Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Kagoshima
Population
1,786,214

Yoron Island

Little island, big views: Scenic beaches blessed with Okinawa views and Kagoshima culture.

Clownfish swim about as your glass-bottom boat zips over Yoron’s pristine waters out to the “disappearing beach.” Ahhhh, heaven. 

Secluded sandbars accent the paradise life that awaits at Yoron Island, a beautifully remote part of southern Japan with white-sand beaches and a lively festival culture. Yoron is actually part of Kagoshima Prefecture, despite being 600 kilometers from Kagoshima City. Kagoshima is perhaps most well known outside of Japan for its UNESCO World Heritage Site on Yakushima island. Yakushima is renowned for its hiking, waterfalls and wildlife including deer and monkeys, however, Yoron Island is its more southern, relaxed counterpart.

Local island life

Located much closer to Japan’s main tropical getaway, Okinawa, than Kagoshima, the island makes a point to celebrate the many nuances of both cultures.

Yoron island, Kagoshima

Yoron Island boasts Yoron Blue.

As part of the Amami Island chain, Yoron is surrounded by coral reefs. Just 5,000 locals live in this subtropical climate that sees hot summers and mild winters. Another local vibe to the island is that the native language is known as “Yunnu Futuba,” according to the Yoron Island Tourism Association. While it is close to Japanese, it actually contains a larger range of sounds.

Yurigahama Beach

Yoron Island boasts unreal shorelines with over 60 beaches surrounded by turquoise waters. One of the top reasons Yoron sees visitors is because of its beach that famously disappears — making for one of the most #blessed-able Instagram posts ever. Yurigahama Beach is a unique and enticing reason to make the trek out to this remote island in the East China Sea. Its marine life is ripe for scuba diving and Yoron can accommodate any level of scuba diver.

Yurigahama Beach, Kagoshima.

Photo by: ©Kagoshima Prefectural Tourist Federation/©JNTO Yurigahama Beach, Kagoshima.

Attractions and events

Of course, this is a beachy paradise, but it has a rich history, too. One attraction is The Southern Cross Center, which is the island’s museum. Learn about its unique star-shaped sand granules present on the island, its agriculture and the history of the Amami Islands. Plus, check out some traditional costumes from Yoron’s festivals, including its awesome Full Moon Festival.

The Yoron Minzokumura (Folk Village) is a traditional village where you can witness farming tools and other household items from years’ past. Get crafty with a few workshops for fabric making and kusakizome (color dying), and learn about making brown sugar from sugarcane. Please keep in mind that guides and workshops here are currently only in Japanese.

Yoron island, Kagoshima

Photo by: takayuki_makiyama Yoron’s beautiful marine life.

The islanders have the Jyu-go-ya (Full Moon Festival) not once but three times a year in March, August and December where they pray for a good harvest and do traditional dances in the Ryukyu (Okinawan) and Kagoshima styles.

Yet another surprise hidden on this small island is its sumo wrestling matches. Though they are with students from around the islands (not professionals), visitors can watch in October at the culmination of the harvest festival. Last, to celebrate the coral found all over the island, check out the Sango Matsuri (Coral Festival) every August.

Food

All in all, the island offers about 30 places to eat, with different menus on hand. English is limited but the staff is accommodating, and that is part of the adventure anyway! One of the most surprising features of the island is its white-walled Greek Village. It’s less a village and more a building, but it has a great view of the ocean and you can grab pizza and visit the local cafe here. (Some English is spoken by a few staff here.)

Know before you go

Transport on the island is decent, though there are no trains. However, you can get around daily via public bus, taxi, or by renting a car, moped or bicycle, as long as you have the proper driving credentials. You can also rent boats to do various attractions around the beautiful island.

The drawback to this island is that it is going to be expensive to get to unless you are already in southern Japan, but that’s all part of the adventure…

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Things To Know

Yoron Sightseeing Center

Get more info and maps. Some English is spoken by some of the staff. Tel. 0997-97-5151). The center is right next to Yoron Town Office.

The Southern Cross Center

Tel. 0997-97-3396 Entrance fee is ¥300 for adults and ¥150 for children. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Yoron Minzokumura (Folk Village)

Tel. 0997-97-2934(Japanese language only)Website: http://www.minzokumura.jp

How To Get There

Address

Yoron Island, Yoron, Oshima District, Kagoshima, Japan

By bus

The island does have a public bus that runs daily.

Northbound buses leave Chabana at 7:30/9:30/10:30/13:00/15:30

Southbound buses leave Chabana at 8:30/11:30/14:30/16:40/17:40

By car

While the easiest way to get around is renting a car, that might not always be an option. The island has two taxi services: Minami Taxi (tel. 97-3331) or Taiyo Taxi (tel. 97-2161).

By plane

Yoron Airport is a small airport quite close to the ferry port serviced by Japan Air Lines from Tokyo. Ryuku Air Commuter flies to and from Naha Airport in Okinawa and Japan Air Commuter services Kagoshima and Okinoerabu Airports.

By boat

There are two companies (A-Line Ferries and Marixline Ferries) servicing the Kagoshima – Okinawa ferry route. Both routes provide access to Yoron. The companies alternate the days they sail and both sailing experiences are very similar. The companies only provide one ferry per day in each direction, so please check schedule times carefully.

Where To Stay

Minshuku Myojoso
  • 1659-2 Mugiya Yoron-cho Kagoshima Oshima-Gun Yoron-Cho, Kagoshima 891-9306
  • 6.8/10
  • 1.7 km
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Hoshizunaso
  • Higashi-ku 616-3 Oshima-Gun Yoron-Cho, Kagoshima 891-9306
  • 7.8/10
  • 2.1 km
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Pricia Resort Yoron
  • Riccho 358-1 Oshima-Gun Yoron-Cho, Kagoshima 891-9302
  • 7.7/10
  • 3.5 km
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Oku Yanbaru no Sato
  • Oku1280-1 Kunigami-Gun-Kunigami-Son, Okinawa 905-1501
  • 8.8/10
  • 27.0 km
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