Kuroshima

Kuroshima is a charming, sparsely-populated island which lies about  about a 35 minute ferry ride from Ishigaki. It is known for its beautiful coral reefs and its beaches, which are habitual egg-laying grounds for various species of sea turtles including loggerheads and green turtles.
 
Aside from the searing mid-summer heat and its tropical plants, there is something about Kuroshima's country lanes and its fields of grazing cattle which is vaguely reminiscent of the English countryside. Perhaps these qualities have helped to make the island such a popular destination among Japanese tourists.  In terms of topography this heart-shaped island is rather flat, with most of Kuroshima lying just a few meters above sea level.

Sights and Beaches

Kuroshima west beachIf you arrive at the island before mid-day and rent a bicycle you should have more than enough time to tour the island's main sights and beaches before the last ferry departs. If you start by riding down Kuroshima's west coast you'll be able to do some snorkeling at Nakamoto beach before escaping from the sun for an hour at the Sea Turtle Research Center.

The lighthouse which is found on the island's southern cape is nondescript in itself, but the view of the ocean from this point is one of the best on the island. Riding directly north along the country lane which leads from the lighthouse you'll pass fields of grazing cattle before finally arriving at the village center.

Kohama lighthouseKuroshima's lighthouse is found on the island's southern cape

To the west of the village center lies 'Agarisuji' which, in 1986, was selected by the Japanese government as being one of the 100 most attractive roads in Japan. A tower which was later built at the west end of the street provides an excellent panorama view of most of the island. Much of the street's charm has doubtless been lost over the years to modern asphalt and overhead power cables, but it's still a spot which is well worth stopping off at if you plan on visiting the village center.

Agarisuji towerView of Agarisuji street from the top of the tower

If you're looking to kill time after making it back to the port and you're yet to have run out of sunblock, then take a 5 minute bike ride to the beach on the island's north west coast for fine sand and a great view.

Kuroshima village

Undouya cafe'Undouya' is a popular cafe / restaurant which organises snorkeling tours to Panari island

As beautiful as Kuroshima is its single-store village can prompt questions such as - 'How on earth do people managed to spend their entire lives here without going completely round the bend?'. No doubt the islanders would ask similar questions about the hurried lives led by the average Londoner or New Yorker. Life in this closely-knit community, which doesn't even employ a single police officer, is simple, yet peaceful, and in many ways free of the trappings of modern-day society.

While not offering anything of particular interest, the village, with its traditional clay-tiled dwellings, is attractive. In terms of eating there is a popular cafe / bar positioned on the south side of the village called 'undouya' which is known for its 'yashigani soba' (coconut crab noodles). It also offers snorkeling tours to panari island.

Kuroshima's Top Spots

Check the following pages for more information about the island's top attractions

>> Nakamoto Beach      >> Sea Turtle Research Center      >> West Beach

Getting Around

By far the best way to get around Kuroshima is by bicyle. At the time of writing Ishigaki Dream Kankou were offering an excellent package deal which included both the ferry fare and bicycle rental for little more than the cost of a standard ticket. There is also a well-stocked bicycle rental shop just a 2 minute walk from the ferry terminal.

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