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Travelling around Taketomi island with a water buffalo and a bicycle

Are you aware of Taketomi island? Taketomi island is one of the outlying islands of Okinawa and is famous for the traditional old folk houses, water buffalo, beautiful ocean and so on. When I visited this island, II felt like I had to spread the spirit of this island because I felt sympathy for people and the community of this island. The people there try to preserve it’s prescious natural gifts, all the while being very welcoming and receptive to visitors. I feel like the island is one of those rare places off the beaten track, even for Japanese people. To encourage you to take a visit I have summed up some basic information on how to get to Taketomi and details on the highly recommended tour around the island.


Where is Taketomi island?

Taketomi island is located near the Ishigaki port terminal. It takes about 10 minutes by ferry from the port terminal. In my case, I went to Taketomi island from Bangkok. So, I first took flights from Bangokok to Naha (the prefectural capital of Okinawa) and onward from Naha to Ishigaki.

<The flight from Naha to Ishigaki(1 hour)>


<The ferry from Ishigaki port terminal to Taketomi port terminal (10minutes)> 

*Taketomi island is very near to Taiwan.


A highly recommended tour by water buffalo carriage and bicycle rental

To look around Taketomi island I booked the tour which includes a ride in a water buffalo drawn carriage and a bicycle rental.( highly recommend this tour for solo travellers, couples or families. On this tour your free to look around the island and enjoy the sites at your leisure. The structured part of the tour involves a 30 minute ride on the buffalo drawn carriage and thereafter your free to bicycle around at your own pace.


The Taketomi water buffalo carriage

Sightseeing by buffalo drawn carriage is a famous activity on Taketomi island. A tour guide introduces the features of the Taketomi island while riding a water buffalo carriage. Tour guides can play “Sanshin” musical(Okinawa’s traditional music instrument) and sing a couple of songs. 

*I didn’t know this but water buffalo have a lot of power with which to pull a carriage and they are also quite smart. The buffalo can figure out the difference between track followed by the front and back inner wheels when turning. 

*The water buffalo carriage looks like this.

When you are on the island you can see that the roads are very beautiful as they are covered with white corral sand. The carriage slowly tours around the traditional old houses and stone walls. The guides relate to us the features of the island with humour and the beautifully relaxing Sanshin performence.

*The landscape of the traditional old houses with red roofing tiles.


Exploring Taketomi by rented bicycle

Almost all tourists on Taketomi island rent a bicycle and ride around the island. You are presented a map of the island by the tour company.


*One day trip is enough to look around the island. If you begin your bicycle rental prior to the noon hr you can enjoy your sightseeing without having to rush.


Beautiful stone walls.

Calm roads:)



Beautiful flowers(^ ^)


*It’s a shisa!


It was a bright and sunny day although very hot!


School on Taketomi island



Perfectly blue ocean !



Hermit crabs.


I just zoned out in front of the ocean for two hours…..


There are several restaurants and cafes

There are several restaurants and cafes in Taketomi island. One of the nice cafes which I’d like to recommend is the Island cafe “Chirorin”.

Home page :

I visited the island as a day trip but there is also the option of booking a guesthouse for the night. Taketomi island is one of the most advisabel trips I can think of. I sincerely hope you enjoy the trip to the outlying islands as much as I did!


Author - Taishi Suzuki
Author - Taishi Suzuki
バンコク在住5年目/WEB屋/旅ブログ「BE AMBITIOUS」を運営しています。Japanese travel blogger / I'm based in Bangkok and regularly travel throughout the region.