To close out the summer this past year we headed over to Iki Island for one last weekend of sun and ocean. It's a two hour ferry ride from Fukuoka that takes you through Hakata Bay and past other islands along the way.
We stayed in Minatoya Guesthouse, recommended by a friend—a total treasure find. It is run by a young couple: she is a professional diver (ama, free-diver in a 2,000 year old tradition) and he is a professional angler. Dinner at the guesthouse is an exquisite spread of their daily catches. They are an exhaustive example of hospitality and kindness. One night the husband suggested crossing the street to his friend's bar with the other two guests (one who had a very interesting project with an ad agency to bring attention to these forgotten islands). I motioned for Pedro to go on and that I would stay with Peter, now sleeping. His wife didn't hesitate to offer to keep an eye on him for me while I went to enjoy time out as well.
The island was much bigger than I expected. I was imagining a little outpost with just some sand and a few stores with basics. However, there were several different towns on the island all a good distance apart by car. The drives were nice, through green mountains and rice paddies. We beach hopped both days scouting out our favorite. We got lucky one afternoon when our toddler slept and we got two hours of glorious relaxation with the beach completely to ourselves.
During dinner the first night in the guesthouse we met some people at the table next to us who were mostly veterinarians (from the island) or studying to be one (visiting). The next morning one of the local ones popped his head in to ask if we wanted to visit some cattle farms on the island. It seemed like a random plan but we said yes and it actually turned out to be an interesting romp through some tucked away corners of the island. Iki is known for it's beef and on an island of 28,000 people, there are 800 cattle farms! Mostly micro ones, but still an impressive number. He took us around to three of them which was also a great way to meet some locals.