Being transported on a water buffalo-drawn carriage (suigyusha) is something of a tourist meme in the Yaeyama Islands of Okinawa.
Such rides are available on both Taketomi and Iriomote islands - the latter at Yubu-jima. On Taketomi Island, each carriage takes about twelve to fourteen passengers and the local driver/guide transports you around the picturesque village of traditional bungalows surrounded by coral stone walls bedecked with colorful bougainvillea and hibiscus.
The guide explains the local culture, flora and fauna and also finds time to strum an Okinawan tune on his sanshin as you trundle slowly down the lovely lanes for added atmosphere.
Many of the tour operators on Ishigaki Island offer buffalo cart rides as part of a tour of Taketomi otherwise it costs around 1,300 yen for the 30-minute ride.
Taketomi is a short 10-15 express boat ride from Ishigaki Ferry Terminal. Touts for the various rides wait in vans to transport you to Taketomi village, around 2km from the port.
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