The former kingdom of Ryukyu, Okinawa
is Japan's subtropical south, a long chain of islands stretching all
the way up to Taiwan.
Covered in dense jungle and mangroves, Iriomote is Okinawa's second-largest island but one of its least populated.
Shown: Mariyudu Falls and the Urauchi River valley
The hub of the southern Yaeyama Islands, known for its beaches and manta rays.
Bay before an approaching storm
A tiny island (pop. 300) off Ishigaki that draws visitors with its traditional village and beautiful beaches.
Traditional houses in the central village
This small windswept island is the westernmost point of Japan.