Ishigaki-jima – 石垣島
Words like sea and summer can bring views of Okinawa to our minds.
On Around Japan we have previously featured Miyako and Tokashiki: now, the “Japanese sub-tropical islands” series continues with Ishigaki!
What’s special about Ishigaki?
Closer to Taipei than Tōkyō, Ishigaki is part of the Yaeyama Islands arcipelago, it is deeply characterized by the ancient Ryūkyū Reign’s culture,
emerald-blue waters and breathtaking natural landscapes.
The urbanized southern area is plenty with hotels, shops and restaurant, where one can’t miss the island’s shushi.
Tourist spots are scattered all around the island surface, but the major one is no doubt the Kabira Bay, in the north-west:
this green and blue kaleidoscope represent the concept for sub-tropical island at its best: a must-see view!
Here one can step on glass-bottom boats to behold tropical fish, coral reefs and sea-turtles in their natural habitat.
Other places that are worth the trip are on the peninsula which extends to the north-east: it becomes narrower and narrower, up to the Tamatori-zaki panoramic terrace, which holds a hibiscus-framed view on the ocean.
I was especially touched by Hirakubo-zaki, with its lighthouse watching the green meadows melting with the transparent waters.
We suggest you to do some light hiking in Ogan-zaki in the western part of Ishigaki, where some views remind us of a typical Scottish scenery.
Other islands near Ishigaki
There are many islands you can visit on a day-trip from Ishigaki, here’s what we picked up!
Iriomote – 西表島
In the deep jungle of Iriomote Island you might be lucky enough to encounter the cat if Iriomote (Prionailurus Iriomotensis), or yet visit the mangrove forest on a kayak.
picture credits: @benedettaross89
Taketomi – 竹富島
Taketomi is a bunch of minutes far from Ishigaki’s port: here you can see the traditional Okinawan stone fences.
The transparency of this island’s waters is unbelievable: even if you walk away from the strand, the waters remain shallow and the bottom is always visible.
Take a rest on one of this wonderful beaches.
Especially, we recommend the Kondoi-beach area.
Kohama – 小浜島
Located between Ishigaki and Iriomote, Kohama is a treasure in terms of nature. Haimurubushi beach has seen its popularity growing remarkably in these years, especially thanks to some luxury resort hotels which opened here. Kohama is enjoyable for honeymooners, people looking for a luxury stay, but you can also find cozy guest houses and stay on the budget side!
Yonaguni – 与那国島
Yonaguni is the westernmost Island of Japan, only 105 km far from the Taiwanese island of Gushān.
Here important world war 2 sites are still visible, which make the Island an open-air museum for history lovers.
Getting to Ishigaki
Here you will find the information for reaching Ishigaki Island.