Japanese Island 100km from Taiwan

Does anyone know about getting to Yonngumi Shima. This is the closest Japanese Island to Taiwan just 100km east of Suao. Now that we are all getting 30 day visa-free stays all we need to do is cross a border, and this is the closest. I know there is an airfield on this island, so we might rent a small plane and fly there. The return trip should take under 2 hours. Anyone interested in coming? It’s a four seater so we’d have space for 1 more. Should work out about 3000$ each that way. If this turns out not to be possible, there’s also the boat to Ishigaki (160km) or the “cruise to nowhere” Does anyone have info on the costs involved and where to get tickets/info?

This article by David Frazier (Taipei Times, May 2002) should be of interest as he sailed into Hualian from one of the Japanese islands near Taiwan. I admire your creativity. Good luck with your plan.

Last year, the wife and I looked into a trip to Taketomi Island (about 2 hours small boat trip from Ishigaki) to visit relatives who live there. It involved taking a cruise from Keelong to Ishigaki, departing the cruise and taking a speed boat to Takitomi. What prevented us from doing it was the cruise company insisting we paid two return tickets because we would overstay the duration of the scheduled three day cruise. Very unflexible I thought.
However, the company is Star Cruises, the cost was (last year) about 5000 NT return, and the format was a three day tour of the islands with limited shore based activities. If you like Ship based Karaoki and casinos then you are in your element.

I don’t know whether they still operate the service but here’s the contact info:

Star Cruises
6F, No.180,
Section 4, Chung Hsiao East Road,
Taipei, Taiwan,
Tel: (886)2 2517 5339
Fax : (886)2 2517 5337

It seems like a case of so near, but yet so far. The Taipei Times article that almas john posted a link to was very interesting. It noted the presence of underwater ruins there. I remember some similar underwater ruins were also discovered in Penghu last year. It would be interesting to know if there are any links between the two.

madtpe, I would be interested to hear if you are successful chartering a flight to get there. I wonder if chartering a boat is also a possibility.

Anyway it sounds like Yonaguni is a superb diving spot. I put a link to an article about diving there below.
Yonaguni: Diver’s paradise

Here is a link to an article about the underwater ruins.
The True Value of the Undersea Ruins

And here’s a link to an article about the underwater ruins off Penghu.
Scientists argue over possible ‘Atlantis’ off Penghu

I remember reading about a couple of foreigners living on Green Island mentioning they knew of ancient underwater ruins off or around Green Island. Their website url escapes me and there was extensive mentions of ‘the green stuff’ so I am not sure how credible their info was. :smiley:

I am a big fan of the islands surrounding Taiwan… some of my best memories of the place…

Huh? You don’t need to leave. You can get a 30 day extension to your visa (without leaving). Or is there something i’m missing here?


You’re probably missing quite a few things, but let’s keep to the subject. If you’ve got nothing useful to contribute then go elsewhere.

The underwater-ruin crowd (at least Penghu’s) has a lot in common with the believers in UFOs and other such contentions of dubious scientific value. I have yet to read anything that sounds credible from them.

that’s because they are incredible. But there coulda been a kind of underwater Atlantis village in many places before the great flood. but ufos? No way.

I though you ony had to go into International waters and you were out. All the Keelung cruise does is this.

A stupid question …but do you have a pilot’s license and are foreigners allowed to fly private here…else is someone else flying it?

You don’t have to cross a border to get a visa extension. I’m trying to save you some money. Maybe you don’t want to listen, but there’s no need to be so rude. :imp:


How many times can we get the 30 day extension on our visitor visa without having to leave the country?

I’d like to go to the Okinawan Islands for a visa run if I have to.

But this little island probably doesn’t have a visa office anyway.

Taketome, Ishigaki and Iriomote sound like nice little islands to visit but you’d still have to go to Okinawa Naha to get that visa.

Let us know if that chartered flight works out.

Assuming the news story was accurate, and Foreign Affairs and the police are aware of this, you should be able to get automatic 30-day visa extensions, without leaving the country, indefinitely (at least while SARS is still deemed a threat).



He was contributing. Maybe you should go elsewhere. :unamused:

I sail on the boats mentioned in the article.

Acording to the owner of the boats there are no immigration facilities at Yonaguni. You are supposed to go to Ishigaki first.

This is not first-hand knowledge, so best check with the Japanese office in Taipei. They should be able to tell me where you can actually land in their country.

I doubt it would be hard to rent a boat capable of taking you to Yonaguni Island. Do any people live there? I know the Japanese immigration authorities run a tight ship. Methinks anybody who tries this runs the risk of being arrested for an illegal entry to Japan, deported through Ishigaki (or Naha) back to Taiwan at their own expense (and on their own when figuring out how to return the boat!), and having a stamp put in their passport denying them further entry into Japan. Japanese immigration authorities are trigger happy with this stamp, if the stories I’ve read are true.

Regarding the underwater “ruins” - nothing but natural formations; simply a case of humans seeing patterns were there are none. Martian canals, take two!
If you were to meet the people involved in spreading these notions, very much as Cranky Laowai says, you would find out that they are fruit cakes. Anyone who thinks there are underwater cities around Taiwan has been watching too many episodes of The X-files and the Relic Hunter. As a Yeti hunter from way back I know what I’m talking about.

TMWC, what kind of sealife have you seen on your sailing trips? Take sharks for example, there are over eighty species in the seas around Taiwan. Unfortunately, they are ruthlessly exploited by the local fishing industry, and becoming more and more rare.

Almas - I saw some little squid once, but everything else appears to have been eaten. I’ve jumped off the boat twice in the last six months, a few miles offshore both times, and never even been nibbled.

About this visa thing: I went to the police station today, as I’ve just lost my job and am waiting for the official notice to hand in my ARC and bugger off. I won’t get any kind of extension, as things stand anyway, but I also asked on behalf of a friend of mine who is at the end of a six-month stint as a student.

According to the oracle, they will currently give an extension until the end of May, ie not very long at all. I expect it might be possible to argue for more, but a copy of a newspaper article hardly seems like a binding policy you can expect to enforce.

Does anyone know any better?

Another question? What are the chances of arriving in Naha, or wherever, in search of a new visa and finding yourself in quarantine because you have come from a high-SARS area?

just dug this up while looking for something else:

taipeitimes.com/News/feat/ar … /04/134561

re: the quote below,
I visited these people on Green Island about half a year ago and managed to find their website again: www.angelfire.com/cantina/griggs
The weekend I spent there was much of a blurr as mentioned below “the green stuff”. :laughing: There were several people visiting for a party that weekend and I recall some mentioning a dive spot with such ruins they were planning to go to by charter boat.
Griggs and Kev are some very hospitable mates but not very easy to find even though the island is so small, but if you venture up to the party spot or swimming hole there’s a good chance of catching them there–see the map on their site.cheers

[quote=“AWOL”]I remember reading about a couple of foreigners living on Green Island mentioning they knew of ancient underwater ruins off or around Green Island. Their website url escapes me and there was extensive mentions of ‘the green stuff’ so I am not sure how credible their info was. :smiley:

I am a big fan of the islands surrounding Taiwan… some of my best memories of the place…[/quote]