Kitadaito Island’s Phosphorous Mine Ruins

Three hundred and twenty kilometers from the Okinawa mainland, two small islands sit alone in the South Pacific.  The Daito Islands, one time the Borodinos, have a short history, having been settled only 100 years ago.  Still they made it in time for both world wars.  Kitadaito is the smaller of the two islands, and boasts one of the most unique blendings of culture in Japan.  During the war, Kitadaito was settled mainly to harvest phosphorous.  It never became a major producer, and eventually the mine was shut down.  Now Kitadaito Island is known for sugarcane, unbelievably delicious kabocha (like pumpkin), potatoes, and products from the getto plant.  Still, among the island’s beauty lies a look back into another age.  The ruins of the mine still stand today near the West Port.