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Learn all about Ryukyu culture with a day on Taketomi Island

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By Elizabeth Sok

Long before Okinawa and the surrounding islands were colonized by Japan in the 19th century, the Ryukyu Kingdom was an independent state that forged relationships with China, Taiwan and Japan, and had its own language and culture that were both distinct and influenced by its powerful neighbors. As a part of the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, Taketomi Island or Taketomijima is an effort to preserve Ryukyu culture.

Visitors to the island will see the characteristic red-tiled roofs which became emblematic of Ryukyu culture during the twentieth century and shisa, the mythological lion-like figures that stand guard on houses and buildings.

Activities in Taketomi

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Learn more about the island while on a water buffalo-drawn carriage. Image: PIXTA/ スカイウォーター

As you disembark, you’ll have a few options as to how to get around the island’s five square kilometers. At about six kilometers in length and taking around two hours to complete, the Taketomi Island Natural Education Walking Path is a great way to see the island at your own pace. Along the way, you’ll be able to hit up the most popular spots, including the Taketomi Folk Craft Museum, Taketomi Village, Kaiji and Kondoi Beaches, as well as bask in the beautiful nature Taketomi has to offer.

If hiking is not your cup of tea, how about a thirty-minute tour of the village and the surrounding area while being pulled by a water buffalo? Guides will give information about the island’s history and culture, and treat you to music played on the sanshin, a traditional Ryukyu instrument.

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

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Looks amazing. It's going on my list

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