VISIT OKINAWA JAPAN Official Okinawa Travel Guide

Yubu Island

A Tiny Tropical Paradise Accessed by Water Buffalo Carriage

Yubu Island was formed by sediment deposited by sea currents as a result of sand flowing from the Yonara River on Iriomote Island. Located about 500 meters from the east coast of Iriomote Island, it is a small island with a circumference of approximately 2 kilometers, and only sits 1.5 meters above sea level. Yubu Island consists entirely of a subtropical botanical garden and has colorful tropical flowers blooming throughout the year. It is a popular spot within the Yaeyama Islands that hosts many visitors. It takes about 20 minutes on the fixed-route bus to the water buffalo carriage station from the Ohara Port on Iriomote Island. Taking a leisurely ride on the carriage across the sea and back is the popular, making the journey half the thrill of travelling to scenic Yubu Island.

Water Buffalo Crossing

The distance between Iriomote Island and Yubu Island is approximately 400 meters. The water buffalo move slowly over the shallow waters that can also be crossed by foot. It certainly makes the list of tourist activities that represent Yaeyama. Although it depends on the weather and the mood of the water buffalo, it usually takes 15 minutes each way. While listening to the sound of songs played on the sanshin by the driver, the carriage proceeds slowly toward the island. You can catch a ride to Yubu Island at the Traveler’s Station Yubu Island on Iriomote Island.

Yubu Island Subtropical Botanical Paradise

As a result of the typhoon of 1969, most of the residents on Yubu Island resettled on Iriomote Island, and only Mr. and Mrs. Masaharu Iriomote remained, planting palm trees while dreaming of creating a tropical paradise. There are now over 40,000 palm trees that have been planted by the couple who have succeeded in their goal of rebuilding the island. You can also enjoy various other plants particular to subtropical regions. The vividness of bougainvillea, which come into season between late autumn and spring, is synonymous with the tropical scene. More than 30 kinds of bougainvillea bloom all year round at the Bougainvillea Garden.

The Butterfly Garden

Within the botanical garden is a butterfly garden where you can find rare butterflies throughout the year, including the tree nymph butterfly, known to be the largest in Japan, as well as the Ideopsis similis, which is only found in warm climates. The scene of the butterflies fluttering about freely in the lush vegetation indeed gives the sense of a subtropical garden, and it is a popular place to visit when on the island. You may even be able to snap a photo with the butterflies up close if you are lucky.

Access to Yubu Island

By air : None
By sea : Iriomote – Yubu *Water buffalo-drawn carriage (15 minutes.).

Yubu Island Basic Information

Area: 0.15 km²; Population: 10

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