handy info

Pick up

Pick up and drop off by car is limited to 3 persons. You can bring a luggage. For larger group, please, use a ferry shuttle bus (only Anei Kanko ferry) or public bus. We will adjust the tour time to the bus schedule for your convenience.

If you are staying in Iriomote island: pick up and drop off at your accommodation or point of choice (restaurant, beach). Limited to the West side area between Shirahama and Uehara/Funaura. Staying in the East side area: I cannot pick you up as the distance is too long. Please, use a rent-a-car or public bus.

Coming from Ishigaki island: the pick up/drop off will be at the Uehara port.

You can also come by a rented car. There is a free parking lot on the left of the meeting point, which is Marumabonsan monument in Sonai village (まるまぼんさん)

Coming from Ishigaki

You are welcome to make a day tour from Ishigaki island. 

 

To be able to go back on the same day, choose the morning tour. It starts at 9:30, right after you arrive to Uehara port (boarding time in Ishigaki ferry port is 8:30).

Please, come to Uehara port and preferably use Anei Kanko ferry company. Only Anei Kanko offers a free shuttle bus in case of Uehara port not operating due to bad weather conditions. 

Also if you are a group of more than 3 people, I will kindly ask you to use the free shuttle bus to come to Sonai village, where we meet. For groups up to 3 people, I will come to pick you up by car. I can drop you off back at Uehara port or at another point if you have time. You can then use a free shuttle bus to go back to the port (only if you purchased a return ticket from Anei Kanko ferry company). To get a bus ticket, simply ask for it at the counter in Ishigaki port while buying the ferry ticket.

There is no need to buy the ferry ticket in advance or online as there is never a shortage of ferry tickets. You can buy the tickets directly at Ishigaki port before boarding.

Please, mind, that it is not possible to pick you up from Ohara port.

Ferry schedule

Ferry schedule changes several times a year. 

上原=Uehara 大原=Ohara 石垣=Ishigaki

Below you can find daily flight status and schedule:

Anei kanko schedule Ishigaki-Uehara:

From Ishigaki: 7:10 / 8:30 / 13:30 / 15:20 / 16:40

From Uehara: 8:10 / 9:30 /14:30 /16:30 / 17:40

When Uehara port is closed

Sometimes due to weather conditions, particulary wind, the Uehara port operation is suspended. That often happens in winter time. 

Do not worry.

The ferry will go to Ohara port. It is located in the South where winds are always milder. 

 

You still need to buy the ferry ticket to Uehara and only from Anei Kanko. It is very important, as only this way you can board a free shuttle bus that will take you to Uehara port. You cannot buy a bus ticket after you come with the other ferry company. I cannot pick you from Ohara because of the distance. 

It takes around one hour to arrive to Uehara port from Ohara. 

We will adjust the tour schedule, both start and finish, so you can board the free shuttle bus back to Ohara.

 

Please, get the bus ticket either at the counter in Ishigaki ferry port or when boarding the ferry. Say: bus Uehara, they will understand. It is free of charge. 

Sometimes the staff in Ishigaki ferry port will not speak well English and insist that you can only buy ticket to Ohara. Be firm and inform them that you have to get to Uehara port by bus (repeat: bus Uehara). 

 

The suspended operation is announced usually on the same day around 6:00 in the morning on the ferry company website here.

Local transport

There are no taxis in the West side of Iriomote, where the tour takes place.

There is very limited public transportation. One public bus operates only 4 times a day. You can find the schedule below:

Tip: You need to wave to the bus to stop it while at the bus stop. Tickets: buy inside the bus directly from a driver. You can pay with cash or credit card (except mastercard)

Food

Most restaurants and cafes are open between 11:00-14:00 and 18:00-21:00. 

We can stop by a local shop during the pick-up. You can buy and eat a lunch box or snack during the tea break. Or bring your own. There are lunch boxes and snacks available in Ishigaki port.
 I can also drop you off at the restaurant after the tour if there is an open one at the time we finish the tour.

I highly recommend planning your lunch ahead as after the morning tour it is difficult to find open restaurants, and lunch boxes in local shops are sold out.

Iriomote island

Iriomote island is a third biggest island in Okinawa prefecture. 90% is uninhabited and covered by mountains and forests.


It is unoficially divided to two areas: West and East (which on a map looks more like North and South). Accordingly there are two ferry ports: Uehara in the West side and Ohara in the East side. The distance between those two is quite large and it takes 1 hour driving. Sonai and Hoshidate villages, where the tour takes place are in the West side. 

 

Tourism started in the 90s of the last century, so, please, forgive it is yet a remote place with some limitations. Thanks to them we can still enjoy pristine beauty of nature and wildlife.

Iriomote handy facts

Nature tours and rent-a-cars are usually fully booked in the summer or Golden Week. In those high seasons it is advised to book the car or nature tour minimum 3 weeks in advance.

Public transport is limited to one bus and there are no taxis in the West side area. Please, see the additonal information in Public transport chapter.

No combinis! Local shops usually are open to 20:00 or 21:00. After that time you can buy drinks in the vending machines and beer at your hotel.

ATMs are located only in the post offices (one in Sonai village and one in Ohara). They are open between 9:00 to 19:00.

You can use credit cards in the supermarkets and some restaurants. Some other restaurants or cafe’s use only cash.

There are only food stores in Iriomote (and tool shop) with a limited asortiment. They do not sell clothes (beside souvenir t-shirts) and choice of cosmetics is very limited (especially sunscreens are sold in a tiny bottles for a high price).

Sun is very strong due to the latitude and there are many mosquitos everywhere. You can buy mosquito spray and coils in local shops

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