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Kohama's Observation Points
This is where Kohama really shines. While Taketomi is flat and sits barely above sea level, Kohama has a rolling terrain, the result of which is two of the finest vantage points to be found in the Yaeyama archipelago.
Chura san's Point
This viewpoint offers what is probably the best view of Iriomote island to be found in the archipelago.
The highest point on Kohama island and the only spot from where the entire island can be viewed.
The best beach on the island is probably the one which is found inside the grounds of the Haimuribushi hotel on the south east coast. It's much like Ishigaki's hotel-managed beaches in that it is clean, protected by a jellyfish net and is free to use for all. A range of water sports such as jet skiing are on offer, and beach equipment including parasols, inflatables and snorkel sets are also available for rental.
Toumaaru is an extremely long beach which is located conveniently close to the ferry terminal. Unfortunately this is one of those spots which has been let down slightly by rubbish which has been washed in with the tide – buoys, plastic bottles, polystyrene etc. The sand isn't of the highest quality, but most visitors who bring along a towel will have few complaints.
'Chura san' - the TV Series
If you see a crowd of Japanese tourists posing for photos in front of what appears to be a rather ordinary-looking old house in the centre of the village then it's more than likely that you've stumbled upon what used to be the set of the famous TV drama 'Chursa san'.
Kohama shot to fame in 2001 when NHK (Japan's national TV network) chose to base the popular daytime drama on the island. This inevitably led to a boom which saw a huge number of Japanese tourists flocking to Yaeyama to spend their 'Golden Week' on the island. However, as is always the case in Japan, what is hot today soon becomes yesterday's news, and tourist numbers have dwindled significantly over recent years.
For the average foreigner the sight of Japanese tourists getting so excited about standing outside one of Okinawa's most famous abodes is likely to be of more interest than the house itself. Aside from Chura san's house, Kohama's village offers little of interest, although there are a couple of small stores which offer basic amenities.
Getting around Kohama
Kohama's sights are dotted around the island and there are significant distances between. Keen walkers will be able to enjoy most of the island within a day trip, but be warned that the sunshine can be extremely intense during most of the year, and shade is a scare commodity. If you're brave enough to tackle the island on foot then remember to bring along water, a hat, and plenty of sun block.
Cars, mopeds and bicycles can be rented on the island, but it's worth bearing in mind that if you choose to go for a bike it's more than likely going to be one of the ubiquitous single-geared shopping bikes which are found everywhere throughout Japan.
If you plan on renting a car during the high season then be sure to book in advance in order to avoid disappointment on arrival.