Kabira Bay

Kabira Bay is probably the most photographed sightseeing spot on Ishigaki island. Positioned on the north west coast of the island, Kabira attracts thousands of tourists every year, all of whom are keen to see if the waters are truly as turquoise as guide books and advertisements promise. The good news is that people are rarely disappointed and you'll often hear exclamations of 'sugoi' (amazing) and 'kirei' (beautiful) from Japanese tourists who are enjoying the view from the observation point, which is situated just above the bay.
 
Kabira Bay. Ishigaki Island, JapanIshigaki's Kabira bay is famed for its emerald green waters
 
The view is truly impressive, and not one which you're likely to tire of quickly. It's not just the bay which is of interest; casting your eye further afield you'll be able to see Mt. Omoto clearly in the distance along with the Hirakubo peninsula which extends to the north on the other side of Ishigaki island (look closely and you may even be able to make out Mt. Nosoko's distinctive peak).

Can you swim at Kabira Bay?

Unfortunately not. Swimming is prohibited for a number of reasons such as strong currents, jelly fish and the presence of boats which routinely ferry passengers up and down the bay.
 
Glass-bottomed boatIf you fancy viewing the wonders of the ocean without getting wet then a glass-bottomed boat tour is for you
 

Tours on glass-bottomed boats which reveal the beauty of the ocean's coral reefs below are extremely popular. These businesses can seem like a license to print money, but at the same time the trips are reasonably priced at around ¥1000 Yen, and customers always seem to exit the boats with smiling faces when they return.

Kabira Bay. Ishigakijima, Japan.
The town of Kabira is small but visitors will find that most necessities are available. There is a large car park and various shops, restaurants and tour operators can be found in its immediate vicinity. There is a JP Bank ATM located in the town center, although it isn't available all weekend (ATM map here).

Shops and Restaurants

Given that this is one of the most visited tourist spots in Okinawa there is no shortage of shops selling souvenirs. There is also a handful of restaurants, all of which are great if you want to sample some local specialities, such as Yaeyama soba, or a plate of goya champuru - my personal favourite. These local establishments are generally inexpensive, with a reasonable set menu typically costing less than 1000 Yen (soba dishes range from just 650 Yen).

Gallery

The beauty of Kabira Bay is such that it warrants a trip to the north west coast of the island on its own merits. However, if you've got your own transport then a couple of hours here would fit well into any schedule involving Uganzaki, Sukuji beach, or Yonehara.
 
"If you pick up a modern guide book about Japan then there's a pretty good chance that it will include a photo of the emerald-green ocean at Kabira bay, one of Japan's only black pearl production sites. As a consequence Kabira bay has possibly become slightly overrated / overvisited, however, there's no doubt that it still offers one of the most impressive coastal views in Japan."

How to get to Kabira Bay

Kabira is located around 30 minutes from Ishigaki's city center by car. Fortunately you do not need a car as there are bus services which connect both the city center and the airport with Kabira bay. See our bus timetables page for more information.

A one-way taxi journey from the city will probably cost around ¥4000 - ¥5000.

 

Comments

Michelin Guide

So beautiful, really does look like paradise. I'm pretty sure I saw this place in the Michelin guide recently ...

Correct

Hi Dave,

That's right. It was recently selected for the Michelin guide, which has probably helped to promote the island as a tourist destination.

Still, although this is undoubtedly an incredible spot (particularly when the weather is nice) there are other places on the island which I find far more impressive. I'd rate a trip out to Uganzaki or a drive to the northern cape of the Hirakubo peninsula over a trip to Kabira bay in all honesty. Having said that, given that I live on Ishigaki the appeal of hanging out at a spot which is full of tourists has already worn off - perhaps that's one of the reasons why I favour the lesser-visited spots.

Still, there are so many beautiful spots near Kabira Bay that it's well worth visiting.

glass bottom boat

Went on a glass bottom boat tour in early January this year. Despite the weather being a quite overcast we were still able to see the amazing undersea sights. Thoroughly recommended!!