Monday, March 28, 2016

:::SPECIAL::: A Dive Into the Mysterious Borodino Island: "Minami Daito" The Final Frontier in Okinawa

A Dive Into the Mysterious Borodino Island: "Minami Daito" The Final Frontier


What constitutes a great vacation? One 
that is chock-full of all the amenities of home
plus more? Or perhaps it's a place where you 
can finally relax and not have to worry about
the stresses of home (work, money, etc..). How
about an experience only a handful of individuals
on this Earth have actually experienced?

Located 220 miles east of the islands of Okinawa,
two islands silently sit alone in the middle of western
Pacific ocean. These islands are known as the Daito
Islands (Big east islands) and are made up of
the north (Kita Daito), and south (Minami Daito).
Today we'll journey to the larger of the two, Minami
Daito, investigate what it's really like on these 
secluded islands and give you 5 reasons why
you should visit.. 

view of Japan
View of Okinawa & surrounding
 islands to the north

Minami Daito Island (Google© Maps Image)



Safe Travel

Minami Daito is an island so you only have two
options when it comes to access. A ferry makes twice
a week trips to both islands to carry much needed
food and supplies and even passengers. However
the voyage is an arduous one taking 15 hours to make
the 220 mile journey between Naha, Okinawa and 
Minami or Kita Daito's port so if you're the seasick type,
this may not be the best route for you. The ferry sees 
a great deal of cancellations when the weather conditions
are less favorable and rough waves are present, so
plan accordingly.


Naha Departure:5PM (Day 1)
(Kita or Minami) Daito Arrival:8AM (Day 2)
70 Ferries per year
Duration: 15 hours
Ship Capacity: (690 tons, 55 passengers)

Official Website (Japanese)



Taking to the Sky

Flights are also available and only offered by JAL
(Japan Airlines) but because of this, the very 
short 1 hour flight is priced firmly at
over $287 for a round-trip ticket. The flight
itself is as short as it seems but it's a fairly
small plane that can get rocked around quite
a bit in the wind or stormy weather. Plan ahead, 
because it's not very uncommon for the flight to be
cancelled at the last minute due to inclement
weather. 

Departs: Naha Airport 
9:35AM, 
Arrives: Kita Daito & Minami Daito
10:30AM, 
Price: $286.82 (¥32,600 [tax included])
Reservations

*Flight Path:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
Naha Airport ==>Minami Daito==Kita Daito==>Naha Airport
Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays
Naha Airport ==>Kita Daito==Minami Daito==>Naha Airport


 

Choose Your Route

Weather you make your way by air or by
sea you're sure in for a treat when you arrive
to this mysterious land and completely unique
 ecosystem. 



With a multi-lingual welcome sign to make
everyone feel welcome, make no mistake, unless
you have some Japanese history, it's a little difficult
to get by solely using English on the island. The 
majority of the residents speak Japanese
with some residents still fluent in the older original
Okinawan language used before Okinawa was annexed
by Japan in 1879.

At first glance there isn't very much to see on the island
itself other than never-ending fields full of sugarcane,
the main cash crop of the island. However so much
more lies just below the surface. Let's explore a little
bit!



Make your way to the southern part of the island
to get a grand view of the lay of the land from
the best lookout point around!



WOW! Such an amazing view as the wind
smacks you in the face. ^^



How many people actually live here?!

The Island's population is only about 1,418 (2013)
but from visiting and seeing just about everyone
we would guess there isn't more than 400-500 
people that actually live on the island at a time. 
The majority of the people are extremely friendly
and welcoming to anyone that comes to visit.
There are also laborers and construction workers
who travel to the island frequently so you never
really know who you'll run into when you visit.



Tropical island style Lodging

There are a few different options in terms of lodging
on Minami Daito but for non-Japanese speakers
we recommend the Yoshizato Hotel.

Yoshizato Hotel - Tel: 098-022-2511




Getting around

The island itself isn't very big so the best way to
get around and truly explore is actually by bike!
On bike you can make all the necessary stops
and do a little off-roading if necessary. You can
probably make a loop of the island in under an hour
but be careful running into the dirt because it
hardens and can almost be like clay after a while.

There's also a taxi service consisting of one car
driven by a special needs individual who is kind
enough to give travelers a free ride to their
destinations around the city and from the airport
at times. However, we couldn't get a hold of his
contact information. He is usually out driving around
the town at night driving home people who have
reached their drinking limits and want to return
home safely. 



Outside of the town most of the roads are paved,
but even the roads have their limits. Development
on the island has appeared to have lagged and
most of parts of it are being either restored due
to damage from typhoons or it just hasn't been
built yet all together, hence the need for skilled
laborers and construction workers. 



Cash Crop

The majority of the island is completely covered
in sugarcane and it's safe to say that sugarcane
is the cash crop of the island. In fact, some of the
remnants from when the island was just getting up
and running still remains. On display are the original
sugarcane trains that would bring the harvested sugar-
cane to the closest port.



Harvest time!

Just before spring in February the entire island will
become infested with these towering harvesters
cutting down the tall sugarcane at all corners of the
island. They are truly a sight to behold because they are
so powerful yet majestic, oh and did we mention
loud! ^^




City life

There isn't too much in terms of city life on the island,
mostly because the population is so low. However you
will find a school (Kindergarten to Jr. High School), a
bunch of restaurants, bars, pachinko, and a few locally
run grocery stores. One thing that will be immediately
apparent is the absolute lack of convenience stores.
That's right I said no convenience stores! If you aren't
familiar with convenience stores in Japan, one thing
you should know is Japanese stores are just that,
insanely convenient!


 

So of course one question soon begins to burn in
your mind. What do you do for fun on the island?

The answer isn't something you can answer with one
simple picture so we'll give you a small taste....




Fisherman's paradise

This is probably a given but fishing is amazing on
the island. Just imagine endless sunny days and
and the open blue sea as far as the eyes can see.




Enjoy the earlier mentioned fish!!




Spelunking

Think of the island like a sponge. The inner portion
is extremely hollow with pockets all over the place.
said pockets can fill up with water as the tide
comes in and goes out, but for the majority of
time they are dry and you can explore
amazing places like this! ^^




Explore the unknown

The island has only been inhabited for about 100
years which means, there's still quite a bit of untouched
nature! If getting outdoors is your thing, then you'll
find plenty of places to transport you to a new world!




Take a midnight stroll

Being in the middle of the ocean has its perks, one of
which is walking outside at night and seeing the milky
way every SINGLE DAY! Amazing... 〜 ^^




Experience a typhoon from 50 meters above
sea level

Minami Daito Island sits right on "typhoon dori" (the path of
most typhoons to hit Japan) so just before every typhoon
the ocean puts on a fantastic show!

*Warning, Japankuru does not advise you leave your
residence before, during, or after a typhoon unless
accompanied by a local!




Get your head stuck in places it doesn't belong

This island was attacked during World War II so there
are still remnants of the old hideouts scattered
across the island. See if you can locate them all!




Sakura!

Cherry blossom viewing as per Okinawa's blooming
time takes place around the end of January. Finally
a place to enjoy cherry blossoms without the massive
crowds everywhere else!




Explore the shrine

Minami Daito has it own shrine as well as
other holy sites. We're not going to say it's
haunted or anything but hey, it might not be
the best idea to visit here during the night... ^^




Watch live performances

There are a number of different contests, events and
musical performances that take place throughout the
year. If you have a yearning for an unique culture
that can't really be experienced elsewhere in the
world, then Daito is for you!




Traverse deep canyons

There is a place on the island in which the
whole island is splitting apart at the rate of
about 30cm a year. It's infinitely changed the
surrounding landscape and it makes for unique
pictures. ^^




Experience true relaxation

Just stare out into that open sea. What do you
see? Nothing... that's right.. .nothing. ^^
Let the calming sound of the waves and the cool
ocean breeze soothe your soul.



Many mysteries still surround this beautiful 
and secluded island and we've only just 
scratched the surface. Stay tuned here at
Japankuru for more information about
this amazing island getaway! 

:::Minami Daito Island:::
Official Website (Japanese)

:::Ferry Info:::
Naha Departure:5PM (Day 1)
(Kita or Minami) Daito Arrival:8AM (Day 2)
70 Ferries per year
Duration: 15 hours
Ship Capacity: (690 tons, 55 passengers)
Price:
Official Website (Japanese)

:::Flight Info:::
Departs: Naha Airport 
9:35AM, 
Arrives: Kita Daito & Minami Daito
10:30AM, 
Price: $286.82 (¥32,600 [tax included])
Reservations Website (Japanese)