The fourth happiest country in the world, where citizenship can be purchased with bitcoins, Vanuatu is a place where you can visit a cannibal village and the currency is the “Vatu” (Japanese: Batsu) not the Thai “Baht” (Baatsu).


So far on the Domain Island Tour, I traveled 40 hours one way to Tuvalu to find out if I could use an iPhone there, and even went to Cyprus and ran around with a questionnaire to find out how many people owned bitcoins.
This time, I heard a rumor that there is a village in the Republic of Vanuatu where people eat human flesh! So, I went to see if that is true.

The ccTLD (country code top level domain) is “.vu”.

The eating of human flesh by other humans is called “Cannibalism”.
Many people know about cannibalism because of the story line of the super popular comic “Tokyo Ghoul” which has sold 37 million copies worldwide, and also because of the movie “Cannibal Holocaust”.

The Republic of Vanuatu is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Vanuatu has 83 islands, including the curiously named Erromango Island. The currency is the “Vatu” (Vt, VUV) (Japanese: Batsu). It has nothing to do with the Thai “Baht” (Baatsu), though in Japanese it sounds almost the same. It’s a popular resort island where you can hide away from the world and enjoy nature and the beautiful ocean, as well as traditional culture and customs. Or, is it a place where you have to hide away because the traditional culture and customs include cannibalism…? This is just a bit scary.

Table of Contents
◆Man-eating Village that Francis Xavier may have Visited
◆The Flavor, and How to Cook Human Meat
◆Other Thrilling Spots on Vanuatu
◆Caution! An Over-priced Shop in the Airport
◆The Fourth Happiest Country in the World, Vanuatu, become a Citizen and Purchase your Own Private Island
◆Dreaming of Life on a Private Island with the “.vu” Domain
◆Interesting Things on Vanuatu
◆How to Purchase a SIM Locally & Test the Internet Speed

◆Man-eating Village that Francis Xavier may have Visited

I was informed that the man-eating village is on Rano Island, so from Port Vila Bauerfield Airport on Efate Island, the capital of Vanuatu, I caught a propeller plane to Norsup Airport on Malakula Island.
Since domestic flights often change their departure time, be careful if an e-mail with “Important Information from Air Vanuatu” in the subject line arrives the day before departure. The return flight which was supposed to be in the evening was switched to lunch time.

A cute little plane that can seat about 20 people.

After an hour, I arrive at Norsup Airport. I heard that on days with heavy rain, flights cannot land or take off from this airport.

There are only two huts, but it’s a decent airport.

The staff brought the luggage in the rear car.

A tourist map of Malakula Island at the airport.

There’s a market area behind the airport, but it seems to be empty.

About 15 minutes by car heading north from Norsup Airport, I arrive at the opposite side of Rano Island, my destination.
Here we will switch to a boat and head for Rano Island.

I feel like this boat resembles the one from the river Styx.

Maybe I don’t really want to go to this island? The face of the boatmen is somehow cold and grim.

The boat ride was 7 minutes. Finally, I arrive at Rano Island.
The view is wonderful. It doesn’t feel like a place where people are eaten, but I don’t want to let down my guard.

The guide will lead us to the man-eating village (Amelbati). I’m going to follow this guide very closely.
Wait, but what if the guide is a member of the tribe?… I feel the paranoia creeping up my neck.

Fearful trees surround us. I hope we make it back before dark! My footfalls seem very heavy.

I found a stone monument. It’s a monument to Francis Xavier, I took a photograph in gratitude for the thought that this is the same Xavier that came to Japan. However, after returning home, I checked this out more carefully and actually Xavier did not go to Vanuatu. So, what is this monument? If you look at the picture carefully it might just be old graffiti. The thing sticking out in the middle is also mysterious, I can’t rule out the possibility that this thing might have come from outer space.

Speaking of Xavier, his tonsure style is famous, maybe it happened after a scare from cannibals…

Finally, we arrive in the village of Amelbati.

I see a villager! They do not have washing machines, they draw water from a well and wash things by hand. The red color is not blood.

The children in the village greet me with smiles.
I couldn’t help but hope they weren’t really thinking “Dinner came!”

Going further into the village. I was shown to a place with an alter called Nasara.

There are pillars like totem poles remaining here.

When I walked around, I found a clearing. Long ago, men and women used to live separately on Rano Island, and this where the men used to live.

And then…!!!

I discover human skulls! I was told, “That belongs to someone who was eaten, but you can touch it.”. However, I declined. Before eating, they would dance ceremonial dances before the Nasara (altar) and then eat the human flesh in the evening of that day, then, according to their regulations they had to remain there for 15 days after eating.

On the Malakula Islands, including Rano Island, there were many tribal conflicts, and it seems they ate the captives of enemy tribes as a ceremonial “rite”. The purpose of eating human flesh was not for food, but to capture the power of the enemy tribe.

◆The Flavor, and How to Cook Human Meat

Human flesh doesn’t last long, so much of it was smoked, and as the taste was similar to wild boar, strong-smelling and gamey, it was often eaten with shellfish and other such ingredients. Many seashells were thrown out along with the human bones at the ruins.
Eating human flesh may cause an accumulation of “prion” proteins that affect the structure of nerve tissue in the brain, resulting in diseases that can be fatal without treatment. The Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea used to have a high occurrence of Kuru disease, caused by the custom of funerary cannibalism. Fortunately, there are many other delicious meats to eat, such as beef, poultry or pork, so there is no need to take the risk of eating human meat.

By the way, as for cannibalism in Japan, there is a tale of Nobunaga Oda making Nagamasa Asai’s skull into a cup and drinking alcohol from it, but according to “Shinchoko-ki” (The Biography of Nobunaga ODA), in fact, he only had gold leaf painted onto the skull in order to show it off to everyone. However, according to one record, when Hideyoshi Hashiba attacked Tottori Castle in a military campaign, the resulting starvation and mental fatigue caused the people under siege to fight over corpses.
Let’s go further into Amelbati Village.

A totem pole carving with a pipe.

After walking a while, I arrived at an altar for ancient tribal chiefs. When a tribal chief died, he was buried in the ground up to his neck in the standing position. After 7 days the head was cut off, burned and his bones worshiped on the altar.

Ritual cannibalism was practiced on Rano Island up until the 1960’s, but has now ceased. Approximately 80% of villagers are engaged in agriculture, mainly eating local fruits, coconuts, taro and yam tubers. If you come to this village for sightseeing you will not be eaten, so breathe easy. The people of Amelbati are friendly people who are proud of their culture.

For this trip, South Pacific Tours coordinated all the arrangements. They can handle inquires in Japanese. I recommend doing this kind of sightseeing under the supervision of a guide. However, the guide cannot speak Japanese.

◆Other Thrilling Spots on Vanuatu

1. The Birthplace of Bungy Jumping
Pentecost island of Vanuatu has a kind of land-diving which is the origin of bungy jumping. Bungy jumping is often thought of as a “Coming of age ritual” or a “Test of bravery” but actually it is a ritual to celebrate the yam harvest and is held in April to June every year.

2. Yasur Volcano on Tanna Island
Mount Yasur is famous as the world’s most frequently approached active volcano. If you go to the top, you can see explosions of bright red lava spewing out. It is said to be the most beautiful between 17:30 and 18:00 when the sun begins to sink.

There are other active volcanoes in Vanuatu, the eruption of Manaro Volcano occurred on July 26, 2018, and delayed flights from Fiji to Japan. In addition, the idea of “Vanuatu’s Law”, that an earthquake will occur in Japan after an earthquake occurs in Vanuatu, has become a hot topic, some feel that the Hokkaido Earthquake of September 6, 2018, was an example of this.

◆Caution! An Over-priced Shop in the Airport

Please look at this shop on the far left of the waiting room for boarding international flights.

The kindly lady who runs the shop sells items at twice the price of other stores in the airport.
• 500 ml can of cola 300 vatu (about 300 yen) / other stores: 160 vatu (about 160 yen)
• Potato chips 400 vatu (about 400 yen) / other stores: 200 vatu (about 200 yen)
Even though you think all the prices will be the same in the same airport, don’t forget to check before buying!

◆The Fourth Happiest Country in the World, Vanuatu, become a Citizen and Purchase your Own Private Island

According to the Happy Planet Index of the UK think tank “New Economics Foundation” (NEF), Vanuatu is the world’s fourth happiest country when evaluating the following items, “Life satisfaction”, “Longevity”, and “Concern for the Environment.” In addition, as part of fiscal rebuilding measures, they have started selling honorary citizenship rights.
The price for citizenship is 165,000 dollars (about 18.5 million yen), but this may seem like a small amount for permanent residence in the fourth happiest country in the world! Click here for details on how to purchase honorary citizenship.

Although it was rumored that citizenship could be purchased with bitcoins, the Vanuatu office for citizenship is currently denying this claim.

Vanuatu sells not only citizenship, but also private islands. I guess this is not unexpected as Vanuatu is composed of about 83 islands.
Rather than buying a super expensive condo in Tokyo, those who have plenty of money can purchase a private island in Vanuatu and spend their old age in luxury (though these islands are pretty much uninhabited.)

◆Dreaming of Life on a Private Island with the “.vu” Domain

It is hard to maintain an unspoiled uninhabited island by yourself, but how about enjoying tropical life in a hotel or a rental house already built on a private island? If you surf hotel or real estate sites using the “.vu” domain for Vanuatu, your expectations will grow.


Vanuatu, which used to have cannibalistic rituals, is now a very safe South Pacific destination.

Every year many Japanese tourists are visiting Vanuatu to experience the year round calm climate, beautiful nature and ocean, and good security.
A visa for Vanuatu is not necessary if you are staying less than 30 days for sightseeing.
How about a tropical vacation to one of Vanuatu’s private islands?

Click here for how to visit Vanuatu

◆Interesting Things on Vanuatu

  • A French gentlemen I met on Rano Island
    Anticipating that there would be no restaurants, he put couscous in a plastic bottle. To eat, he cut the pet bottle in half and used the halves as dishes. He must be an experienced traveler.

  • The popular Chinese restaurant “Golden Port Restaurant & Hotel”
    I came to investigate cannibalism, but of course there are many delicious restaurants on Vanuatu. The taxi driver in Port Vila, Efate Island, sent me to the Golden Port Restaurant & Hotel for lunch time.

You can relax in a comfortable restaurant overlooking the vast ocean.

Yakisoba, 1180 vatu (about 1,180 yen), Hong Kong style fried soba with thin noodles, salty or sour. Stir-fried beef, 1480 vatu (about 1,480 yen) the beef is soft and I had a good appetite.

Although it’s fun to eat local cuisine, Chinese food is familiar wherever you go and is rarely bad, so I recommended it when you are abroad and don’t know what to eat.

  • Coconut crab
    At the entrance to the Golden Port Restaurant & Hotel, I found a cage holding coconut crabs. On the islands of the Pacific, this crab is a kind of high-class ingredient, often boiled or steamed like lobster. In Japan, you can eat this same kind in Miyakojima.

◆How to Purchase a SIM Locally & Test the Internet Speed

I brought the overseas WiFi router Glocalme, but I couldn’t use it in Vanuatu. I recommend purchasing the local SIM. You can purchase a SIM from the company “Digicel” at the Port Vila Bauerfield Airport. As soon as you pass customs and immigration, it will be on the left.

SIM plans of 500 MB were selling for 2000 vatu (about 2,000 yen). Rest assured, you can ask the staff to help you set up the SIM.

I checked the internet speed at was a standard speed of 5.9 Mbps.

■Places I visited during this Domain Island Tour.

Click here for how to visit Vanuatu

■For Vanuatu Domain “.vu” Click Here