With a circumference of only 2.15 kilometers, Yubu Jima is the smallest island in the Yaeyama Archipelago, Okinawa. The entire island is a subtropical garden, with more than 100 varieties of trees!
On the island are 43 water buffaloes, 23 carts, 23 people and 17 households (2010, yubujima.com).
The island is accessible by water buffalo cart from Iriomote Jima.
“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” – Lord Byron
There is no English in the islands. All the signage is in Japanese. Once you find the bus stop on the Iriomote island, just wait for a bus to come and ask the driver: “Yubu?”. If he is nodding affirmative, board the bus. In no time you will arrive at the departure point for Yubu island.
Once you arrive at the Iriomote Jima station, board a buffalo-drawn cart and enjoy the picturesque ride to Yubu through shallow water, accompanied by the sounds of shamisen – a three-stringed, traditional Japanese musical instrument, played by the cart’s driver.
On the island visit the butterfly garden, the shellfish museum and take a look at the water buffalo’s pond. Relax in the natural garden of the island, between palm trees (10 varieties) and hibiscus flowers (30 varieties).
“In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus –
A lovely sunset”
– Matsuo Bashō