Take a Buffalo to Yubu IslandYubu Island, Japan
For an island that’s only 1.5 metres above sea level and has a perimeter of two kilometres, Yubu has a lot going for it. Sitting just 500 metres from the eastern coast of Iriomote Island in Okinawa, Yubu formed when sand flowing from Iriomote’s Yonara River and picked up by the sea’s current settled here. Its lush landscape is home to a subtropical botanical garden, butterfly house, cafe and incredible ocean views. But the most memorable part of a visit to Yubu is the ride there.
To access Yubu, you’ll have to hop aboard a cart, which is then pulled through the water – it never gets any deeper than an adult’s knees – by a buffalo. The journey takes 15 to 20 minutes – the timing is greatly dependent on the temperament of the ox – and features a performance by the cart driver on the sanshin, a traditional Okinawan stringed instrument.
The buffaloes and their drivers share a bond, as they’re paired up for the entirety of their careers. This is the perfect way to witness man and animal working together, making the experience all that more special.
It costs about US$12 to take the buffalo cart. The price includes access to Yubu Island.