During your stay on Iriomote island, a water buffalo with large circular horns can quickly take you across the sea to visit the botanical garden of Yubu island! It is great fun the first time and there is no way to get sea sick
Travel photo 1: Water buffalos ready to go to Yubu island.
Travel photo 2: Tourists crossing the sea in a cart pulled by a water buffalo
Travel photo 3: Iriomote island seen from behind a water buffalo!
During my autumnal trip in Okinawa, the driver even played an Okinawan musical instrument “sanshin” during the crossing Will you be that lucky too?
- Water buffalo = 水牛 (Suigyu).
- Iriomote island = 西表島 (Iriomote-jima), Yubu island = 由布島 (Yubu-jima).
- Okinawa prefecture = 沖縄県 (Okinawa-ken).
Read these silent prayers written on light wooden votive plaques “Ema” dancing with the wind this afternoon at the top of Kencho-ji Buddhist temple in Kamakura city, just beyond the stairs guarded by the statue of a tengu and numerous statues of karasu-tengu…
Prayer in Japanese: “くつやさんになれますように。” i.e. “May I become a shoemaker (shoe seller?).”, written in simple hiragana alphabet instead of difficult Chinese characters and signed by a young (?) Japanese boy.
Prayer in English: “My hope for 2014 is that my family and friends stay strong and healthy. I hope the woman I love finds happiness and learns to love again.” written by an anonymous foreigner (?).
Many other wishes were written on votive plaques decorated with a mythical tengu in blue robes holding a staff or with a Migawari-jizo-son (Jizo taking one’s pain and suffering in one’s stead).
May these touching/heart-warming wishes come true…
And You, what would You write on your “Ema” in Japan?
- Votive plaque = 絵馬 (Ema).
- Tengu = 天狗, Karasu-tengu = 烏天狗, Jizo = 地蔵, Migawari-jizo-son = 身代り地蔵尊.
- Kencho-ji = 建長寺, Kamakura city = 鎌倉市 (Kamakura-shi).
Active travellers with a guide can witness beautiful and exciting landscapes at Iriomote island’s jungle, as I did during my second stay in Okinawa in 2008. A helicopter tour would give you great views of the island but you would miss the unique sights of inner Japan enjoyed while canoeing or trekking in the jungle!
Ecotour photo 1: River partly covered by trees seen from a canoe.
Ecotour photo 2: First sight of Pinaisara waterfalls while canoeing.
Ecotour photo 3: River seen through dense foliage while trekking in the jungle.
Ecotour photo 4: Best panorama of Iriomote island from the top of Pinaisara waterfalls… See the top of the waterfalls, lively jungle, barely visible river, multi-coloured sea, and bright sky!
Ecotour photo 5: Sébastien Duval with a smile at the bottom of Pinaisara waterfalls after trekking.
Adventurers, nature lovers and travellers trying to find inner peace, your visit at Iriomote island may be your only chance to see such landscapes… Make the best of it!
- Iriomote island = 西表島 (Iriomote-jima), Okinawa prefecture = 沖縄県 (Okinawa-ken).
- Pinaisara waterfalls = ピナイサーラの滝 (Pinaisara-no-taki).