freshwater characteristic of subtropical regions, is truly a treasure of life in Iriomote Island. There are countless chance to meet rare, valuable living animals,
- Mangrove crabs
- Fiddler crabs
- Soldier crabs
- Barred mudskippers
- Geloina erosa (up to 15 cm in diameter)
- Giant mottled eels
【”Sagaribana”: A One-Night Flower 】
In Iriomote Island grows a well-known flower called “Sagaribana”, which blooms but a single early summer night every year. The next morning, come sunrise, these ephemeral flowers fall right off. The dreamlike scenery of pink and white sagaribana flowers carpeting the entire surface of the mangrove river is inexplicably heavenly. Every year we have many tourists visiting just to see sagaribana.
The best part of canoeing in Iriomote Island is most definitely the mangroves. In Iriomote Island, you can fully enjoy the precious nature adventures you can never get to experience in your everyday life. Come feel the great outdoors in Iriomote Island！
【What’s the Difference？！What’s So Attractive About “Canoeing in Iriomote Island”？！】
Have you ever heard of Iriomote Island, a remote island in Okinawa Prefecture? Iriomote Island is located in one of the rare subtropical regions in Japan, famous for the mangrove forests growing all over the island. Kayaking・canoeing tours taking full advantage of what nature has to offer are very popular. Here, I would like to introduce the nature adventure of kayaking・canoeing tours in Iriomote Island.
【Kayak Tours in Iriomote Island’s Lush Mangrove Forests！Experience the Great Outdoors Firsthand！】
The greatest attraction of the remote island of “Iriomote Island” is its rich and vast natural environment, which gives the island its name the Galapagos of the East. You can revel in the emerald green sea, the beautiful blue sky, and the subtropical mangroves. Here, I’ll talk a little more about sea kayaking as a way to enjoy Iriomote Island.
●What is a “kayak” in the first place?
Kayaks are a type of canoe which uses webbed parts attached on both ends of the paddle called “double bladed paddles” to paddle on your own. They are generally two-seaters, but if you are a small child, you may be able to ride on the center part of the kayak. Kayaks are easy to maneuver, so even beginners can easily enjoy themselves. “Sea kayaks” are even lighter and can move straight more easily. They are usually for 1 to 3 people, and you can enjoy a comfortable trip even over longer distances.
●”Sea Kayaking” You Can Enjoy All Year Round！！
Sea kayaking is a popular water sport you can do almost all year round during any season (expect during periods of strong wind). While feeling Iriomote Island’s warm ocean breeze caressing your skin, you can appreciate the beautiful seascape thanks to the high transparency of the sea. It’s possible to do even when it rains a little, so it’s a popular activity even outside of the peak seasons of summer and autumn. Many repeaters continue coming to kayak in Iriomote Island to enjoy the seasonal changes of the colors of the ocean and scenery.
【What’s Fun About Sea Kayaking？！】
①【You get to be so close to the surface of the ocean！！】
Many people are often surprised and impressed by just how close they find themselves to the surface of the ocean water. The emerald green ocean here in Iriomote Island is highly transparent. You can come appreciate such a beautiful ocean at close proximity. When the ocean waves are calm, you can even observe tropical fish swimming by while rowing around in your kayak. With view of the ocean seen from the kayak very close to the surface of the water, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the seascape from a vantage point totally different than usual.
②【You can spend a relaxing time！！】
Ida Beach is a superb beach you can only access by boat. Even by Iriomote Island’s standards, the transparency of the ocean water here is sublime. There’s children-friendly shallow areas to explore. Come appreciate the beautiful sea and the coral reefs and tropical fish underwater by “sea kayak”. It’s a truly exhilarating experience to paddle forth surrounded by nature. Depending on the time of day, you can enjoy the ambience of the ocean specific to this time.
But of course, the real thrill of sea kayaking in Iriomote Island is the incredibly vast and beautiful seascape spread out before your very own eyes. It’ll be one or two ranks above your usual ocean-viewing experience. One of the greatest attractions of sea kayaking is that you get to freely visit locations you just can’t reach by car. It’s an invigorating activity perfect for those looking a great adventure.
【What’s Fun About Sea Kayaking？！】
【Kayaking in Unexplored Areas】
①Visiting Nala Falls by Sea Kayak！
While savoring the beautiful scenery to your heart’s content by sea kayak in Iriomote Island, we can head towards Nala Falls. We’ll take our time advancing across the vast rivers and sea and through mangroves to reach Nala Falls, so it is a highly satisfying trip for those looking to experience sea kayaking. Once you finally reach the waterfall, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment. For those of you not confident about your stamina, we can prepare kayaks for 2 or 3 people for lovers and families to enjoy. Customers who are still yet worried can ride along with the guide for extra support, so that you can save your energy to fully enjoy the tour. Nala Falls has a very big and deep water basin, so you can enjoy getting sprayed by water full of negative ions, swim around, jump into the waterfall, try hitting the waterfall, and have a blast playing in the water. The flora and fauna you can observe changes depending on the height of the tide, is you’ll have a lot more to see on the way back from the waterfall.
②Sea Kayaking at Ida Beach！
Ida Beach is a superb beach you can only access by boat. Even by Iriomote Island’s standards, the transparency of the ocean water here is sublime. There’s children-friendly shallow areas to explore. Come appreciate the beautiful sea and the coral reefs and tropical fish underwater by “sea kayak”. It’s a truly exhilarating experience to paddle forth surrounded by nature. Depending on the time of day, you can enjoy the ambience of the ocean specific to this time. But of course, the real thrill of sea kayaking in Iriomote Island is the incredibly vast and beautiful seascape spread out before your very own eyes. It’ll be one or two ranks above your usual ocean-viewing experience. One of the greatest attractions of sea kayaking is that you get to freely visit locations you just can’t reach by car. It’s an invigorating activity perfect for those looking a great adventure.
【Canoeing in Mangroves】
①Canoeing in the Daytune
Iriomote Island is breathtakingly full of lush mangrove forests. You’ll feel like an explorer, canoeing among the mangroves in the daytime. With 7 species of mangroves inhabiting the island, you’ll find how the shade of the mangroves changes as we advance from the sea into the river enthralling. The scenery of the mangroves you can enjoy from your canoe is unlike the vantage point you usually view the world from, bringing with it new discoveries and details to your attention.
②Canoeing at Dusk
At sunset, Iriomote Island, overflowing with vast nature, begins to quiet down. You can leisurely drift about, fully enjoying the sunset. Observe as the sky changes from the exhilarating brightness of daylight to dusk, which makes you feel deep within the vitality of nature. The sky and the ocean will be painted in beautiful blues～golds～reds.
③Canoeing at Night
Compared to Ishigaki and Miyako Islands, there are less resorts available on Iriomote Island, which means that its nature is left largely untouched since ancient times. With little light pollution, unlike urban cityscapes, Iriomote Island is the best place for stargazing.
You can observe…
- July～November：the Milky Way
- December～June：the Southern Cross
Iriomote Island is where you can fully enjoy nature adventures with your family, children, friends, and lover. The island has a charm that will have you wanting to return again and again for more. Come join in our extraordinary nature adventures you just can’t normally experience anywhere else！！