Amami (Naze), Amami Oshima, Japan

Amami Oshima is an island located between Kyushu and Okinawa. Blessed with a warm Kuroshio ocean current from the south and a subtropical climate, its beaches and coral reefs attract many Japanese and other visitors in the summer. The island is under consideration for UNESCO Natural World Heritage status, based on its unique ecosystems and endemic species. The Amami black rabbit is considered a remnant of an ancient Asian species now extinct elsewhere. The Kuroshio no Mori Mangrove Forest is Japan’s second-largest, and the Kinsakubaru Virgin Forest of tall umbrella tree ferns is also unique in the world. The islanders raise rice and sugarcane, used to manufacture a brown sugar spirit called Shochu. They also preserve a traditional method of weaving and dying pure silk pongee called Oshima Tsumugi.