- Travel Info
- Photo Diary
Welcome to Ishigaki
Japan's Finest Beaches
If you're looking for a beach holiday in Japan then there are few, if any locations, which can rival the beautiful coastlines which surround Ishigaki and its neighbouring islands in the Yaeyama archipelago.
Net-protected beaches, such as those found at Maezato and Fusaki, are particularly popular with families, but more adventurous individuals may chose to head out to more secluded spots where coral reefs can often be found just meters from the shore.
What Ishigaki lacks in terms of man-made tourist spots, such as the shrines and temples which are ubiquitous throughout much of Japan, it more than makes up for in terms of natural beauty.
In 2009 the island received international attention when Kabira bay was awarded 3 stars by the Michelin guide. This came as no huge surprise among those who have visited Ishigaki, but if the truth be known there are other spots on the island, such as the capes of Uganzaki and Hirakubo along with the peak of Mt. Nosoko, which comfortably rival the beauty of the emerald green waters of Kabira bay.
Although it's beaches, sights and nature which attract hundreds of thousands of Japanese tourists to the island every year, Ishigaki has a surprisingly vibrant late scene which is based around the entertainment district of 'Misakichou'. Like most cities in Japan the doors of many bars stay open until the early hours of the morning as customers sip their way through Orion beer and bottles of awamori.
Many of the better establishments are tucked-away and often missed by foreign tourists but our guide should help to orient you for a quality night on the town.
Getting to Ishigaki
March 2013 saw the long-awaited opening of Ishigaki's new airport, which is just north of Shiraho. The island is located around 2000km from Tokyo in Okinawa's deep south, with a direct flight from the capital taking about 3.5 hours.The good news is that if you live outside Japan you are entitled to huge discounts on domestic flights to Ishigaki, along with many other Japanese cities. Our guide gives you the lowdown on how to make the most of these fares.
Festivals and Culture
- Scalable within 45 minutes, the panoramic view from Mt. Nosoko's peak is one of the finest on the island.
- Take a ride to the tip of Kabira's peninsula to check out this rarely-visited sightseeing spot which has stayed off the tourist radar.
- Those who make the 1 hour trip to the island's northernmost cape are unlikely to be disappointed by the view which awaits them.
- Thousands of spectators line the streets to watch the 'tsunanumin' battle which marks the climax of this harvest festival.
- One of the most photographed scenes in Okinawa, the emerald-green waters of Kabira bay rarely fail to impress.
- Yaeyama's semi-tropical climate supports many mangrove-lined rivers and the best way to explore them is by kayak.
- A snorkel set and a set of fins is probably the best way to explore Ishigaki's beautiful coral reefs.
- Combining the best of both worlds, sunset beach offers net-protected swimming along with an idyllic setting.
- The lighthouse at Uganzaki overlooks one of the most dramatic landscapes on Ishigaki island.
- For the ultimate deserted-beach experience check out this secret spot which lies just a few minutes from the Uganzaki lighthouse.
- Ishigaki's Yonehara beach is known for the huge expanse of coral which lies just meters from its shoreline.