Top Things To Do in Kumejima


HIGHLIGHTS

01 EEF BEACH
02 TATAMI-ISHI

03 SEA TURTLE CENTER
04 HIYAJO BANTA

05 TROPICAL FISH POOLS
06 MIIFUGAA ROCK AREA

07 TORI-NO-KUCHI
08 HATENOHAMA BEACH

Kumejima illustrated map of top eight things to do.

Kumejima is a small island located about 100 kilometers west of Naha, Okinawa and is definitely one of my favorite islands to get away to. Although quite small (you can literally drive from one end of the island to the other in under 40 minutes), there are tons of things to do on Kumejima. I highly recommend visiting if you love beautiful beaches, hiking, exploring tide pools, and sightseeing.


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how to get there

There are two ways you can get to Kumejima: by ferry or airplane. Originally we were going to ride the ferry from Tomari Port in Naha which would take 3.5 to 4 hours and 3,390 yen for a one way ticket.

Unfortunately we were in Naha right as a typhoon was passing through so the ferry wasn't in operation. Just to be safe, I would double check the ferry schedule the day you plan to depart to make sure everything is still on time. You can find the schedule here.

Luckily, we were able to book a flight the same day through JAL. There are usually multiple flights from Naha to Kumejima. The flight was super short, only 35 minutes, and probably ended up being the better option because we now had more time to explore.

Eef Beach Hotel

WHERE TO STAY

We were torn between two hotels while researching where to stay on Kumejima: Cypress Resort and Eef Beach Hotel. We decided on Eef Beach Hotel mostly because of the location: it’s right on Eef Beach, the neighborhood seemed like it had a lot of character, and it was closer to the areas we wanted to explore. If you’re looking for more of a resort type feel and want a good beach to snorkel at, then the Cypress is the way to go.

Eef Beach Hotel is about a 22 minute drive from the airport. The staff here were so accommodating and very friendly however most of them don't speak English so it helps to learn some basic Japanese. The breakfast buffet was very good and had a mix of Okinawan and Western cuisine as well as Kumejima specific dishes. Our room was pretty decent sized and we had a spectacular view of the beach and pool. I think the only downside was that the mattresses were VERY firm. Other than that, this hotel was awesome.


01 EEF BEACH

Selected as one of Japan's top 100 beaches, Eef Beach is definitely one not to miss. We visited at the end of October after a typhoon passed through so not too many people were there. The weather was on the cooler side but we still enjoyed walking along the white sandy beach collecting shells and wading through the calm, crystal blue water. There were pieces of plastic scattered throughout but one of the neat things about this area is that before the busy season starts, locals will actually get together and clean up the beach so that it’s pristine for visitors.

Eef Beach in Kumejima
Eef Beach sign
Eef beach
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02 TATAMI-ISHI ROCK FORMATION

Just a little ways north of Eef Beach is Tatami-ishi. This nationally designated natural monument is named after the close arrangement of traditional tatami mats. It was formed by the columnar jointing of andesite magma around six million years ago. It was so neat to walk around the pentagonal and hexagonal rocks especially since I had never seen anything like this before. The best time to visit is during low tide when the rocks are more exposed.

Tatami-ishi in Kumejima, Okinawa
Letters From Tina exploring Tatami-ishi in Kumejima, Okinawa
Tatami-ishi in Kumejima, Okinawa
Tatami-ishi in Kumejima, Okinawa

03 SEA TURTLE CENTER

Calling all sea turtle lovers: this place is for you. The Kumejima Sea Turtle Center was created with the mission to help educate people about sea turtles. This museum is pretty small and the entry fee is only 300 yen per person. Inside you can find a large tank where you can watch sea turtles swim, displays with hundreds of different kinds of sea shells and coral that are local to Okinawa, and some smaller tanks with three different kinds of sea turtles.

During peak times, I've read that you can even schedule a tour to pet and feed the sea turtles. That might be something to look into if you're visiting during the summer months when more people visit the island.

Kumejima Sea Turtle Center
Kumejima Sea Turtle Center

04 HIYAJO BANTA OBSERVATION DECK

The view from this observation deck was so incredible. In the distance we could see the beautiful blues of the ocean, coral reefs, and Hatenohama Beach. It was also SUPER windy while we were here so make sure to bring a light jacket with you. There’s a convenience store and tables nearby making this place a good break and/or picnic area.

Hiyajobanta Cliff in Kumejima, Okinawa

05 TROPICAL FISH POOLS

This place was hands down my favorite area on Kumejima. If you love marine life and exploring tide pools, then you’ll absolutely love Kumejima’s Tropical Fish Pools. We got super lucky this day because the sun decided to come out just as we parked our car. The rocks leading into the water were a little slippery but it was pretty easy to walk around and explore once we got into the water.

I definitely recommend wearing some sort of water shoes or sturdy sandals to give your feet a little more grip and padding since the rocks are a little rugged. Most of the water in this area is pretty shallow but make sure to watch your step since there are random crevices in-between the rocks where the water gets deeper.

These pools were filled with tons of tropical fish ranging from little electric blue fish to medium sized brown ones. We also saw a ton of sea anemone and purple sea urchin. Try to come here on a sunny day to see some of the most beautiful turquoise blue water. I'll definitely be bringing my snorkel gear the next time we visit.

Tropical Fish Pools in Kumejima, Okinawa
Tropical Fish Pools in Kumejima, Okinawa
Tropical Fish Pools in Kumejima, Okinawa
Tropical Fish Pools in Kumejima, Okinawa

06 MIIFUGAA ROCK AREA

Legend has it that women who prayed at this site would be blessed with children. I made sure to save my prayers for another day. This limestone and tuff breccia rock formation were cool to see but I think my favorite thing to explore was the surrounding area. In one of the larger tide pools we found a big crab just chilling by itself. The waves in this area are also really huge and fun to watch.

If you walk a little ways north from Miifugaa rock, you’ll find an area with enormous rugged rocks and shallow tide pools. The ground is covered in red and brown stone making it feel like we were on another planet. The tide pools here aren’t very deep and a good distance away from the crashing waves, making it a good place to take smaller children who love exploring.

Miifugaa Rock in Kumejima, Okinawa
Miifugaa Rock Area
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Letters From Tina exploring the Miifugaa rock area in Kumejima, Okinawa

07 TORI-NO-KUCHI (BIRD'S MOUTH ROCK)

Tori-no-Kuchi is a rock formation that, when viewed from the side, looks like the bill of a large bird. I personally think it looks more like a crab claw, but to each their own :) The entire area is part of the Tokujimu Nature Park. It’s a nice hike to get to Tori-no-Kuchi and the views along the way are beautiful.

We didn't make it all the way to rock because halfway through I noticed a huge spider web spanning the entire width of the path with a giant banana spider right smack in the middle of it. To put it lightly, I'm not a fan of spiders. Also once I noticed that banana spider, I started noticing even more in the trees and in the bushes as we were walking back to our car. So yeah, this area is beautiful but be prepared for spiders. 

Tori-no-Kuchi (Bird's Mouth Rock) in Kumejima, Okinawa
Tokujimu Nature Park in Kumejima, Okinawa
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08 HATENOHAMA BEACH

This uninhabited desert island is probably the deciding factor when most people decide to book a trip to Kumejima and for good reason. The only way to get there is by boat from the Tomari Fishing Port. We were able to book a ride from the activities counter at Eef Beach Hotel and a shuttle picked us up and took us to the port the following day.

During off-peak season, only one boat goes out once a day. During the more busy season, multiple boats travel back and forth to the island so you can choose how long you want to stay. It takes about 30 minutes to get there and we only had an hour to explore which went by SO fast.

We brought our snorkel gear with us to the island but it was pretty overcast that day. There is a designated section where you can snorkel and also a small hut to store your belongings. The only bathroom is a port-a-potty about a 5 minute walk in from the shore. There is no changing station or shower so make sure you’re prepared before hand.

About halfway into our visit, the sun decided to come out and with that so did the heat. Another thing to note is that there is no shade on the island. I can’t even begin to imagine how hot it can get during the summertime. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you when you visit.

We explored along the shore of the 7 kilometer-long beach and had fun walking in the crystal blue ocean. The best part was when we found a green shore crab (pictured below). This was definitely the perfect way to end our trip to Kumejima.

Hatenohama Beach in Kumejima, Okinawa
Hatenohama Beach in Kumejima, Okinawa
Hatenohama Beach in Kumejima, Okinawa
Hatenohama Ferry
Hatenohama Beach in Kumejima, Okinawa
Hatenohama Beach in Kumejima, Okinawa

Kumejima is a pretty small island but there's so many fun things to do and see. One of the things that we didn't get to do this time around but heard great things about is the Yajagama limestone cave. One of the locals told us about this cave and recommended bringing a head lamp and flashlight since it can get pretty dark.  

Thanks for reading and I hope this post helps you plan your trip to Kumejima. For those of you who have been, what were some of your favorite places? Let me know in the comment section below!

 

XO,

Tina