|Native name: Japanese: Hateruma-jima
Aerial view of Hateruma
Hateruma in Japan
|Adjacent bodies of water||Pacific Ocean|
|Area||12.7 km2 (4.9 sq mi)|
|Coastline||14.8 km (9.2 mi)|
|Highest elevation||59.5 m (195.2 ft)|
Hateruma (波照間島; Hateruma-jima; Yaeyama: Hatirooma Okinawan: Hatiruma) is an island in the Yaeyama District of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Part of the town Taketomi, it is the southern-most inhabited island in Japan at 24°2’25” north latitude, 123°47’16” east longitude. Hateruma is one of the Yaeyama Islands, and is located 24 kilometres (15 mi) south of Iriomote-jima, the largest of the island group.
The primary products of the island include sugarcane, pineapple, refined sugar, and Awanami, a highly prized type of the alcoholic beverage awamori. Its southern location makes it one of the few places in Japan where the Southern Cross can be observed.
Hateruma is visited by a comparatively high number of Japanese tourists from Ishigaki on day trips, as it boasts the southernmost tip of land of Japan. In addition, the southernmost school and the southernmost police station of Japan are tourist attractions. Further places of interest include:
- In the only village several well-preserved old houses showing the traditional architecture with a hip roof, red tiles and a shisa statue on the top can be seen. Many old houses are still surrounded by a thick wall consisting of dark coral stones.
- In the village center there is a memorial to Oyake Akahachi, a rebel who was born on Haterumajima around 1500. The memorial was erected on a platform of coral stones.
- One of the most interesting buildings on Haterumajima is the old watchtower Kodomori dating from the 17th century. It was used for observing the ships sailing to and from Ishigaki. As the top of the tower was one of the highest points of the flat island, it was used for smoke signals and for signal lights. A similar tower, which is called Puzumari, can be visited on the neighboring island Kuroshima.
- On the south coast there is a memorial indicating the southernmost tip of land of Japan. The south coast is steep and the sea is very rough there.
- The north coast of Haterumajima is a favorite tourist destination because of its fine sand.
Hateruma Airport serves the island. Haterujima is easily accessible by ferry from Ishigaki several times a day. There are several guest houses and some shops and restaurants on the island. Bikes are for hire at the harbour.
Yamakei: Ryukyu Nansei Shoto, p. 120-121. Tokio 2003. ISBN 4-635-01718-4
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