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Uganzaki North Beach
"There are some people on Ishigaki island who would prefer that this beach remained a 'locals only' secret. Well, I'm a local too, but I'm of the opinion that access to spots like this shouldn't be restricted to a select few. If you're feeling a bit adventurous and you have access to personal transport then this may be the beach for you."
Having covered most of the standard beach haunts on Ishigaki island we decided to move on to some of the lesser-known spots which rarely / never appear in the guide books. A beach positioned on the north coast of the Sakieda peninsula, not far from the lighthouse, is one such spot which has failed to be picked up by the Japanese tourist radar. Make no mistake, this is one of the finest stretches of sand to be found on the island.
Your first impression may not be a good one. As you exit the path which leads to the beach you'll no doubt be greeted by a huge mound of rubbish (trash) which has been carried in by the tide and deposited at the back of the beach during high winds and typhoons. As is the case with many of the seldom-visited beaches on the island nobody makes much of an effort to remove these piles of plastic bottles etc and as such they represent an unwelcome stain on what would otherwise be a perfect scene.
Still, you'll soon forget the bottles when you step out onto the sand and take in what is one of the best views to be had from a beach on Ishigaki island. To the east you'll be able to see the Sukuji beach in the distance on a clear day and the ocean which lies in front of you is quite simply stunning. The quality of sand is pretty good on the whole and the large rocks which jut out from the beach make for a very interesting scene which you're unlikely to forget in a hurry.
We visited this spot on a Sunday afternoon during the height of the summer season, and even then we only saw a handful of individuals over a 2 hour period. Assuming that thousands of people don't swarm to this spot after having read this feature you can be pretty confident of enjoying plenty of peace and tranquility and this idyllic location.
It's true that the beaches around Uganzaki are very popular among locals who enjoy snorkeling, however, it should be noted that the council has erected a 'No Swimming' sign on the path which leads to the beach. Whether this is due to specific dangers or simply because they'd rather that people didn't swim in such a secluded area remains to be seen, but either way, beware that this is the official line. If you do get into trouble don't assume that there will be anybody on the beach to help as this spot is often completely deserted, even during the summer.
To access this beach follow the road on the north side of the peninsula as if you were driving to the lighthouse. Eventually you'll see the path to the beach on your right which is marked by a few bluish boulders at its entrance.
Parking: Some people do park just inside the entrance but there's also a small parking area further up the road on the right.