A small, sub-tropical isle, Yonaguni is the westernmost inhabited island in the Yaeyama chain whose waters are home to the sunken Yonaguni Monument – an underwater rock formation that’s origin is a subject of ongoing debate.
Fully submerged, the 18-meter-high stone structure appears at first glance to be made up of steps, platforms, pillars and trenches. It’s the shapes, angles and patterns of these stone arrangements which have convinced many people that they are man-made – or, at least, not natural – indicating the existence of a lost ancient society.
Nicknamed ‘Submarine Ruins’ by locals, the stones are thought to pre-date the Egyptian pyramids and may have been part of the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom, though others believe they’re simply a natural phenomenon and the chance result of erosion and earthquakes.
Whatever the answer to the mystery, Yonaguni Monument is one of the world’s great dives sites – which is exactly how the great stone formation was discovered by Kihachiro Aratake. Giant platform-like rocks and huge corridors combined with rich marine life (including hammerhead sharks, turtles and manta rays, and WWII wrecks), contribute to making this island region near to Okinawa Japan’s favorite dive destination.
As well as its superb and mysterious underwater landscapes, the serene island is also renowned for its pleasant climate with temperatures rarely dropping below 60F (15C) during the mild summers and seldom exceeding 88F (32C).
The un-crowded beaches are idyllic for those sun seekers who like to relax and anyone looking for a place to switch off from work can delight in the complete lack of broadband Internet and net cafés. Remote isn’t the word for this scenic piece of paradise – the end of the earth could be more applicable!
Our expert Backyard Travel Specialists based in Kyoto and Tokyo offer a wealth of information and up-to-date Japan travel options including tours to remote islands like Okinawa and Yonaguni. If you’d like to consult with them for their expert opinions, be sure to get in touch now or make an inquiry.