- Travel Info
- Photo Diary
Kayaking on Ishigaki is a popular activity which can be enjoyed by all the family. The two main places to kayak are Fukido river, which is located to the north, not far from Yonehara, and Miyara river, which is located on the south east coast, just a few miles from the airport. Both of these rivers are surrounded by protected mangrove forests.
The waters are extremely calm making river kayaking on Ishigaki in an activity which offers relaxation and the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the mangrove forests rather than thrills.
There are a number of eco tour operators which offer kayaking along these rivers and prices start at around ¥5000 for an adult. Note that these tours are guided and there is no facility to simply rent a kayak for personal use. Groups of kayaks depart together, however, the tours aren't particularly regimented and you'll enjoy a certain level of freedom to go where you want.
Those who can read katakana will notice that Japanese operators tend to use the word 'canoe' in their adverts, however, what they are actually offering are kayaking tours.
Those wishing to experience something a bit more adventurous may prefer ocean kayaking. The waters which surround Ishigaki are extremely clear meaning that the reefs below can be viewed from above the surface (polarized sunglasses will enhance the experience). A recommended option is to join a tour which combines kayaking with reef snorkeling. These tours provide a great opportunity to explore areas of reef further from the shore which may otherwise be hard to find.
For those wishing to try some unguided ocean kayaking a good place to start is at Ishigaki's Maezato beach where kayaks can be rented for around ¥2000 for half an hour.
Quality kayaking can be enjoyed on Ishigaki island, however, many people choose to head out to Iriomote island to enjoy its wild and rugged terrain. Tours which operate here offer both river and ocean kayaking with trekking and snorkeling often being combined to form a day trip. Such tours typically cost upwards of ¥10,000, but this includes a the return trip from Ishigaki to Iriomote island.
In my opinion a kayak offers one of the best ways of discovering the beauty of the ocean. I've spent hours at sea with friends exploring reef edges without anybody needing to return to shore for rest or refreshments. When heading out into deeper water in search of mantas it's always reassuring to know that I have a kayak waiting on the surface, just in case I have a sudden urge to get out of the ocean!