Village in Amami Islands:Yorojima Island - 3 : Landscape of cora stone walls
(Setouchi, Amami Islands, Kagoshima, Japan)

The highlight of Yorojima Island is a beautiful village landscape with coral stone walls. It is one of the most splendid villages in the Amami Islands. Once, various islands in this region would have been coral stone walls. However, with the advent of block walls, they have been replaced into it considerably. Yorojima Island is the only island that remains coral stone walls of large scale.

In general, rich people or wealthy farmers built coral stone walls, but Yorojima Island had a custom of collecting coral stone and building coral stone walls with the whole village. That made not only wealthy farmers but also ordinary islanders possible to create. It is the reason why Yorojima Island has large-scale coral stone walls. Various projects support repair of coral stone walls, so a beautiful village landscape is maintained.

The height of the coral stone wall is about 1.2m to 2.2m. The coral stone wall close to the exterior wall of houses seems to be relatively high, while the lower coral stone wall stands mainly in gardens and farmlands. The reason that the walls around the house are high may be a measure against typhoons. Meanwhile the walls around the farmlands seem to be low due to the function of a shade. Coral stones have various types. Some walls use a flat slate-shaped coral stone, and others use a fist-shaped coral stone. The mixture of both types also exists. The old walls are stained due to rain, but, in some walls, the upper few steps are shining white. Every time the islanders collect new coral stones, they may pile up to strengthen measures against typhoons.

The gaps created by stacking are excellent environmental devices to prevent strong wind and moisture from filling while allowing a breeze to pass through. They are also the favorite place for a yellow-spotted pit viper to live. For plants, they are the floor suitable for parasitizing and clinging. Some coral stone walls resemble a group planting of ground cover, while others are overwhelmed by the aerial roots of a tree. The environment that a yellow-spotted pit viper prefers more has appeared.

To Japanese Version

Google Maps


Amami Tourism
Setouchi Town Sightseeing Site

Accommodations in Yorojima Island

"日本歴史地名大系 (47) 鹿児島県の地名"(平凡社,1998)
"角川日本地名大辞典 46 鹿児島県"(「角川日本地名大辞典」編纂委員会,角川書店,1983)
"郷土資料事典 鹿児島県"(人文社,1998)

2021.03 Photos in English version, and photos and text in Japanese version


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Yorojima Island : Landscape of cora stone walls

Photo by Daigo Ishii


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