The understated and modest villas at the Hoshinoya Taketomi Island resort are a far cry from the characterless concrete and stucco of many beach resorts, but then again, this is Japan, where tradition and elegant simplicity are standard. The island of Taketomi prohibits modern buildings and encourages the traditional practices of red-tiled roofs and gukku stone walls with embedded talismans. Accommodations are either Japanese-style with tatami mats and futons, or more western with wood floors and modern furniture; all have deep soaking tubs, private gardens, and floor-to-ceiling windows that can be fully opened to let in the outdoors. The restaurant serves nouvelle French cuisine featuring island seafood and local ingredients, and the lounge encourages guests to unwind with a beverage and a book. For more active stays, the swimming pool is heated and shaded by banyan trees, and guests may borrow a bicycle to explore the island’s white coral sand beaches and watch the sun rise and set from the observation deck. The resort is reached by ferry and a shuttle from Ishigaki port, and visitors get around the island by water buffalo cart rather than car.