Hateruma is 42 kilometers southwest of Ishigaki. It is the southernmost populated island in Japan. A monument noting this stands on Takana Point. The island’s circumference is 15 kilometers. The name comes from “Hate no uruma”, or “the last coral reef.” There is also a legend that in Ryukyu Kingdom times the people of Hateruma, groaning under exorbitant taxes, sought to flee to a southern paradise called “Pati-roma”. Tough Fukugi trees, planted as a windbreak, shelter the village, giving it an old-time look. From February to June, you can see the Southern Cross over the southern horizon.