Iriomote is a divers’ paradise, with the Manta Way between the island’s eastern coast and Kohama-jima being particularly famous for its shoals of manta rays; you’re most likely to see them between April and June. The youth hostels and all minshuku can put you in touch with the island’s several dive operations (for more on diving). Snorkelling is particularly good at Hoshizuna Beach (星砂の浜), around 4km northwest of Funaura, where you’ll also find a campsite, a decent restaurant and snorkelling gear for rent – all of which makes it popular. If you’re looking to escape the crowds, head to Funauki (船浮), reached by three ferries a day from Shirahama (白浜), at the far west end of the coastal road; the beach here, a short trek through the jungle, is one of the most beautiful in all of Japan.

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