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Ishigaki City Center
If you're new to the town you may want to head for the 730 crossing as it provides a good point of reference. From here you'll be just a couple of minutes walk from the bus terminal, the outer island ferry terminal, the Misakichou nightlife district, shopping areas and the city's main post office branch (which has an ATM that accepts foreign cards).
Ishigaki is a holiday town and its city center is lined with souvenir stores where you can find anything from star sand and shiisaa ornaments all the way up to a fine jewellery and hand-made sanshins (traditional three-stringed Okinawan guitars).
The Euglena Mall (up until 2011 known as the 'Ayapani mall') consists of a pair of shopping arcades that run parallel to each other, with the further south of the two being by far the most interesting. This is one of the best spots on the island for stocking up on souvenirs before heading back home, and the fact that it is covered makes it an ideal place to kill a few hours if the weather should take an unfavourable turn for the worse. In terms of aesthetics the mall feels a little drab and could definitely do with a facelift, however, given the variety of goods on offer this is unlikely to concern most souvenir hunters.
Be sure to explore the streets which surround the mall, many of which are home to quality outlets – pop into shops such as Free Fowls, Rekio Gores, or Natural Uchuujin for some owner-designed T-shirts which make for great souvenirs. The mall tends to get busy after 4:00pm when tourists begin to return from their day-trips.
Shopping for Essentials
Misakichou is Ishigaki's entertainment district, being home to many restaurants, Izakayas, bars, clubs and even a bowling alley. It is located right in the center of town, just off the main street, and in terms of nightlife things start to get going pretty late (typically after midnight).
Southern Gate Bridge
If you're looking for a spot to enjoy the sunset and a view of the city then head for the 'Southern Gate Bridge' which is located around 10 minutes by foot from the city center. The bridge connects Ishigaki to a man-made island which is often referred to as 'Cat Island' by ex-pats - owing to its huge feline population. Overlooking the ocean its pleasant park is a popular BBQ spot during the warmer months, and is occasionally host to live concerts such as the annual 'Star Festival'. Work is currently underway on a beach which should be completed during 2011.