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White sand beaches, clear waters: This Japanese island is a tropical paradise that tourism forgot

Even with the steamy sun hovering in the clear blue midafternoon sky, the decision to walk to our accommodation from the airport, bags in tow, is easily made.

My friend and I have just arrived in Yoron, a small island that forms part of Japan’s Amami Islands archipelago that sits just to the north of Okinawa.

We have been on trains and aeroplanes since 5.00am, but with the land mass of Yoron spanning only 20 square kilometres (eight square miles), everything feels accessible.

And with white sand beaches and shallow aqua blue waters visible on the horizon, even dragging luggage through the streets of an unknown town feels enjoyable.

After five minutes of walking, a five-seater Honda stops in the middle of the road to offer us a lift – our first taste of the island’s small-town hospitality.

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