Iriomote Island

Iriomote Island (西表島 Iriomote-jima, Yaeyama: Irïmutii; Iriomote dialect: Irimutii; Okinawan: Iriumuti) is the largest of the Yaeyama Islands of Japan, and the second largest in Okinawa Prefecture after Okinawa Island itself.

The island has an area of 289.27 km² and a 2005 population of 2,347. The island does not have an airstrip, and most visitors — over 390,000 in 2006 — arrive from Ishigaki by ferry, a 31.4 km ride to Uwahara Port (上原港) on Iriomote's northeast coast or Ōhara Port (大原港) on the southeast coast. Administratively the island belongs to Taketomi Town, Okinawa Prefecture.[1] Infrastructure is limited to a single coastal road connecting the hamlets on the northern and eastern shores.

Iriomote Island
Native name:
西表島
Map-Iriomote
Map of Iriomote Island
Yaeyama map
Iriomote Island in relation to the other Yaeyama Islands
Geography
LocationBordering the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea, southwest of mainland Japan and east of Taiwan
Coordinates24°17′33″N 123°51′43″E / 24.29250°N 123.86194°E
ArchipelagoYaeyama Islands
Area289.27 km2 (111.69 sq mi)[1]
Coastline130.0 km (80.78 mi)[1]
Highest elevation469.5 m (1,540.4 ft)
Highest pointMt. Komi (古見岳 Komi-dake)
Administration
Japan
PrefectureOkinawa Prefecture
TownTaketomi, Okinawa
Demographics
Population2347 (2005)

Wildlife

The island is famed for the Iriomote cat, a Critically Endangered wild cat found only on Iriomote.[2] As of 2007 the population size is estimated to be 100–109 individuals.[3]

The island has a venomous snake—Trimeresurus elegans, known locally as the habu, a species of pitviper whose bite has a fatality rate of 3% and a permanent disability rate of 6–8%.[4]

Culture

The Iriomote dialect of the Yaeyama language is spoken by some people on the island.

History

The island had few settlements of fishermen and rice growers on the coastal areas, but it never had a large population until the Iriomote Coal Mine operated between 1889 and 1959.

During World War II some residents of Ishigaki were forcibly made to take refuge in Iriomote, many of whom contracted malaria. After the war, the US Forces in Japan eradicated malaria from the island, and the island has been malaria-free since then. The island, together with the rest of Okinawa Prefecture, remained a US-controlled territory until 1972. Iriomote was returned to Japan on 17 June 1972.

Economy

Apart from tourism, the island economy is sustained by agricultural production, primarily of pineapple, sugarcane, mango, culture pearl growing [5] and fishing.

Geography and climate

Iriomotejima ISS039
A satellite photo of Iriomote Island, April 2014. Iriomote is in the center and there are other small islands surrounding it.

90% of the island is covered by dense jungle and mangrove swamps. 80% of the island is protected state land, and 34.3% of the island forms the Iriomote National Park. The highest point on the island is Mt. Komi (古見岳 Komidake) at 469.5 metres (1,540 ft). Around 21 kilometres (13 mi) northwest (24°33′29″N 124°00′00″E / 24.558°N 124.00°E) of Iriomote is an active undersea volcano which last erupted in 1924; the summit is 200 metres (660 ft) below sea level.

The island's Urauchi River is the largest river in Okinawa Prefecture, and the smaller Nakama and Nakara rivers also flow within the island. Iriomote is also home to Pinaisara Falls, the largest waterfall in Okinawa Prefecture.[6]

Iriomote has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af). The average yearly temperature is 23.6 °C (74.5 °F), and the average monthly temperature ranges from 18.3 °C (64.9 °F) in January to 28.9 °C (84.0 °F) in July. Iriomote has a typhoon season that, on average, runs from June to September.

Gallery

Tudumari-no-hama Iriomote Island Japan10bs4500

Tsuzumari-no-hama (Tsukigahama Beach)

Urauchi River Iriomote 2007-04-05

Urauchi-gawa: the longest river in Okinawa.

Mariyudo iriomote 2007-04-05

Mariyudō-no-taki: Waterfall on the Urauchi River.

Kampire iriomote 2007-04-05

Kampire-no-taki: A section of the Kampire waterfall on the Urauchi River.

Pinaisara iriomote 2007-04-05

Pinaisara-no-taki: Waterfall on the north of the island.

Iriomote mangrove 2007-04-04

Mangrove on the Nakama River

Heritiera littoralis - Sakishimasuo - Iriomote island Japan2

Sakishimasuou tree: Said to be the biggest and oldest mangrove tree in Japan.

Hoshizuna-no-hama 2007-04-04

Hoshizuna-no-hama (Star Sand Beach): Beachcombers looking for star-shaped sand grains.

Star sand Iriomote

Star sand from Hoshizuna-no-hama: Abraded calcium-carbonate tests of foraminifers from nearby reefs.[8]

References

  1. ^ a b c 知・旅・住 離島総合情報サイト 沖縄のしまじま [Know, Travel, Live: Remote Islands General Information Site: Okinawa's Islands] (in Japanese). Okinawa Prefecture. Archived from the original on 28 June 2004. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  2. ^ Izawa, M. (2008). "Prionailurus bengalensis ssp. iriomotensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  3. ^ 環境省. イリオモテヤマネコ生息状況等総合調査(第4次)の結果について(お知らせ) [(Fourth) Survey of the State of the Iriomote Cat's Habitat: Regarding the Results (notice)] (in Japanese). Retrieved 10 June 2012.
  4. ^ U.S. Navy (1991). Poisonous Snakes of the World. New York: Dover Publications Inc. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.
  5. ^ http://raden-pearlinlay.com/en/pearlshells
  6. ^ "Introducing places of interest: Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park (Iriomote)". Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Iriomotejima Climate Normals 1981-2010" (in Japanese). Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Hohenegger, J., Larger foraminifera as important calcium-carbonate producers in coral reef environments and constituting the main components of carbonate beach sands; examples from the Ryukyu archipelago. Institut für Paläontologie, Universität Wien.

External links

Coordinates: 24°20′N 123°48′E / 24.333°N 123.800°E

Amami Guntō National Park

Amami Guntō National Park (奄美群島国立公園, Amami Guntō Kokuritsu Kōen) is a national park in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. Established in 2017, the park comprises a land area of 42,181 ha (104,230 acres) and

a sea area of 33,082 ha (81,750 acres). The national park includes areas of these islands: Tokunoshima, Kikai, Amami, Yoron, Okinoerabujima, Uke Island, Kakeromajima and Yoroshima.

Ammonia fungi

Ammonia fungi are fungi that develop fruit bodies exclusively or relatively abundantly on soil that has had ammonia or other nitrogen-containing materials added. The nitrogen materials react as bases by themselves, or after decomposition. The addition of ammonia or urea causes numerous chemical and biological changes, for examples, the pH of soil litter is increased to 8–10; the high alkaline conditions interrupts the process of nutrient recycling. The mechanisms of colonization, establishment, and occurrence of fruiting bodies of ammonia fungi has been researched in the field and the laboratory.

Epicephala corruptrix

Epicephala corruptrix is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is found on the Ryukyu Archipelago (Amami Island, Tokuno Island, Okinawa Island, Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island).

The wingspan is 7.2–8.8 mm. The forewings are brown with a narrow white band on the dorsum from the base to 2/3 of the entire length and with two pairs of narrow white bands beginning at the costal and dorsal margin near 1/2 to 3/4 length of the wing and extending obliquely toward the wing apex, terminating before reaching mid-width of the wing. The dorso-distal band is accompanied by another parallel band of same size on the distal position and there is a narrow silver band with metallic reflection extending from the costa to the dorsum at 5/6 length. The distal 1/6 is orange-brown with a black dot centrally, franked by short white band near the dorsum. The distal end is fringed with a narrow white band. The hindwings are brown.

The larvae feed on the seeds of Glochidion obovatum and Glochidion rubrum.

Epicephala lanceolatella

Epicephala lanceolatella is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is found on the Ryukyu Archipelago (Amami Island, Okinawa Island, Ishigaki Island, Iriomote Island and Yonaguni Island).

The wingspan is 8.8–10.3 mm. The forewings are brown with a narrow white band on the dorsum from the base to 2/3 of the entire length and three narrow white bands beginning at the dorsal margin near 1/2 to 3/4 length of the wing and extending obliquely toward the wing apex, terminating before reaching mid-width of the wing. There are white spots scattered on the costal half and a narrow silver band with metallic reflection extending from the costa to the dorsum at 5/6 length. The distal 1/6 is orange-brown with a black dot centrally, flanked by a short white band near the dorsum. The distal end fringed has a narrow white band. The hindwings are brown.

The larvae feed on the seeds of Glochidion lanceolatum.

Epicephala perplexa

Epicephala perplexa is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is found on the Ryukyu Archipelago (Amami Island, Okinawa Island, Ishigaki Island, Iriomote Island and Yonaguni Island).

The wingspan is 8.3–10 mm. The forewings are brown with a narrow white band on the dorsum from the base to 2/3 of the entire length and with three narrow white bands beginning at the dorsal margin near 1/2 to 3/4 length of the wing and extending obliquely toward the wing apex, terminating before reaching mid-width of the wing. Dull white spots are scattered on the costal half and there is a narrow silver band with metallic reflection extending from the costa to the dorsum at 5/6 length. The distal 1/6 is orange-brown with a black dot centrally, franked by a short white band near the dorsum. The distal end is fringed with a narrow white band. The hindwings are brown.

The larvae feed on the seeds of Glochidion lanceolatum.

Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park

Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park (西表石垣国立公園, Iriomote-Ishigaki Kokuritsu Kōen) is a national park in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is located on and around the Yaeyama Islands of the East China Sea.The park was established in 1972 as Iriomote National Park (西表国立公園) and included the islands of Iriomote, Kohama, Kuro, and Taketomi. In August 2007 the protected area was extended to include Ishigaki Island.The park is famous as the habitat of the Iriomote wild cat.

Iriomote Coal Mine

The Iriomote Coal Mine (西表炭鉱, Iriomote tankō) was a producing coal mine in the northwestern area of Uchibanare and Iriomote Islands, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. At its peak, between 120,000 to 130,000 tons of coal were produced annually in the years 1936 and 1937 by 1,400 coal mine workers, but production ceased in 1960.

Kohama Island

Kohama Island (小浜島, Kohama-jima) (Yaeyama: Kumoo, Okinawan: Kubama) is an island in the Yaeyama Islands group at the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands chain, and part of Taketomi, Yaeyama District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The island has an area of 7.84 km2 (3.03 sq mi), with a surrounding area of 16.6 km2 (6.4 sq mi). The island is located about 25 minutes by ferry from Ishigaki Island, which is the transportation and business center of the Yaeyama Islands.

The 2001 NHK drama series Churasan was set on the island. Shinobu Miyara, former member of Da Pump, is from Kohama-jima.

List of World Heritage Sites in Japan

Japan accepted the UNESCO World Heritage Convention on 30 June 1992. As of July 2019, twenty-three properties have been inscribed on the World Heritage List: nineteen cultural sites and four natural sites. A further eight sites and one site extension have been submitted for future inscription and are currently on the Tentative List as of 2017.

Mangrove

A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water. The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species. Mangroves occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics, mainly between latitudes 25° N and 25° S. The total mangrove forest area of the world in 2000 was 137,800 square kilometres (53,200 sq mi), spanning 118 countries and territories.Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions. They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action. They are adapted to the low oxygen conditions of waterlogged mud.The word is used in at least three senses: (1) most broadly to refer to the habitat and entire plant assemblage or mangal, for which the terms mangrove forest biome, and mangrove swamp are also used, (2) to refer to all trees and large shrubs in the mangrove swamp, and (3) narrowly to refer to the mangrove family of plants, the Rhizophoraceae, or even more specifically just to mangrove trees of the genus Rhizophora.The mangrove biome, or mangal, is a distinct saline woodland or shrubland habitat characterized by depositional coastal environments, where fine sediments (often with high organic content) collect in areas protected from high-energy wave action. The saline conditions tolerated by various mangrove species range from brackish water, through pure seawater (3 to 4%), to water concentrated by evaporation to over twice the salinity of ocean seawater (up to 9%).Mangrove forests move carbon dioxide "from the atmosphere into long-term storage" in greater quantities than other forests, making them "among the planet's best carbon scrubbers" according to a NASA-led study based on satellite data.

Microbacterium fluvii

Microbacterium fluvii is a Gram-positive bacterium from the genus of Microbacterium which has been isolated from driftwood from the Maera River from the Iriomote Island on Japan.

Naata Ufushu

Naata Ufushu (長田大主, 1456-1517) was a Ryukyuan local chief who supported the forces of the Ryūkyū Kingdom in suppressing the rebellion of Oyake Akahachi, another regional chieftain.

Naata was born on Hateruma Island and traveled to Ishigaki Island at the age of eight. Over the years, as he grew, he gained power, eventually uniting Ishigaki Village and becoming its head.He was approached, as were a number of other local chieftains, by Oyake Akahachi, who sought to have them join him in rebellion against the Ryūkyū Kingdom. Naata is said to have been quite loyal to the king, and sought to appease Akahachi by offering him his younger sister Koitsuba's hand in marriage; this failed, and Akahachi escaped to Iriomote Island with Koitsuba and her two younger brothers.Akahachi was defeated in the end by royal forces, with Naata's support.It is sometimes said that Naata was the son of Nakasone Toyomiya, or otherwise descended from him, but this seems unlikely, as Nakasone is known to have lived sometime around 1500-1530, which would make him younger or contemporaneous with Naata, not old enough to be his father or other ancestor.

Nakara River

The Nakara (仲良川, Nakara-gawa) or is a river located on the western side of the island of Iriomote, one of the Yaeyama Islands of Japan.

Nomia (genus)

Nomia is a cosmopolitan genus of sweat bees in the family Halictidae. Many species have opalescent bands on the metasoma. Nomia species are moderate-sized bees that nest in the ground. Most species nest solitarily, but some species also nest communally where females share a nest but where there are no queen or worker castes.

Nypa fruticans

Nypa fruticans, commonly known as the nipa palm (or simply nipa) or mangrove palm, is a species of palm native to the coastlines and estuarine habitats of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the only palm considered adapted to the mangrove biome. This species is the only member of the genus Nypa and the subfamily Nypoideae, forming monotypic taxa.

Satakentia

Satakentia liukiuensis (satake palm, yaeyama-yashi [Japanese ヤエヤマヤシ], satakentia palm, yaeyama palm), is a species of palm tree, endemic to Ishigaki Island and Iriomote Island in the Yaeyama Islands, the southwesternmost of the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. It is the only species in the genus Satakentia.

Sotobanari

Sotobanari (also Sotobakuri, Japanese 外離島) is one of the Yaeyama Islands, within the Sakishima Islands, at the southern end of the Ryukyu Islands. It is to the west of Iriomote Island, its nearest large neighbour. It is administered as part of the town of Taketomi, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

The small island (about 1 km in diameter), whose name means outer distant island, is vegetated, but has no running water. Sotobanari had one human inhabitant, an eighty-two-year-old man named Masafumi Nagasaki, who had lived there in semi-isolation for three decades (1989 - 2018), nude, and bought food and water from a settlement an hour away by boat weekly with ¥10,000 sent by family, fully clothed. He was featured on the Vice News segment "Japan's Naked Island Hermit".

Recently (April 2018) he left the island because of illness (suspected influenza). He was too weak to resist the police. He always had said he wished to die on the island. Now, the Japanese government won't let him go back to the island.

Yaeyama Islands

The Yaeyama Islands (八重山列島 Yaeyama-rettō, also 八重山諸島 Yaeyama-shotō, Yaeyama: Yaima, Yonaguni: Daama, Okinawan: Yeema) are an archipelago in the southwest of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, and cover 591.46 square kilometres (228.36 sq mi). The islands are located southwest of the Miyako Islands, part of the Ryukyu Islands archipelago. The Yaeyama Islands are the remotest part of Japan from the main islands and contain Japan's most southern (Hateruma) and most western (Yonaguni) inhabited islands. The city of Ishigaki serves as the political, cultural, and economic center of the Yaeyama Islands.The Yaeyama Islands are home to numerous species of subtropical and tropical plants, and mangrove forests. The islands produce sugarcane and pineapples. Coral reefs around the islands are ideal habitats for dolphins, sea turtles, and larger fish such as manta rays and whale sharks. Before being wiped out by humans, whales and dugongs were common as well, and Yaeyama once had the largest population of dugongs in the Ryukyu Islands. On Aragusuku Island, there is a Utaki which specially enshrines hunted dugongs with their skulls, but non-residents are not permitted to enter unless they receive special permission from inhabitants, and it is said that any aliens without permission will be driven out by force.

Yanbaru National Park

Yanbaru National Park (やんばる国立公園, Yanbaru Kokuritsu Kōen) is a national park in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Established in 2016, it is located in and around the forested region of Yanbaru at the northern end of Okinawa Island. The park comprises a land area of 13,622 ha (33,660 acres) in the villages of Kunigami, Ōgimi, and Higashi together with 3,670 ha (9,100 acres) of the surrounding waters. The day of establishment, 15 September, coincides with the anniversary of the 1983 discovery of the endangered endemic Yanbaru Long-armed Scarab Beetle (Cheirotonus jambar) (ヤンバルテナガコガネ).

Climate data for Iriomote
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20.4
(68.7)
21.4
(70.5)
22.8
(73.0)
25.1
(77.2)
28.3
(82.9)
30.2
(86.4)
32.1
(89.8)
31.1
(88.0)
30.1
(86.2)
27.6
(81.7)
25.0
(77.0)
22.1
(71.8)
26.4
(79.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.3
(64.9)
18.9
(66.0)
19.9
(67.8)
22.5
(72.5)
25.2
(77.4)
27.4
(81.3)
28.9
(84.0)
28.3
(82.9)
27.3
(81.1)
25.1
(77.2)
22.7
(72.9)
19.5
(67.1)
23.7
(74.6)
Average low °C (°F) 16.3
(61.3)
16.7
(62.1)
17.6
(63.7)
20.1
(68.2)
22.7
(72.9)
25.1
(77.2)
26.5
(79.7)
25.8
(78.4)
24.8
(76.6)
23.0
(73.4)
20.5
(68.9)
17.7
(63.9)
21.4
(70.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 168.9
(6.65)
166.0
(6.54)
149.2
(5.87)
174.6
(6.87)
182.1
(7.17)
197.8
(7.79)
141.6
(5.57)
273.6
(10.77)
267.7
(10.54)
209.1
(8.23)
221.2
(8.71)
153.1
(6.03)
2,304.9
(90.74)
Average relative humidity (%) 78 76 80 80 82 82 78 82 81 76 78 73 79
Mean monthly sunshine hours 74.5 77.0 95.5 121.8 170.3 199.8 253.2 230.6 198.7 146.0 93.4 75.4 1,736.2
Source: JMA (1981-2010) [7]

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