Taniwha

Cafe Taniwha has become somewhat of an institution for many islanders with many of its customers being individuals who have permanently relocated from mainland Japan to Ishigaki. If you're looking for a modern bar then you might look elsewhere, but if you're interested in meeting some interesting locals and learning more about the island then this warm, welcoming bar, which has firm roots in Ishigaki's community comes highly recommended.
 
kuri and fusaKuri and Fusa have made friends with hundreds of foreigners who have visited Ishigaki island
 
It is owned by a couple from Tokyo, Fusa and Kuri who made the move from Tokyo to Ishigaki many years ago in search of a relaxed rural lifestyle. An interest in sailing prompted them to up sticks and travel to New Zealand with their family where they lived for a year before sailing back to Japan via numerous south pacific islands on a boat which they purchased during their travels. They still sail locally and have developed friendships with hundreds of sailors; the bar is full of foreign flags and postcards sent from old friends and foreigners who have sailed to the island. If you're planning on sailing to Ishigaki then Fusa and Kuri are likely to become valuable contacts during your stay.
Taniwha

Local Vibe

This is definitely one of the friendliest bars on the island and within just a few minutes of stepping through the door you're bound to encounter a few locals (some of whom are a little eccentric) who'd like to find out more about where you're from and what you're doing on the island.

It is also good spot to learn more about Ishigaki, and if you're planning on an extended stay there's a good chance that you'll make a few good friends at Taniwha.

Events

Taniwha occasionally hosts live acts by local artists - don't hesitate to pop in and ask about upcoming events as both Fusa and Kuri speak English.

Early Doors

While many bars on Ishigaki cater to the island's late scene, which tends to get going after midnight, Taniwha tends to fill up far earlier in the evening, with its doors closing before 12.00pm on most evenings. This makes it a great place to kick off an evening before other bars in the center start to fill up.

goya juice

Drinks

A great thing about Taniwha is that it serves beers which are closer in volume to a traditional pint than those served at most of the other bars on the island (and for the same price).

One drink which you really should try if you're up for a bit of a challenge is a glass of freshly-squeezed goya (500 yen). Goya is a bitter-tasting Okinawan vegetable which is rich in vitamin C and has many claimed health benefits. For an extra 150 yen the addition of awamori makes for a surprisingly tasty combo. Kuri explained that within reason he'll add any spirit that you like to a soft drink for 150 yen!

In terms of cocktails and international beers Taniwha's menu is far more limited than many other bars on the island, but this is in keeping with the style of this bar, which serves simple drinks to regulars who come back time and again. A good range of soft drinks are also on offer with popular choices including hot chocolate and lemon juice made with freshly-squeezed lemon.

Food

Taniwha serves a reasonable selection of dishes which include a beef burger set menu which is made from Ishigaki beef, pasta dishes, a vegetable curry and a selection of pizzas. Meals are priced from around 800 yen.
 
Taniwha is open between noon and 11.00pm, Tuesday to Saturday (closed on Sunday and Monday).

Location

Taniwha entrance

Taniwha is located on the outskirts of Ishigaki's nightlife district and its rather plain appearance means that many people pass it by without a second thought, which is a shame as it has a lot to offer.

The bar is located just a few minutes walk north east of Misakichou. Head towards Okawa, past the 'Ayapani Mall' shopping arcade on the right and cross a main road. Continue walking and you'll come across Taniwha on your right.

 

Comments

Thank you so much

Sure enough at Taniwha Cafe you meet wonderful people.
Starting with Kuri and Fusa. Wonderful, friendly, genuine people.
They made us feel so welcome. We surely made a lot of friends there.
Thanks again for your website Richard, great info on
Ishigaki, very helpful. It was a pleasure to meet
you. We would like to highly recommended Taniwha Cafe, as
a place to feel the neighbourhood life and meet great people.
We had unforgettable times there.
Mark and Diane from Whaletown,BC.Canada

great times

If you go to ishigaki. A must visit.

Great times at Taniwha

Hi Last year I was lucky enough to visit Ishigaki 3 times. Taniwha was fantastic it gave me the true island feeling
I am saving to go there again.
Thank you
Tony from Cairns Australia

all so true

First we met Kuri and Fusa in NZ at the start of their sailing trip.
A few months later in Fiji we shared an anchorage.
No Big Surprise to see them again a few years later in Ishigaki (2006 & 2010).
Land-locked in their superb "hang-out" Taniwa...they still are cruisers.
Hope to sail down to Ishigaki soon and enjoy your hospitality!
Cheerio they say,
marijke & jaap