Beautiful Iriomote Island is one of the most remote spots in the Japanese archipelago. Not a lot has changed on the island in recent decades, and 90 percent of it remains blanketed in jungle and mangrove forest, the abode of the rare Iriomote wildcat. While the interior of the island, the second largest of the Okinawa Islands, can be explored via kayak, riverboat or trek, the main draw for most of the island’s visitors are the colorful reefs covered in virgin coral that ring the island.
Snorkelers and divers who explore beneath the surface near Iriomote might spot dolphins and manta rays, who school along the aptly named Manta Way during the spring and summer.
Iriomote Island is accessible via high-speed ferry service from Ishigaki Island, located about 12 miles (20 kilometers) away. Many of the island’s resorts and lodges offer free transportation to and from the port.