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. Infrastructure is limited to a single coastal road connecting the hamlets on the northern and eastern shores.
|Native name: |
Map of Iriomote Island
Iriomote Island in relation to the other Yaeyama Islands
|Location||Bordering the Pacific Ocean and East China Sea, southwest of mainland Japan and east of Taiwan|
|Area||289.27 km2 (111.69 sq mi)|
|Coastline||130.0 km (80.78 mi)|
|Highest elevation||469.5 m (1,540.4 ft)|
|Highest point||Mt. Komi (古見岳 Komi-dake)|
The Iriomote dialect of the Yaeyama language is spoken by some people on the island.
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.
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 ( ) 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.
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.
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.Dardanus megistos
Dardanus megistos, the white-spotted hermit crab or spotted hermit crab, is a species of hermit crab, living in reefs in the Indo-Pacific region from Africa to the South China Sea and Hawaii.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.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|
|Average high °C (°F)||20.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.3
|Average low °C (°F)||16.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||168.9
|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) |