Cultural walk in Iriomote island

Taketomi, Yaeyama-gun, Japan

Experience hosted by Karolina

  1. 3 hours
  2. Hosted in English
Magical setting
Guests love where this takes place.
Super storytelling
Guests say this Host tells great stories.

What you'll do

This is a unique English-speaking tour devoted to the fascinating culture of Iriomote and the Yaeyama Islands. We will have a walk through one of the oldest villages in Iriomote island, Sonai village, and its historical places including a traditional Okinawan house and a shrine. During the walk, I will introduce you to the history and religion of Iriomote island. I will share some distinctive facts on local people's way of living and worship. Iriomote is not only beautiful nature. A secret tradition is still alive that most tourists are not aware of.
After the easy-paced walk, we will enjoy a refreshing sip of local herbal tea and a snack with an amazing view of the ocean. We will watch videos from local events, listen to original songs, and touch a banana thread that traditional clothes are made of.
This is a unique English-speaking tour devoted to the fascinating culture of Iriomote and the Yaeyama Islands. We will have a walk through one of the oldest villages in Iriomote island, Sonai village, and its historical places including a traditional Okinawan house and a shrine. During the walk, I will introduce you to the history and religion of Iriomote island. I will share some distinctive facts on local people's way of living and worship. Iri…

What's included

  • Drinks
    After the tour, we will rest in the shadow by the beach to enjoy a local sp...
  • Equipment
    I'll have photographs and drawings to better explain the customs and histor...

Meet your Host, Karolina

Host on Airbnb since 2015
  • 18 Reviews
  • Identity verified
I am a professional artist doing research in Yaeyama culture and religion for more than 5 years. I take photographs and interviews with local people. I'm living in Hoshidate village, one of the oldest villages on Iriomote island. I will share with you unique knowledge about local customs, religion, rituals, festivals, and history that not many people have. I've participated myself in many religious celebrations, public and private ones, and interviewed local and elderly people who shared with me first-hand knowledge about Iriomote islanders life. During our walk through the Sonai village, I will introduce you to traditional and historical places and talk about fascinating local customs and indigenous culture, and the history of this special island.
I am a professional artist doing research in Yaeyama culture and religion for more than 5 years. I take photographs and interviews with local people. I'm living in Hoshidate village, one of the oldest villages on Iriomote island. I will share with you unique knowledge about local customs, religion, rituals, festivals, and history that not many people have. I've participated myself in many religious celebrations, public and private ones, and interviewed local and elderly people who shared with me…
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From $49/ person

$49 per person
$49 per person
$49 per person

Where you'll be

Sonai village is surrounded by an amazingly beautiful ocean and tiny islands. People live here for 500 years cultivating rice. There are still many indigenous locals growing rice and living according to nature. They celebrate many important religious events, singing unique songs in the language only spoken in Iriomote. There are several shrines and many historical places. One of the jewels is a well-preserved traditional thatched roof house.

Rated 4.94 out of 5 from 18 reviews.

Paola
March 2021
Iriomote Jima is a really magical location and my favourite Okinawan island, not only for its surprisingly (large) size, but for its extraordinary culture, its flora and fauna. So against this amazing backdrop comes this really excellent cultural experience. The host is extremely knowledgeable, kind, and a lot of fun to be with. Karolina has entered deeply into the culture of Iriomote-Jima, and her interest and passion fuels her continued research, the fruits of which she passes on to her fortunate guests ! It is not an easy matter to arrive at a new place - anywhere in the world - and to immediately gain an insight into the culture, and especially in English or another European language. These are not things you can learn from a tourist guide book. If you are considering a visit to Iriomote in the future, it would be wise to contact Karolina in advance, so that you might be fortunate enough to be here for one of the special feast days / ceremonies. Naturally, these are in-frequent, and so you would have to schedule carefully. I was able to see some video of these ceremonies. I cannot thank Karolina enough for her diligence and kindness. I will certainly be coming back.
Aisha
January 2021
I had a really good time with Karolina. Her guidance of the region, and the tradition of Iriomote was very clear and informative. Not only the guidance itself, but also her personality was so sweet :) I also loved the tea time at then end. Recommend to anyone !
Shay
December 2020
We had a great experience with Karolina. She told us all about the religious and cultural history of Iriomote. She had some great stories and shared some local tea with us. We had a great time.
Juliette
October 2020
It was so nice to be introduced to so much history and culture on your island. I especially appreciate the info on Akiko Ishigaki. I hope to return to see you and hopefully meet and interview Akiko Ishigaki. Thank you again.
Anand
October 2020
Wonderful learning experience on the culture and traditions of this magical island. Karolina has immense knowledge and also shared her past experiences followed by a tea session at her residence. She also showed us some her self composed art work as well as stunning photographs of the island. Highly recommend if you’re looking for an English Speaking well experienced and friendly person. PS: She also took us to see the Mangroves since we had some extra time.
Randiah
August 2020
Karolina was wonderful. She is very friendly and knowledgeable about the Ryukyu culture as well as aspects specific to Iriomote. Perfect for history/culture lovers, just be aware that the island itself is not very touristy; many things close early and getting around is a slight challenge. Nothing to do with Karolina, so if you are already planning a trip to Iriomote and want to learn more about the local culture, don’t think twice about booking her tour.

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Things to know

Cancellation policy

Cancel up to 7 days before the Experience start time for a full refund, or within 24 hours of booking as long as the booking is made more than 48 hours before the start time.

Guest requirements

Up to 6 guests of all ages can attend.