Editor’s Note: Yoron Island was originally written about here on Okinawa Hai on June 5, 2009; you can read a PDF copy of that original review HERE. The post below is an updated take on this attraction, published August 31, 2016.
If you like to get away from bustling busy city life to beautiful beaches and excellent diving spots, then Yoron Island of Kagoshima Prefecture is just the right place for you. Yoron Island is a three-hour ferry ride away from Motobu Port of Okinawa Prefecture. The ferry ride costs around 2960 Yen for return from Okinawa to Yoron. Each passenger is provided with a futon, box pillow, and a blanket.
We stayed in Takemaru guesthouse for our one-week gateway in Yoron. It is spacious and comfortable guesthouse which houses both Japanese and Western style rooms. The owner of the guesthouse is quite friendly and nice. Guests are provided with bath towels and other amenities such as razors, toothbrush, etc.
A trip to Yoron would not be complete without a visit to the well-known star sand, sandbank, which is located a few meters from Yurigahama Beach. The sandbank appears during the low tide and is only accessible for few hours before the next high tide kicks in. From Yurigahama Beach, you can pay 1000 Yen each and get a ride in a banana boat or jet ski to the famous star sand beach. After sifting through the sand, we were lucky enough to see sand grains shaped like stars. The locals believe that collecting star sand grains based on your age is a token of good luck. If sifting through sand and looking for stars is not your thing, you can easily purchase souvenirs with star sand on them from various souvenir shops on the island.
Yoron Island has a rich history and culture which is a mixture of both Okinawa and Mainland Japan. We were lucky enough to enjoy the summer festival in Yoron where locals of all ages gather, sing and dance.
Another highlight of our trip is the wonderful dives we got to do in Yoron. The island is surrounded by pristine beaches and healthy coral reefs which house numerous types of fish to reef sharks. One of the well-known dive operators in Yoron is Buku divers. 2 boat dives cost up to 12000 Yen from them.
Overall, we had an amazing week in Yoron and it is a trip not to be missed if you plan to visit Okinawa. The island is quite and peaceful with the friendliest locals you will meet with beautiful beaches in every corner. The whole island can be explored in a car within a day.
Helpful links for your stay:
Pricia Resort and phone: 0997-97-5060
ITT Website with links to affiliated hotels and phone: 098-959-4322
Omega Travel phone: 646-3502
Motobu Port Address: 5235, Aza-Sakimotobu,Motobu Town,Kunigami-gun,Okinawa Prefecture,905-0225
Yoron Island GPS Coordinates: 27.3688889, 128.5666667
Okinawa dreaming again… Upon return to Okinawa in 2005, first thing I did was book a slow ferry to Yoron Island to celebrate 25 years of marrage with my beatiful wife, and get away from our 6 beautiful children. We created many wonderful memories, the ride over and back, hotel, stunning beaches, food, and to our suprize not many people were there. We found a priviate beach that was so awesome, white sand, beautiful rock formations and a small cave for shade as we layed around and watched the ocean and clouds. Went snorkling, water was around 75 degrees F, and crystal clear…PERFECT! Yhe island has Greek influence from many years ago, so there are giant mythical statues in places, which made great photo shoots. We braought the infamous star sand back with memories that will last a lifetime… As you can tell, when we return for our 3rd tour (hopefully in early 2013, Lord willing) you know the first thing I am going to do… There are MANY beautiful island in the Ryukyu chain to include Okinawa, but Yoron is like going back in time a few years… I have many photos of the ten years we lived on Okinawa, so plesae contact me if there are any questions.. dan
Hi Dan, Could you give info on dinner selections and any other advice you have. We are headed there soon!
I was wondering how much it was to bring your car on the ferry to the island? Also we have a child who will be 2 in june so trying to see if bringing our car is an option due to getting toys and items to the island compared to bringing them in suitcases on the ferry.
i just travel through japan and plan to arrive in kagoshima by next week where i like to take the aline ferry to okinawa. i have 4, 5, max 6 days before i have to return back to kagoshima. i like t
to know what i should see on the way. i considered yoron. you think is a good choice? what to do once on ominawa? i travel alone, rely on public transport and it is february. really look for suggestion to make the best out of this trip. thank you!
We spent the Labor Day weekend at Yoron and loved it. We took the boat tour to the sandbar but the tide wasn’t low enough and the water was about chest deep. We did get a handfull of sand and when we sifted through it, found about 10-15 grains of starsand. We also rode the electric bikes around town. way worth the extra 200 yen per hour for electric. It was so good, we’re thinking about buying a couple before heading back stateside.
Hello,My name is moco.I’m Japanese and my birthplace is Yoron island.
I watched your wonderful trip in Yoron.Pictures are very nice!I’m ipmpressed from them,Thank you so much.I’ll go to Yoron Island on 12th Audust to 17th August.
I’ll meet my aunt who’s 97years old!Toutuganashi(Yoron’s dialect”Thank you”)
Im trying to decide if we should have Pricia’s dinner included in our tickets. Is this the best idea or is there a decent selection of other good places to eat? We don’t have a real taste for a lot of the usual okinawan foods.
Thanks Babs – I’ve changed the broken link to the ITT webpage, from which you can link to the information about Yoron Island.
The link to ITT is broken.
I just came from a three day stay at the Pricia Resort. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay while I was there. I took the snorkel tour that brought us out to where the water is about 15-20 feet deep and snorkled for about 45 minutes (they supplied the life jackets, mask/snorkel, and fins. It was so much fun. I recommend bringing your own snorkel gear if you are easily icked by using borrowed ones. They then took us out to the sand bar were we searched for “star sand” (self explanatory). I brought home a big ziploc of sand home so my children could search for their own star sand later. At the sand bar, the water was crystal clear. It looked like a pool of bottled water (I could have stayed all day in that spot alone). My room was clean (I stayed in the smaller blue and white cottage). The food was good (I stuck with the seafood pasta at lunch time-delicious). The island is small and there is more to do in the water than out of it so just keep that in mind if planning a family vacation with little ones although I did see a few keiki running around with their parents.
I can’t say exactly how much the resort was since we bought the package tour including transportation from Foster to the port, the ferry, and breakfast and dinner options. For all that last summer, it was about $275 per person for two nights stay.
Great first post Mary! I think you are going to be a wonderful addition to the OkianwaHai family. Thanks!
WOW! Loved this post and immediately forwarded it to my DH at work, so he can give me the dates he’s available. We are sooooooooo”there”. One question. Can you give me an idea about the price for this resort. Sure enjoyed your writing Mary.
Just a quick correction. Thanks Mary for writing about Yoron Island. the phone # 646-3502 that is here is for MCCS Tours Plus, website is mccsokinawa.com, not for Omega Travel. Omega Travel sells airlines tickets whereas Tours Plus does on-island, off-island and international group tours. Kadena ITT does too. We have also been to Yoron Island & Ie Island. Both are great weekend getaways. Kudos for sharing your adventure, Mary.
Love your post and your writing. Sounds like a fun getaway. And yes on the beer and sizzling meat.
Yay Mary for your first post! Actually, my husband and I spent a weekend here in November of 2008. My impression of the resort was it was a bit run down, but still nice and clean all the same. We stayed in one of the beach condos (colored white and green). We had a nice jacuzzi bath in the fenced in backyard area. Yoron is definitely a lovely retreat from the busy life of mainland Okinawa.
We saw lots of families there with small kids as well as older. We saw moms traveling alone with children, and we encountered a bunch of rowdy hash harriers! The resort seemed equipped for everyone!
If I remember correctly, it also had a kiddie pool. oh, I forgot to mention that the buffet breakfast in the morning was good too.
No baby area on the ferry, but it’s a big sleeping area so you can easily spread out and find your own space…
Wow, this looks amazing! My daughter would love it….but I have a bad feeling my toddler son would torture everyone in the sleeping area. Was there a baby room on the ferry by any chance?
Looks like fun!!!!!! Thanks for the great info!
This looks like a great weekend getaway! From what you saw, how family-friendly of a trip would this be? Do you think it would be a challenge for parents with little ones? Is this a better destination for singles and couples, or those with teens?