Japon & Taiwan

Japon & Taiwan

The Yaeyama Islands lie about halfway between Taiwan and Japan’s Okinawa Island—and they are an absolute haven for luxury yacht charter. They are officially part of Japan, but they feel a world away from civilization, almost like stepping inside of the Caribbean or South Pacific.

Ishigaki Island is the central island in the Yaeyama archipelago, and it is a lure for anyone who loves life on the sea. Its beaches are welcoming, and its coral reefs are beloved for encounters with dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. Rare blue corals are here too, in quantities believed to be the northern hemisphere’s largest. Not only scuba divers and snorkelers, but also surfers flock to Ishigaki Island to enjoy the scene above and below the water. Kayakers love Ishigaki for its lush mangroves, which are wonderful to explore throughout the Fukido River Basin. Ashore, the scenery is just as memorable, with pineapple and sugar cane fields spanning the view to a backdrop of the majestic, 526-meter-high Mount Omoto—which serious hikers adore, even despite the venomous pit vipers and leeches that require climbers to wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. As with everything in the Yaeyama Islands, nature dominates here with a sense of awe