Taketomi Island ("Prosperous Bamboo") in the Yaeyama chain of islands in Okinawa attempts to preserve Ryukyu (Okinawan) culture. The 7km long by 2km wide island with a population of 300, one third of whom is over 70, has no need for convenience stores.
The inhabitants still sweep the streets outside their own homes keeping the beautiful island in pristine condition, despite the daily influx of hundreds of day-trippers from the mainland via nearby Ishigaki.
The main village of Taketomi has beautiful, walled bungalow-style homes with terracotta-tiled roofs, topped with the ubiquitous shisa. The rocky walls surrounding the houses are alive with colorful bougainvillea and hibiscus plants.
Taketomi-jima is known for its beautiful beaches, hoshizuna star sand, aquamarine sea, water buffalo carts (suigyusha), butterflies and the local minsa, an indigo fabric used in kimono obi (belts).
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