Hirabanari Island

"I'd been living on Ishigaki island for over a year before I found this incredible spot by chance while driving around the Northwest of the island. Follow the simple instructions that I've included at the bottom of this page and you should be able to find it within a few minutes drive from Sukuji beach."
If you're planning on travelling to Ishigaki's north west coast and you have your own transport I highly recommend that you make time to visit Kabira's cape to enjoy the stunning view of Hirabanarijima which is located just off the northern coast of the peninsula. From Sukuji beach the drive takes no more than 5-10 minutes and along the way you'll be able to enjoy the topiary-lined boulevard which circles the north of the peninsula and leads to Club Med.
 
Hirabanare islandHirapanarijima is a beauitful island located just off the coast of Kabira's northern cape.
 
Hirabanarijima (or Hirapanarijima) litearlly translates to 'level offshore island', but in actual fact it's anything but flat. It's a small yet rugged island which is separated from Ishigaki by a beautiful stretch of emerald-green ocean. It is best viewed from an elevated position and a great look-out point can be found if you can find a pretty well concealed dirt track which leads up a hill.

On a clear sunny day the view of the island and the reef which surrounds it is absolutely stunning; it's one of those views which makes you realise that you did the right thing by spending so much time and money travelling to Ishigaki. This is one spot on the island which will really make most of us feel a long way from home (in a good way).

Private beach

One of the first things that you'll notice is that there's a beautiful, probably deserted, small beach right below you as you gaze towards the island. This is a lovely spot to enjoy an afternoon by the ocean and I'd really recommend that you make time to check it out if you're a beach lover.

I should point out that there's a fair bit of rubbish on the beach in the form of empty bottles which have been washed in by the tide. In addition the quality of sand isn't great, but this is often the case when coral reefs are positioned so close to the shoreline; dead pieces of coral are washed ashore in storms and typhoons. I've come to appreciate this but if you're one of those people who insists on a smooth sandy beach you may be disappointed.

Hirabanari beachA small path leads down from the look-out point to a secluded beach

Directions

Very few tourists see this part of the island, and this is probably due to the fact that it's not marked as a sightseeing spot in any of the free Japanese magazines which are available at the airport. If you know where you're going the look-out point and the path to the beach are easy to find, but it took me about 20 minutes of driving around in circles. Hopefully the following directions will save you some petrol.

left turn for the kabira cape coastal road1) Take a left here off the topiary-lined loop road and join the Kabira cape coastal road.

As you enter Kabira follow signs for Sukuji beach, but instead of turning left at the fork in the road, turn right (signposted Club Med), continuing along the road and up the hill. You'll enter a stretch of road which is lined with beautiful palm tress and you'll eventually come to a Junction, at which point you should turn left.

From this point onwards you'll be on the topiary-lined road which circles the north of the peninsula and passes by Club Med. This is a lovely road and you may chose to do a lap of it before making your way to the lookout point. So, assuming that you've turned onto this road follow the directions in the photos.

 

2) A couple of dirt tracks lead off the coastal road. This is the second on the left (as indicated by my highly-efficient Japanese assistant).
Look-out3) Walk down the dirt track and you'll arrive here. Climb the hill for a great view of the island or take the track to the right to access the beach
 

Comments

Taiwan to ishigaki

How is this island covered from Taiwan. I found no direct flight from Tw. Are there only these expensive trips up to Naha, or even Tokio by airplane.
Thank you for replying.

cheers
Michael