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With only 300 residents, the small Yaeyama island of Taketomi is one of the most popular day trips from neighboring Ishigaki Island. Yet despite this daily influx of tourism, it manages to retain its traditional feel and simple way of life.

The coral sand streets that run through the island’s small village (also named Taketomi) are far more suited to bicycle tires than cars and, as my companion and I pedal between flower-covered walls, I quickly find myself considering plans to abandon mainland life for good.

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