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Anyone in or heading to Taiwan?

Discussion in 'Taiwan' started by solarofthesix, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. solarofthesix

    solarofthesix Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Columbia, SC
    Ok So I am here in taiwan for about a year teaching english. Brought all of my dive equipment with me and Im ready to get wet anytime I can. I visited Kenting, but wasnt in health to do diving down there, although the water looks absolutely awesome! So tell me, anyone around Taiwan or making trips this way? Maybe we can get together and do soem diving!?
  2. red_barbarian

    red_barbarian Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: home is where the suitcase is
    I'm moving to Taipei in early April for 2 years. I'd be interested in some S.Taiwan trips and some trips to the PP's. Feel free to PM me if you're interested.
  3. Baracuda Smile

    Baracuda Smile Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chatan Cho, Okinawa, Japan
  4. solarofthesix

    solarofthesix Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Columbia, SC
    those pyramids sound pretty interesting! I might check them out if I can get some uber cheap airfare! THANKS FOR THE LINK!
  5. kkfok

    kkfok Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Adelaide
  6. Baracuda Smile

    Baracuda Smile Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chatan Cho, Okinawa, Japan
    I have been to Yonaguni. It is a quant little island with wild horses and cows. On a clear day you can see Taiwan, so it should be easy to take a ferry or fly to Yonaguni.
    Also known as Dunan (どぅな&#12435:wink: in the local language, Yonaguni is a tiny speck of an island (28 sq. km.) with a population of less than 2000, located 125 km from Taiwan and 127 km from Ishigaki. The main population centers are Sonai (祖&#20869:wink: on the north coast, Kubura (久部&#33391:wink: on the west coast and tiny Higawa (比&#24029:wink: in the south. The total population is about 1700.
    Although it lacks the resorts of the larger Yaeyama islands and its few visitors are mostly divers coming to witness the island's mysterious sunken ruins and hammerhead sharks, the island has beautiful (yet uncrowded) beaches, cultural attractions, and various mysteries of history.

    Yonaguni is among the remotest inhabited spots of Japan and getting there is both inconvenient and expensive. Both flights and ferries may be cancelled at short notice if the weather is bad (particularly around typhoon season), so allow some buffer in your plans.

    [edit] By plane
    Expanded in 1999 to allow jets to land, tiny Yonaguni Airport (OGN) fields 1-2 flights daily from Ishigaki on Japan Transocean Air and Ryukyu Air Commuter (30 minutes, Ž¥10000/17000 one-way/return), and RAC flights 3 times a week from Naha.

    [edit] By ship
    Fukuyama Kaiun (福山海&#36939:wink:, tel. 0980-87-2555, runs boats from Ishigaki on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with return trips on Mondays and Thursdays, always departing at 10 AM. The trip takes four hours on a good day and costs Ž¥3460/6580 one-way/return; note that most of the journey is across the open sea and people prone to seasickness may wish to steer clear. A cargo boat also offers an irregular (unscheduled) service to Naha.

    Star Cruises discontinued their Keelung (Taiwan)-Yonaguni cruises in 2006, but they seem to be back in business as of November 2007. Contact them at the link above if you're interested in arriving from Taiwan.
    Capes, cliffs and beaches

    Marker for the westernmost point in Japan, Cape IrizakiCape Irizaki (西&#23822:wink:. Yonaguni's main aboveground sight of any interest is the marker for the westernmost point of Japan (日本最西端の&#30865:wink:, located here at the westernmost tip of the island, about a kilometer from Kubura (15 minutes on foot).
    Cape Agarizaki (東&#23822:wink:, at the east tip of the island. The kanji mean East Cape, but the reading of the name refers to the rising sun. You can observe it from a cliff. On a clear day, if you're lucky, you can see the coast of Iriomote. Also a grazing area, many Yonaguni horses can be found here.
    Kuburabari (久部良バ&#12522:wink:. This cliff near the northern side of Kubura's port offers views of the last sunset in Japan, and on a good day it is possible to see the shadow cast by Taiwan in front of the setting sun from here. This is also the site where, in the rough period when residents of the island were forced to pay an alarmingly expensive head tax after the Ryukyu Kingdom was conquered by the Satsuma clan from the Japanese mainland, pregnant women were sometimes made to jump to their death to avoid an increase in population.
    Ubudumaihama (ウブドゥマイ&#27996:wink:. From the cliffs here, there's an impressive view of much of Yonaguni's beautiful northern coastline.
    Hikawa Beach (比川浜 Hikawahama). Located on the southern shore of the island in Hikawa. Shaped like a crescent, it is the island's largest beach. Suitable for swimming. Very quiet, little to no waves because of a coral reef.
    [edit] Rock formations
    Kuburadake (久部良&#23731:wink:. Kuburadake is a Natural Conservation District in the west of Yonaguni, about 188m above sealevel. It is valuable because it contains both a Chinquapin mountain forest and a lowlands forest, home to such natural monuments as the colorful Emerald Dove (リュウキュウキンバ&#12488:wink:, Japanese Wood Pidgeon (ヨナグニカラスバ&#12488:wink:, Ryukyu Robin (ウスアカヒ&#12466:wink:, and others. From about halfway up the mountain to the summit, the trees are mostly date palms. Lower than halfway, you can find Javanese bishopwood trees (アカ&#12462:wink: and other diverse plants which the Atlas moth eats.
    Tindabana (ティンダバ&#12490:wink:. Tindabana is a natural rock formation with a nice view. About 70m tall. From Tindabana, you can see the entire village of Sonai, and Nandahama. According to tradition, the great empress of Yonaguni, Sanai Isoba, resided here.
    The following rock formations are best viewed by boat.

    Gunkan-iwa (軍艦&#23721:wink:. The "Battleship Rock", about 2km south of Agarizaki, is a series of peculiarly-shaped reef rock formations. Supposedly, the main rock bears a close resemblance to the shape of a battleship, and that's how it got it's name. It can be observed from Sanninudai.
    Sanninudai (サンニヌ&#21488:wink:. Believed by some to be an above-water portion of the mysterious undersea ruins because it is shaped almost like a sort of stairway. The strangely-shaped rocks of Gunkaniwa can be easily seen from here. Also, there's a rock here with some writing on it which is mysterious. It bears little resemblance to kaida-dii, the island's indigenous writing system, and some have even suggested that it is Phoenecian.
    Tatigamiiwa (立神岩、タティガミイ&#12527:wink:. The "Standing God Rock", at the southeast tip of the island, is also noted for the underwater ruins nearby (see Do, some with what appears to be indigenous writing. Also, it's considered a spiritual site for followers of Yonaguni's indigenous traditional religion.
    [edit] Culture
    Yonaguni Ethnographic Museum (与那国民族資料館 Yonaguni Minzoku Shiryōkan, literally "Yonaguni Ethnicity Information-center"). This museum, at No. 49 in the Sonai area, is run by 87-year-old "island auntie", Ikema Nae. There's a lot of information about the island's history, culture, and even language. If you want information about the island's indigenous writing system, kaida-dii, this is probably the place to go. Their informational pamphlets can also be very enlightening, but they are only occasionally offered in English. The museum also sells the Dictionary of the Yonaguni Tongue (与那国語辞典 Yonaguni kotoba jiten), the only available dictionary of the local language (to and from Standard Japanese), also with a little bit of information about the native writing system. Incidentally, the dictionary is written by Ms Nae, and the entire museum is mostly the result of her work. If you have any questions, she's usually there and is very knowledgable about the history, culture, language, and traditions of Yonaguni.
    Bullfights (闘&#29275:wink:
    [edit] Fauna
    The island's unique fauna are also of interest.

    Yonaguni horse (ヨナグニウマ yonaguni-uma). Bred in isolation on Yonaguni over hundreds of years, the Yonaguni horse is a very small breed, only about 10 hands high (100 centimeters/3.5 feet). Nowadays, most are wild, in two free-ranging herds (about 108 horses total). They're generally very tame and gentle, thanks in large part to the kind treatment they receive from the islanders. You'll probably see at least one if you're on the island for very long.
    Atlas moth (ヨナグニサン yonaguni-san). The largest known species of moth in the world. Although it can be found in other parts of Asia (mostly in Taiwan, India, and Malaysia), the first specimen was collected in Yonaguni and they are abundant. The Atlas Moth Museum (アヤミハビル館 ayamihabiru-kan) southeast of Sonai (tel 0980-87-2440) has live caterpillars in season as well as various displays of local insects and other critters. You won't be able to see the adult moths, though, as the cocoons are returned to the forests.
    Anbonia (アンボイナ amboina). A very beautiful but also very poisonous seashell. See here for more information on how to watch out for them.
    [edit][add listing] Do
    Scuba diving is without a doubt the main draw for most visitors to Yonaguni. However, the island's location in the middle of the open sea without protective reefs means that waves can be high and currents can be strong, so most diving here is drift diving and many of the more interesting dive sites are only accessible to experienced divers.

    Yonaguni Diving Service. Kubura, tel. 0980-87-2658, [3]. The oldest and largest dive shop on the island, quite professionally run: they will cater to your experience level and will not head out to sites if the weather does not permit (in which case your money is refunded). Two boat dives start from Ž¥12,000, full gear rental for a day is Ž¥6,500. No credit cards accepted and only limited English spoken. Quite popular, so book ahead.
    [edit] Underwater ruins

    Exploring the underwater ruinsYonaguni's unique attraction for archaeologists and divers alike are the mysterious underwater ruins (海底遺跡 kaitei iseki) which lie off the southern coast of the island. A single platform 100 by 50 meters wide and up to 25 meters tall, seeming carved out of solid rock at perfectly right angles and dated by some to be 8000 years old, the technology required to build them here doesn't seem to match any known timeline of human history. Some maintain that they are the product of the lost Continent of Mu or even alien artifacts, while the most boring explanation would be that they are merely the product of strange geological processes although the (apparent) hallways and staircases, as well as what appear to be regular rows of holes dug for moving rock and even what some take to be a form of writing on the walls, would appear to defy this.

    Seeing the ruins, however, takes some time, effort and skill: the area is notorious for its currents and not suitable for beginning divers, although several diving shops run one-day crash courses that culminate in a guided tour of the ruins. For those with the requisite skills (PADI AOWD or more), a day's diving starts at Ž¥12,000. Note that the ruins, some 20 minutes by boat from Kubura, are usually only accessible when they are on the leeward side of a north wind and the currents are not too strong, so you'll also need some luck just to get here.

    Wind conditions permitting, SAWES can also arrange glass-bottomed boats to make the trip for Ž¥5000/head if there are five or more passengers (or you can charter the whole boat yourself). Don't expect to see very much, however, as the ruins are at a depth of 5 to 20 meters.

    [edit] Sharks
    In addition to the ruins, Yonaguni is also famous among Japanese divers for its hammerhead sharks, which congregate around the island and can be spotted on most dives in the cooler winter season (December-February). Yonaguni is also pretty much the only spot in Japan where it is possible to spot the giant whale shark, the largest of them all, although sightings are quite rare.

    [edit] Caverns
    Much of the southern coastline is dotted with caverns, caves and underwater rock formations, which make for spectacular but, again, slightly challenging diving. Daiyati and the Temple of Light are particularly well-known spots that bear more than slight resemblance to Swiss cheese.

    [edit][add listing] Buy
    The most popular Yonagunian souvenir by far is hanazake liquor, see Drink for details.

    Ōasa Shoten (大朝商&#24215:wink:. One of Kubura's two general-goods stores. Has a pretty good range of hanazake tucked away in the back.
    Yonaguni Kaien (与那国海&#22633:wink: [5]. Located near the beach in Higawa, this store sells salt harvested from Kuroshio Current. The best stuff comes in big crystals several millimeters in size, and supposedly tastes somewhat sweet.
    [edit][add listing] Eat
    While there are a few small restaurants in Sonai and Kubura, most visitors opt to eat breakfast and dinner at their lodgings and lunch at their diving service.
  7. Baracuda Smile

    Baracuda Smile Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chatan Cho, Okinawa, Japan
    Shokujidokoro Hiko (食事処 &#24422:wink:, Kubura. The only restaurant in town. Open 9 AM to 10 PM daily except Tuesday.
    Maruki Shokudo (マルキ食&#22530:wink:, Sonai. Famous far and wide for its chomei-so soba (長命草そ&#12400:wink:, which contains a local grass reputed to extend longevity. Was closed in 2007 and may be out of business.
    [edit][add listing] Drink
    Yonaguni is best known for hanazake (花&#37202:wink:, literally "flower sake", a drink nowhere near as dainty as you might expect from the name: it's the local 60Ž° awamori and tradition demands drinking it straight, without even an ice cube to ease the pain. The best known brand is Donan (どな&#12435:wink: and the other labels brewed on the island are Yonaguni (与那&#22269:wink: and Maifuna (舞富名, meaning 'clever person' in the local dialect). You can visit the breweries of all three in Sonai, sample a little, and learn about brewing methods. It's fairly steeply priced though, as a 600ml bottle of the stuff will set you back over Ž¥2000; and you need to add a few hundred yen if you want the traditional protective straw coat for your bottle. Cheaper and marginally less lethal 43Ž° and 30Ž° versions are also available.

    [edit][add listing] Sleep
    Komine Ryokan (小嶺旅&#39208:wink:, Sonai, tel. 0980-87-2211.
    Minshuku Omoro (民宿おも&#12429:wink:, Sonai, tel. 0980-87-2419. Ž¥4500. No bathrooms in the rooms, as it's a minshuku. You can take a bath between 4:00 - 8:00 PM, although they'll usually let you take a bath outside of these times if you ask. Private rooms, nice meals also included. Washing machine costs Ž¥100. No phones in rooms, but there's a green-phone (public telephone) in the lobby you can use. Be warned, though, that there is a danger of theft because there are no keys to the rooms.
    Minshuku Sakihara (民宿さきは&#12425:wink:, Sonai, tel. 0980-87-2976. Ž¥5000; the interior is much better kept than the backpacker-style Omoro but the food may or may not match up. Amenities include a large television and a small manga library; ideal for elderly visitors not used to roughing it.
    Yoshimaru-sō (よしまる&#33624:wink:, Kubura, tel. 0980-87-2658. Operated by Yonaguni Diving Service, this standard-issue minshuku offers shared lodging in Japanese-style rooms for Ž¥5000/3500 with/without meals, Ž¥1000 extra if you want your own room. Expect some noise in the evenings from boozing divers, but it's lights-out by 11 PM.
    [edit] Stay safe
    Okinawa's favorite bogeyman, the habu snake, is absent from Yonaguni. The main danger here is the ferocious currents, particularly on the north coast, so check conditions before swimming. Also, you'll have to watch out for anbonia, which, although a very attractive-looking coneshell, is very poisonous. Anbonia are about 10cm long, have a spiral shell, and will actually stab you with a harpoon-like appendage that they shoot out, and the sting can be deadly.

    [edit] Cope
    There are no banks on Yonaguni, but you can withdraw money from the ATMs at the post offices in Sonai and Kubura.

    Broadband Internet and net cafñÔ have yet to reach Yonaguni, but most diving and lodging enterprises on the island have dialup accounts and will let you borrow them for a moment if asked nicely.

    [edit] Get around
    There are 7 buses per day between Sonai and Kubura, 3 of which continue on to make a full circuit of the island. 2 taxis are also available, and a circuit of the island by car takes about an hour. There are at least 4 or 5 different rent-a-car places, and motorbikes and bicycles are also readily available.

    More or less all diving shops and lodgings offer free transfers to and from the airport.

    The best way to get to Yonaguni is via airplane. There are flights available on JTA (Japan Transocean Air) or on RAC (Ryukyu Air Commuter). These flights leave from Ishigaki as well as from Naha. It is a little cheaper to fly on the RAC flights because they use a smaller propeller type of plane while JTA uses jets. For those who have strong stomachs and who are a little more adventurous, you can catch a boat over to Yonaguni. The ferry to Yonaguni leaves twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. Return departures are on Monday and Thursday. The total time for the ride is about four hours.

    Upon reaching Yonaguni, the best way to travel around the Island is via rental car. There is a convenient rental shop called Yonehama Rental Car located right inside of the Yonaguni Airport. Most day car rentals run from about 5000~6000 yen. It takes about 2 hours to do a full circle of the island with stops.

    Car/Scooter/Bicycle Rental Companies:

    Keida Rent-A-Bike 0980-87-2275
    Nishi Rent-A-Car 0980-87-2857
    Mosura no Tamago 0980-87-2112
    Yonaguni Koutsu 0980-87-2037
    Yonaguni Honda 0980-97-2376
    Yonehama Rent-A-Car 0980-87-2148

    For those interested in a taxi tour of the island, Yonaguni Koutsu offers taxi tours starting from about 13,000 yen to 15,000 yen. These tours will take you to all of the main sightseeing parts of the island. It makes more sense to have a rental car because you will most likely want to make random stops to take pictures and/or explore various sights that you may see.

    Services on Yonaguni Island

    Yonaguni is known for it's spectacular diving. Many of these dive companies offer all of the services that you will need during your stay. They will pick you up, drop you off, feed you, and in some cases, even provide a place for you to stay at. If you are exploring Yonaguni without diving, you should be able to find all that you need at your minshuku or at the local downtown store. The local store in Sonai is called Fukuyama Grocery Store and is open from 7:30am-10pm daily. You can find anything that you need here.
    Lodging on Yonaguni Island

    Most of the places to stay are located in the town of Sonai. There are also places to stay in the towns of Kubura and Higawa. Sonai is located in the North Coast, Kubura is located in the West Coast, and Higawa is located in the South Coast.

    Hotels and Inns on Yonaguni:

    Sonai Town Lodging

    Irifuku Ryokan 0980-87-2017
    Komine Ryokan 0980-87-2211
    Sakihara Sou 0980-87-2976
    Sugimoto Ryokan 0980-87-2877
    Donan Chikyuu Yuujin 0980-87-3779
    Nakatake Sou 0980-87-2012
    Fukuyama Minshuku 0980-87-2559
    Hotel Irifune 0980-87-2311
    Hotel White House 0980-87-2151
    Minshuku Omoro 0980-87-2419
    Kubura Town Lodging
    Hotel New Sun Life 0980-87-3111
    Hotel Minshuku Haidonan 0980-87-2651
    Minshuku Yuuna 0980-87-2963
    Minshuku Yoshimaru Sou 0980-87-2658
    Yonaguni Kankou Hotel 0980-87-2813
    Higawa Town Lodging
    Sansui Sou 0980-87-2912
    Tsuki no Hama Minshuku 0980-87-2859

    Sightseeing on Yonaguni Island

    Driving on the main road of the island will make it easy to many of the amazing sightseeing spots that Yonaguni has to offer. The island has numerous cliffs, beaches, rock formations, and interesting fauna. Located near Kubura is Japan's Westernmost Point. It is marked by a large stone and is right near the Cape of Irizaki. As you drive, you will have the chance to see many of Yonaguni's mysterious rock formations. For each formation, there is a story that has been passed down during the generations. One of the most famous rock formations is called Tatigamiiwa which means "standing god rock". This is the site of worship for Yonaguni's Indigenous Religion and is close to the famous underwater ruins. Explorers have found writing near this rock which some say may even be phonecian writing.

    There are numerous beaches on Yonaguni. Some are rocky and some are flat due to protection by the coral reefs. Hikawa Beach is excellent for swimming and it is the largest beach on Yonaguni. Nanta Beach near Sonai Town is easily accessible and is great for a day of relaxing and tanning.

    Yonaguni is also famous for the Yonaguni Horse. The Yonaguni horse has evolved into a very small breed. They are only about 3.5 feet tall. All over the island, you will see horses running wild. In total, there are about 108 wild horses that have free-reign on the island. You will see the horses and you will also see their poop! There is a horse center where you can also pet and ride these gentle animals. Yonaguni is also home to the largest moth in the world, the Atlas Moth and an extremely poisonous seashell known as the Anbonia. In addition to the Yonaguni Horse, you can also see the Yonaguni Atlas Moth. This is currently the world's largest moth.

    Yonaguni Island was used during the filming of the popular television drama "Doctor Koto". The television drama was broadcasted in 2003 and the open set used is still found on Yonaguni. The open set can be found directly next to Higawa Beach.

    You should also make a stop at the Kubura Fish Dock to see the morning auction action. The daily fish auction starts at 8:30am. A stop at this morning fish auction will give you a glimpse into what kind of fish is caught in the sea next to Yonaguni. Yonaguni is famous for its excellent deep sea fishing and is host to the yearly All-Japan Billfish Tournament in July. Anglers from all over the world gather in Yonaguni for three days of fishing, relaxing, and entertainment.

    The main attraction for Yonaguni is it's spectacular diving. It is one of the best places in Japan to see hammerhead sharks as well as the site of the underwater ruins. The hammerhead sharks and the underwater ruins are all accessible by using a diving service. Sharks can be best seen from January through to February. The underwater ruins are thought by many to be the proof of an ancient advanced civilization. Worlds like "Atlantis", "Continent of Mu", "Lemuria" have all come to the table when discussing these ruins. Getting there might be the hardest part of seeing the ruins. The ruins are not accessible when there is bad weather because it will cause strong currents as well as strong waves. For a day trip to the ruins, it will usually cost about 12,000 yen. Dives to the ruins should only be done by experienced divers. The dive is very difficult due to the rough seas. One additional perk to Yonaguni diving is that it is the only place in Japan where one can see the giant whale shark. Although sightings are very rare, there is a chance of seeing one.

    Diving Companies on Yonaguni

    Diving Service From West (Kubura Town)
    Phone: 0980-87-3111, http://www.fromwest.jp/
    Diving Service Shocking Blue (Sonai Town)
    Phone: 0980-87-3001, ‰«“ꌧ —^“ߍ‘ ƒ_ƒCƒrƒ“ƒOƒT[ƒrƒX ƒVƒ‡ƒbƒLƒ“ƒOƒuƒ‹[ okinawa yonaguni diving service shocking blue
    Yonaguni Diving Service (Kubura Town)
    Phone: 0980-87-2658, http://www2.ocn.ne.jp/~yds/
    It is the largest and the oldest diving company on the island.
    Diving Service Marlin (Sonai Town)
    Phone: 0980-87-3365, —^“ߍ‘ƒ_ƒCƒrƒ“ƒO‚ÌŽ–‚È‚çA‰«“ꌧ—^“ߍ‘“‡‚̃_ƒCƒrƒ“ƒOƒT[ƒrƒX@ƒ}[ƒŠƒ“‚ցI

    Dining on Yonaguni Island

    Most visitors to the island will eat their meals at their hotel or inn. There are a few restaurants in the towns but, the numbers are small. Within Sonai Town, walking through the downtown area will allow you see which establishments are open. If in Kubura, there is only one restaurant in town. It is called Shokujidokoro Hiko. It is open from 9am to 10pm and is closed on Tuesdays.

    Want to know more about Yonaguni? Here are some links...

    Wikitravel - "Yonaguni"
    Morien Institute - "The Mysterious Underwater Pyramid Structure at Yonaguni"
    Wonder Okinawa - "Yonaguni Island"
    JDorama.com - "Dr.Koto - Shinryousho"
    Okinawa Prefecture - "Undersea Ruins"
  8. Baracuda Smile

    Baracuda Smile Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chatan Cho, Okinawa, Japan
    Yonaguni lies from the east coast of TaiwanTaiwan Overview

    Taiwan is an island in East Asia, but the term "Taiwan" is also commonly used to collectively refer to the territories gove...
    at the end of the Ryukyu Islands chainFacts About Ryukyu Islands

    The Ryukyu Islands or more recently the , are an island chain in the western Pacific Ocean at the eastern limit of the East ...
    . The island has an area of , a population around 1700, an annual mean air temperature of 23.9Ž°C, and annual precipitation of 3000 mm. Cape IrizakiCape Irizaki

    is the western tip of Yonaguni island and the westernmost point in Japan....
    is the westernmost point in Japan. All islands are under jurisdiction of the townTowns of Japan Summary

    Yonaguni was part of the continent until the last ice ageIce age

    An ice age is a period of long-term downturn in the temperature of Earth's climate, resulting in an expansion of the contine...
    . In the 12th century, it was incorporated to the Ryukyu KingdomRyukyu Kingdom

    The Ryukyu Kingdom was an independent kingdom which ruled most of the Ryukyu Islands from the 14th century to the 19th centu...
    until the 17th century and then incorporated into the Japanese hanHan (Japan)

    The were the fiefs of feudal lords of Japan that were created by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and existed until their abolition in 1871, th...
    of SatsumaSatsuma Province

    Satsuma was an old province of Japan that is now the western half of Kagoshima prefecture on the island of Kyushu....
    . By 1879, the island was formally incorporated into Japan. Until the early 20th century, Yonaguni was part of the larger Yaeyama village, which included the neighboring Yaeyama IslandsYaeyama Islands Summary

    The Yaeyama Islands are an archipelago in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan....
    , but then became an independent village in 1948. From 1945 to 1972, it was occupied by the United States of America

    is Japan's southernmost prefecture, and consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over 1,000 km long, which extends s...

    Seabed structures

    This island has recently become well known for massive sunken rock and stone formations known as the Yonaguni monument which surround the island. It has been claimed that it is human made. Robert Schoch after diving there suggests that it is most likely a natural formation later modified by human hands.

    Divers congregate on the island in winter due to the large population of hammerhead sharkHammerhead shark

    Hammerhead sharks of the genus Sphyrna are members of the family Sphyrnidae....
    s found in nearby waters. It was diving to scout for a good place to observe the sharks which led to the discovery of the "monument", a part of which is two closely spaced pillars which rise to within eight feet of the surface. Study of the curiosity is hampered by a significant ocean current sufficient to exhaust divers if they swim in the opposite direction.

    The seabedSeabed

    The seabed is the bottom of the ocean....
    contains what appear to be ruins of a previous glacial age and traces of terrestrial flora, fauna and stalactiteStalactite

    A stalactite , or dripstone, is a type of speleothem that hangs from the ceiling or wall of limestone caves....
    s that form only on the surface. Their resemblance to structures in the ancient world have led some to theorize they could be the remnants of an ancient civilization. Were they to be human-made they would be among the oldest human made structures at some 10,000 years old.

    The fame of Yonaguni island began in the 1980s, when a Japanese marine explorer, Kihachiro Aratake, by chance discovered a set of very singular seemingly architectonicArchitectonic

    In philosophy, Architectonics is the scientific systematisation of all knowledge....
    structures. Shortly thereafter, a group of scientists directed by Masaaki Kimura, of the University of the RyukyusUniversity of the Ryukyus

    University of the Ryukyus was, until 2004, a state-run university located in the town of Nishihara on Okinawa Honto in Okina...
    , confirmed the existence of the vestiges. They appear, at least superficially, to be comparable to pyramidPyramid

    Pyramids are among the largest man-made constructions as well as one of the great Wonders of the ancient world....
    s. Some also speculate that several of the seemingly natural features could in fact be human made, such as the discovery of what some called a "face" on the side of one of the monuments. To date, there is no archaeological evidence to support this theory.

    On May 4, 1998, a part of the island was destroyed by a submarine earthquakeEarthquake

    An earthquake is a phenomenon that results from and is powered by the sudden release of stored energy that radiates seismic ...

    Several analyses indicated that a certain structure, which measured 120 m in length, 40 m wide and 20?5 m high, was 8000 years old. Several noted writers, including John Anthony West and geologist Robert Schoch argue that under inspection, the "ruins" turn out to be largely explicable by ocean erosion and coral reefCoral reef

    Coral reefs grow in tropical seas in the photic zone, where there is mild wave action, not so strong it tears the reef apart...
    settlements. Professor Kimura still maintains that the structure is human made.

    Most geologists familiar with the area also maintain that the structures are mere geologic processes of natural origin and consistent with other known geological formations. They point to the fact that local rocks above the surface have right angle cleavages, and that aquatic flora and fauna have simply smoothed out much of the surface of the rocks. Photographs show with a varying degree of clarity parts of the formation with precise geometrical shapes, in varying complexity. Although this may be taken as a strong hint of human presence, many natural formations, such as the Giant's CausewayGiant's Causeway

    The Giant's Causeway is an area of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns resulting from a volcanic eruption over 60 million yea...
    , or natural staircase structures on Old Rag MountainOld Rag Mountain Overview

    Old Rag Mountain, or simply Old Rag, is a mountain in Madison County, Virginia....
    , present similar shapes.

    At the time that Kimura first suggested it might have been constructed, the affected area of Yonaguni composed a land bridgeLand bridge

    Land bridge is essentially a historical term; it refers to dry land exposed during periods of low sea level, connecting what...
    between the islands of TaiwanTaiwan

    Taiwan is an island in East Asia, but the term "Taiwan" is also commonly used to collectively refer to the territories gove...
    , Ryukyu, and Japan with AsiaAsia

    Asia is the largest and most populous continent or region, depending on the definition....
    in the days of the ice ageIce age

    An ice age is a period of long-term downturn in the temperature of Earth's climate, resulting in an expansion of the contine...
    . The level of the sea was lower than at present because of the ice accumulated in the temperate zones. GeologistGeologist

    A geologist is a contributor to the science of geology, studying the physical structure and processes of the Earth and plane...
    Teruaki Oshii suggests they have been constructed before the end of the glacial era.

    Kimura now argues that Yonaguni is the site of a city at least 5,000 years old which sunk 2,000 years ago, while Robert Schoch says "they're all natural...It's basic geology and classic stratigraphy for sandstones, which tend to break along planes and give you these very straight edges, particularly in an area with lots of faults and tectonic activity." Kimura claims to have identified at least 15 structures off Yonaguni and Okinawa including a castle, linked by roads and water channels. Kimura obtains his 5,000 years old date for the city from the dates of stalactites in adjacent underwater caves. Kimura also says that he has found images of animals and people, while Schoch Graham Hancock is a British writer and journalist....
    Robert Schoch

    Atlantis is the name of an island first mentioned and described by the classical Greek philosopher Plato....

    Yonaguni launches new ferry service to Taiwan
    Date Posted: 2008-11-14

    Yonaguni Town in Okinawa and sister city Karen in Taiwan have inked an agreement to initiate ferry service between the two municipalities starting next month.

    Service is set to begin December 12th and 14th with the 399-passenger vessel owned by Taipei CityÃÔ Karen International Shipping company carrying a combination of freight and passengers on the new route. The new service marks a first for joint passenger-cargo service between Yonaguni and Karen.

    Passengers will travel free at the beginning, while a travel agency established by contract with Yonaguni Town will begin accepting reservations soon. The service will operate as a quasi-charter service initially, but officials say they anticipate the route becoming a permanent, regularly scheduled service. Officials from the two municipalities are working the details on operating costs, and how to set reasonable passenger fares.

    Å°ur target is to navigate this route as regular business,: says Yonaguni TownÃÔ special promotion board director, Chiyo Tasato. Ÿe want to promote the economy and tourism. Yonaguni Town has received Ž¥50million in subsidy money from the Japanese government for promotion and reclamation work. The town anticipates operating with a Ž¥14 million budget.

    Direct flights commence between Taiwan's Hualien, Japan's Yonaguni
    Asian Economic News , Oct 6, 2007
    Email Print
    TAIPEI, Oct. 4 Kyodo

    The city of Hualien on Taiwan's east coast and the island of Yonaguni in Japan's far south are now linked by direct charter flights to facilitate travel between them, their mayors announced in Taipei on Thursday.

    Hualien, a city of more 100,000 people and capital of the county of the same name, has sisterly relations with Yonaguni-cho, a town of less than 1,700 inhabitants that encompasses the island of Yonaguni, Japan's westernmost island, which is located in Okinawa Prefecture at the southern extreme of the Ryukyu Archipelago.

    Yonaguni's Mayor Shukichi Hokama arrived in Hualien on the maiden flight Thursday along with some 130 Yonaguni residents.

    Flights will be arranged by local government offices in Hualien and Yonaguni as needed, Hokama told a press conference alongside Hualien counterpart Tsai Chi-ta.

    Yonaguni's residents often travel to Taiwan and will benefit from direct charter flights, said Yonaguni resident Rie Hayakawa, one of the passengers on the maiden flight.

    Yonaguni and Hualien became ''sister cities'' in 1982.

    ‰«“ꌧ”ªdŽRŒS—^“ߍ‘“‡ The dive shop I used in Yonaguni
  9. GrumpyOldGuy

    GrumpyOldGuy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: West Texas/NH/CA
    I did some nice dives with shellbackdiver1 in Southern Taiwan (Kenting & Xiao Lui Chui) on the ends of some business trips. He is an ex-pat from the midwest, nice guy and well connected with the local divers. Check out his website www.shellbackdiver.com
  10. shellbackdiver1

    shellbackdiver1 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Linwood Township, Mn

    Yep....here I am. Dive every weekend in Kending and at least once every other month do an outer island trip. Shellback Diver

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