Okinawa Triple Island Day Tour: Iriomote, Yubujima and Taketomi from Ishigaki reviews, Ishigaki/Yaeyama tours & activities, fun things to do in Ishigaki/Yaeyama | VELTRA

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Okinawa Triple Island Day Tour: Iriomote, Yubujima and Taketomi from Ishigaki

Overall Rating

4.42 4.42 / 5

Reviews

373 reviews
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Mostly a good experience

Reviewed by: Pat 2065, 2020/02/17

We neither speak nor read Japanese, but except for the last bit it was not a problem. Ishigaki Dream Tour staff was always easy to find and were clear about what we should do. The tour and the islands were very interesting. We were given an English audio commentary but this was difficult to hear over the guide's commentary.

On the down side, our booking stated that our tour was a maximum of 10 participants. However, multiple tours were combined which meant that there were always more than10 and often about 80 people in our 'group' at any stage.

The boat across between islands was excellent, loading & unloading efficient, and the lunch at Yobu Island was good. Both Yobu and Iriomote were excellent.

Taketomi Is is also very beautiful but our experience was not so good. When on-line booking we had understood we would choose one of a bicycle ride, water buffalo cart ride or glass bottom boat for our time on Taketomi Island. Apparently we should have chosen two of three options but understood we would do this on arrival at Taketomi. When we checked in we were told two choices had been made - the glass bottom boat and the water buffalo cart. The the bike was no longer an option; instead there was a bus trip to the beaches. We initially agreed to buffalo cart at the counter but then thought the bus to the beaches would have been better We were then told that the bus was full.

The glass bottom boat was fine but the buffalo cart not great. The rides are provided by an external provider we were directed to by IDT staff. The cart provider gave us a ticket and said to wait until called. Despite telling the staff that were near departure time we were not allocated a cart until 15 minutes before the bus was leaving. The driver was OK but the buffalo was unwilling and seemed in pain. This concerned us during the trip and we had to dash for the bus which was over-full. We made the boat but uncertainty did not help the experience.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2020/02/15
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Three in one!

Reviewed by: Marie, 2020/02/09

Initially we wanted to go to Iriomote and Taketomi ourselves, but just the ferry rides are expensive, so this tour was a perfect deal for us. Not only did it take us to 3 islands, it also included activities and lunch. We got to ride buffalo cart twice, accompanied by lovely shamisen playing and singing performance by the driver. Yubu had a tropical garden, including beautiful butterfly enclosure, and we had 1.5 hr for lunch and discovering the island. We also saw the mangrove in Iriomote. It was rather cloudy, and it seems like the places would be way more attractive on a sunny day, but I am still happy with my experience.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2020/02/09
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Well organized and Excellent one day trip

Reviewed by: Prad, 2020/01/07

We enjoyed the tour alot specifically the mangrove cruise in iriomote and the water buffalo cart ride at yubujima and would recommend the tour for:
* Well organized tour with time allotment for each island is enough to explore the place and try the local food.
* Suitable for visitors with having only few days stay in ishigakijima.
* Lunch Box with local delicious food.
* Local guide provides the information thoroughly in Japanese also they try to make your trip memorable by singing local songs, providing the detailed information etc.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2020/01/05
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Rewarding Yaeyama Islands Day Trip

Reviewed by: NatC, 2019/11/19

Our initial concerns about not being able to speak Japanese were unfounded as we were given copious written material throughout the trip regarding the day's program and logistics. Friendly local staff at the various attractions were always on hand to point us in the right direction.

Assuming that much of the local guides' commentaries contained at least some standard information, the provided audio guide (English) was adequate but could be improved by being more comprehensive. The Japanese-speaking participants seemed enthralled by the guides' stories and we felt like we were missing out on fun facts at times.

The hotel shuttle van was prompt and transportation throughout the day was well organised despite the large numbers of participants. Lunch was a lovely homely bento box of Okinawan eats which was well received.

The mangrove cruise on Iriomote, water buffalo cart rides to/from Yubujima, "star sands" Kaiji beach and quaint little village on Taketomi were all highlights that made this a varied and thoroughly enjoyable itinerary.

Rating:
Attended as:Families
Activity Date:2019/11/12
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Great Experience!

Reviewed by: Koh, 2019/11/07

What a great experience with the 3-island tour!

The whole day was well organized making sure we were taken care of.
Since we didn’t speak Japanese, we were given a mobile audio guide that tells us a bit about each of the spots we go past. Our names were also written on the checklists for the buses and ferry rides so we didn’t feel lost throughout the day.

A particular highlight was the buffalo cart ride across the river as our buffalo slowly walked us across the river, and it even included a little singing from the buffalo cart rider!

The whole day felt very leisurely as we travelled through the islands, looking at the peace and serenity and how people lived. The provided lunch was also a very special experience. The bento box felt very homemade, local, simple, yet it was delicious and satisfying. I would’ve had two of them if they let me!

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2019/10/30
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Satisfying!

Reviewed by: H Chow, 2019/10/03

Overall experience was very well planned out. Before the tour, the tour company in the counter gave us a few papers with our itinerary on it (in english) with the timings so we knew what to expect. The ferry was very on time and the 3 islands we visited we beautiful. We were able to cover more than 5 activities during this tour including visiting the mangrove in Iriomote, sitting on the buffalo cart ride from Iriomote & Yubujima, touring Yubujima island with some free time to ourselves (lunch was delicious!) and finally, exploring Taketomi. Taketomi was beautiful and you are guided by tour guides the entire experience from start to end. The tour is very family friendly.

I will definitely recommend this trip to future tourists to join this especially if you would want a teaser of all of the islands before going again to visit one or another for an entire day.

Improvements:
- The audio guide provided from the tour counter was had an english option but it would be great if we could have more sentences. Our audio guide only had 3-4 sentences for each location we went to.
- A lot of times the tours were in Japanese so you are unable to figure out what they are saying. Maybe in the future, they could hire one english tour guide to bring the english speaking tourists around
- Taketomi island was beautiful and I wish I had more time to bike around and/or have more time exploring. We could take the time we spent at Yubujima at Taketomi

Overall:
- Everyone was very friendly and although most of the tour guides were Japanese, they would make sure to hand papers with english translation about the island
- Covered the 3 islands in a full day trip
- Helpful staff
- You are able to experience the culture by being around the local people who live on the 3 islands although you can't understand what they are saying
- The buffalo cart experience is very memorable - must go!
- Staff is also very funny
- Definitely try the local snacks such as ice cream & others!

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2019/09/28
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Island hopping

Reviewed by: Marlon, 2019/09/04

All is well organized from check in up to the end of the tour. Our favorite part is the boat cruise through lush mangrove forests of Iriomote island. Multilingual audio guide was provided which is enough for us to enjoy the whole tour. Time allotment for each stop is enough to see and explore the place. Suitable for visitors staying Ishigaki for few days.

  • Water buffalo cart ride

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2019/08/31
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Compact tour covering 3 islands

Reviewed by: StephY, 2019/08/12

We were given the audio guides and comprehensive instructions in English on the itinerary of the day before we set off. However it might be good if the guides on site could let us know when we reach the location for the specific explanation. The mangrove boat ride was wonderful but the audio guides were very basic and not as comprehensive as the guide’s explanation. The guides were good at organizing the big groups with diffferenf itinerary when we reached Taketomi. However I had wished those with lunch included in the package were set off first on the buffalo ride to Yubujima as we were left with very little time to explore Yubujima being the last group to set off.
The buffalo ride was pleasant and lunch was a meal including various Okinawan flavors.
The guide at Taketomi was very kind, he used some basic English to explain how the star sands were formed and where to find it. The second buffalo ride around the residential community in Taketomi is a different experience from the first one at Yubujima as this time the buffalo had to maneuver more corners but it was interesting to see how they naturally knew when to turn without instructions.
I find the cost for this tour a little expensive, and the audio guide does not have enough content to help appreciate the beauty of the 3 islands.

  • Lunch

  • Buffalo ride at Yubujima

  • Mangrove at Iriomote

Rating:
Attended as:Friends
Activity Date:2019/07/31
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Tour with amazing tour guide!

Reviewed by: Mr. Loo, 2019/07/15

Great experience in all the 3 Island visit.
Tour guides take care of you well and make sure your experience is optimised.
Logistics is well organized. A friendly staff checked us in and explained the itinerary in details and map and tickets clearly.
However, Japanese translation is not well-established at this stage, look forward to having more English explanation in general.
It would also have been better if we had more free time to explore the beaches at Taketomi Island (because it is so beautiful!).
Buffalo cart experience was fun and interesting, with the staff singing traditional Okinawan songs along the way.
Food was good.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2019/07/14
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Good authentic experience touring islands of Ishigaki but non-japanese (Mandarin & English) audio guide could be improved as current system is rather inadequate.

Reviewed by: Caleb, 2019/07/02

Had a good overall experience exploring Taketomi Island, Yubujima Island & Iriomote Island. Clear and simple instructions given throughout the tour. There wasn't a personal tour guide attached to every group but there were sufficient staff members placed throughout the entire journey to ensure smooth transitions during the tour.

Personally found the Water Buffalo Cart Rides to Yubujima Island and within Taketomi Village very interesting. Experience would have been better if there were more english translations of the Japanese explanations by various Island guides there were not included in the audio guide. Maybe having an english speaking guide would be best. Lunch was indeed an experience too, however would have liked some explanations/significance (in english) on the various food that was given to us.

For future participants, do not be too concerned about the audio guides for both mandarin and english as the information provided were minimal.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2019/06/30
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will not do again

Reviewed by: Rebecca Alianell, 2019/06/27

We got there just on time. The audio guide was not that great. For each site there was a brief three to six sentence paragraph in english that was generally more of an overview of the site with little actual information offered. The guides only spoke in Japanese, however they were helpful in pointing to things that were worth taking a picture of. The lunch was seaweed and tofu items with no drink selection besides water. Also, there were no dressings or sauces offered at all, not even sesame sauce. There was little time allotted for exploring the actual islands themselves. In terms of tours, it was a majority of the same things that were being seen which was fairly unexciting as a whole. The tour did not take us anywhere near any of the numerous waterfalls which would have made beautiful pictures. For being called an Ishigaki Premium Dream Tour, it was quite underwhelming as whole and overall, we would not do it again. However, I can not say it wasn't reasonably priced at one hundred forty five for two people, however it was probably still near the high end of the price spectrum for me, especially considering the content of the actual tour.

Rating:
Attended as:Friends
Activity Date:2019/06/25
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Lovely day spent on the Yaeyama Islands

Reviewed by: Jeannie, 2019/05/21

A great way to experience the Yaeyama Islands in a day! We first checked in at Ishigaki Dream Tours counter at the ferry terminal. A friendly staff ran through the day’s itinerary with us in detail and an English audio guide was available upon request. We had to board the ferry ourselves, but had no trouble meeting with our tour guide once we disembarked at Iriomote island.

Although the entire tour was in Japanese, we thoroughly enjoyed the mangrove cruise and the buffalo cart ride to Yubu island. The lunch was an assorted bento box with local delicacies, quite tasty and filling.

Overall the tour was rich in itinerary and well organized. Only downside was the lack of free time on Yubu and Taketomi island. Still highly recommended for those who want to quickly explore each island yet not have to worry about transportation.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2019/05/16
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Excellent Tour and Great Tour Company

Reviewed by: BSW, 2018/01/13

We were concerned about joining a multi-island tour that had no English guide but it turned out so well organized, even we don't speak any Japanese it went on smoothly with a hitch.

We arrived the terminal slightly before check-in time. A more senior staff checked us in and explained in full details of the day's itinerary. Along with it he gave us maps and another sheet with the full instructions when we expect what. It was so detailed we were on for a good start.

The boat was very nice and clean, it's owned by the tour company I think. All the staff came out to the port to wave farewell, it was a first! It was the same boat that took us to the other islands except for the last island back to ishigaki, which was only a 10 min ride.

We were given a group name and at each port there were tour staff to hold the sign and guide you to the correct bus. We opted for the glass boat option and it was a great choice! The boat had very clear glass bottom and the "captain" spoke English well. There were 3 people on the boat and he spoke the fish and coral names in English, and gave us info in English. I liked this glass boat tour way better than the one from Krabi Bay.

The Lunch at the bontanical garden was nice, it was a bento box (about 9"x11" in size) with different types of food and miso soup.

The buffalo ride in the village was also interesting, more layback the the ride to the bontanical garden. The buffalo handler on the cart also spoke some English. Actually all the islands we visited on this tour, many guides and vendors could speak English so we were not completely clueless like we were in other tours in Okinawa.

We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Rating:
Attended as:Couples
Activity Date:2017/12/22
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Amazing experience of traditional Yaeyama Islands

Reviewed by: Chris, 2016/04/13

Well organized tour showcasing the nature (mangroove forests) and the old cultural traditions (Taketomi village) of the Yaeyama archipelago. Plenty of time spent in each destination. Good and filling lunch. The buffalo cart trips in particular were fun, with the handlers singing traditional songs and the occasional "traffic jam" caused by a buffalo or two stopping along the way.

It was a large tour, with checking in and change of group/buses after hotel pickup required at the ferry terminal, and much of the time spent at Taketomi spent on my own, so do pay extra attention if you cannot understand Japanese, as, as described, the tour is entirely in Japanese.

Overall, very good value for money, and was a great way to get to see and experience the islands on my stay there.

Rating:
Attended as:Solo Travelers
Activity Date:2016/02/01
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