On the third day on Ishigaki (March 1st), Danny would go diving again but I wouldn't. Although I considered going again but the high cost and the fact that I'd hurt my foot on the boat the day before persuaded me otherwise. Instead I went to Ishigaki town. There wasn't much to see there but I managed to pass the time with the museum, a temple, and the many shops (I think Ishigaki has more souvenir shops than inhabitants). I also bought some manga because I hadn't realised how much time to read I'd have in the evenings here.
The next day we said goodbye to Kabira, but not before taking some more pictures of the area since the sun was finally showing. Masako from Umicoza gave us a lift to the harbour, where we took the ferry to Iriomote (about one hour). Iriomote is probably the most untouched nature Japan has: the island is almost entirely covered by jungle. After checking in at the hostel (Irumote-so) we wanted to go to the island Yubu, which is separated from Iriomote only by a very shallow bit of water, and the way to get there is by waterbuffalo cart. You could probably also walk, but the carts are more fun. It was however not close to our hotel and there are very few buses on the island so we had to hitchhike. On the island itself is a small park and zoo, not spectacular but nice and the waterbuffalos were the main attraction anyway. :)
After Yubu we went to Iriomote Onsen, a very nice "Rotenburo" (open air hot spring) and then went back to the hostel and walked around there a bit before dinner. Iriomote really is extraordinarily beautiful and I have to say it's the favourite of all the islands we've visited (although they all have their own charm).
In the evening the people from the hostel organised an (apparently daily) event of firefly watching. We were taken to a very quiet stretch of road with no lighting at all where a lot of other people were also watching. Hundreds of fireflies were flying around the bushes, really an amazing sight that unfortunately proved impossible to photograph (with my equipment anyway).
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