15 Things to Do in Ishigaki

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Ishigaki Sunrise
Source: ajari

Venture into the great outdoors and spend days on end discovering all that Ishigaki Island has to offer. As the main island of the Yaeyama Islands, Ishigaki is one of Okinawa Prefecture’s most visited location for beach lovers. Go swimming in Japan’s refreshing south western waters, explore the underwater world of Ishigaki or soak up the island’s culture and history. What ever you decide to do, a great vacation is sure to ensue. These are our picks for fifteen places to see, visit and explore on Ighisaki Island.

1. Relax at Yonehara Beach

Yonehara Beach
Source: Jay Bergesen

There’s absolutely no good reason to miss out on the spectacular and tremendously popular Yonehara Beach. Yonehara Beach boasts some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities at Ishigaki and the beach itself features a lovely sprinkling of white coral all over the shore. Adjacent campsites are available for tourists that don’t mind pitching a tent for the night and snorkeling equipment can be rented.

Information

  • Name: Yonehara Beach
  • Address: Yonehara, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Phone: +81 706-549-0988
  • Price: Free admission
  • Website: http://www.okinawainfo.net/yaima/yonabaru.html#_=_

2. Enjoy the View at Tamatorizaki Observatory

Tamatorizaki Observatory
Source: Nikita

Apart from the awesome water activities available, Ishigaki is also blessed with idyllic views and breathtaking scenery. One of the best places to see is the landscape of Cape Tamatori at the Tamatorizaki Observation Point. Enjoy the cool ocean air while viewing the hilly peninsula and turquoise ocean water at this public observation deck.

Information

  • Name: Tamatorizaki Observatory
  • Address: Ibaruma, ishigaki 907-0332, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Phone: +81 907-408-4205
  • Price: Free admission
  • Opening hour: Always open

3. Learn About Ishigaki at the Yaeyama Museum

Yaeyama Museum
Source: Shig ISO

Delve into the rich history and fantastic culture of the Yaeyama Islands at the Yaeyama Museum. Admire displays of pottery, household items, traditional garments and even wooden canoes as you learn about the local’s way of life in the past. Make sure to stop by exhibits of festival items for a true taste of the islands’ culture.

Information

  • Name: Yaeyama Museum
  • Address: 4-1 Tonoshiro, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture 907-0004
  • Price: ¥200
  • Opening hour: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Holiday: Closed on Mondays

4. Take A Dip at Sukuji Beach

Sukuji Beach
Source: Nikita

Featuring a kilometer long shoreline, Sukuji Beach is the perfect destination for visitors who just want to spend the entire day sun bathing or relaxing in shallow beach waters. The beach itself has some of the finest sand in Ishigaki and a nice stretch of water is netted for the protection of swimmers. Public changing rooms, showers and restrooms can be accessed by the beach’s parking area.

Information

  • Name: Sukuji Beach
  • Address: Sukuji, Kabira, Ishigaki, 907-0453 Okinawa Prefecture
  • Phone: 0980-82-1532 (Ishigaki City Tourist Office)
  • Price: Free admission
  • Opening hour: 10:00 – 17:00

5. Eat Ishigaki Beef

Ishigaki Beef
Source: pelican

Meat lovers, eating Ishigaki’s local beef is definitely one thing you don’t want to miss out on when traveling around this island. Mouthwatering, comforting and melt-in-your-mouth tender, Ishigaki’s beef has been praised all around Japan for its consistent wagyu-level quality and gorgeous marbleization . There are various ways to enjoy beef at Ishigaki such as yakiniku, yakishabu, sushi and sashimi. Yes, that’s right, we said sashimi.

6. Explore the Ishigaki Limestone Cave

Explore the gorgeous natural wonders of the Ishigaki Limetone Cave and set off on a 600 meter long trail that traverses the entirety of the cave. The formation of a cave like this takes over 200,000 years and it composed of Ishigaki’s lovely corals, lime alga, sea eggs and more. After  spending an afternoon spelunking at the cave, enjoy some souvenir shopping at shops situated at the entrance.

Information

  • Name: Ishigaki Limestone Cave
  • Address: 1666 Ishigaki, Ishigaki 907-0023, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Phone: +81 980-83-1550
  • Access: 10 minutes by car from the Ishigaki Airport
  • Website: http://www.ishigaki-cave.com/#_=_

7. Enjoy the View at Kannozaki Lighthouse

Kannozaki Lighthouse
Source: Dolapo Falola

With incredible views and a rich history, the Kannozaki Lighthouse offers one of the best vantage points on the eastern side of the Miura Peninsula. Originally, the location of the Kannozaki Lighthouse was a lookout point established in 1812 by the Tokugawa Shogunate to safeguard Edo against Western ships. Today, the lighthouse stands as a popular tourist destination and surrounded by the tranquility of the Kannozaki Park.

Information

  • Name: Kannozaki Lighthouse
  • Address: Arakawa, Ishigaki 907-0024, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Phone: +81 903-300-3911

8. Sunbathe at Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach
Source: Nicholas Wang

Nestled in a picturesque cove along Ishigaki’s northeastern peninsula, Sunset Beach has fantastic swimming and snorkeling opportunities for beach goers of all ages. Lounge all day on the fine sand or venture out into the waters to discover the reefs nearby for a leisurely afternoon. Don’t forget to bring the sunblock!

Information

  • Name: Sunset Beach
  • Address: Free admission
  • Price:  ¥300 (Parking), ¥300 (Facilities)

9. See the Tojin Baka Monument

Visit the colorful and lavishly decorated Tojin Baka Monument, a Chinese-style tomb dedicated to 300 Chinese laborers who died during and after a clash with American and British traders en route to America. The laborers were meant to work in American mines and were offered sanctuary on Ishigaki Island by the locals. On its own, the monument is beautifully constructed and is a spectacular sight to behold.

Information

  • Name: Tojin Baka Monument
  • Address: 234 Hirakubo, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture 907-0331
  • Phone: +81 903-300-3911
  • Price: Free admission
  • Opening hour: Always open

10. Eat Sushi

 

Ishigaki Sushi

Source: pelican

It should be pretty obvious that the closer you are to the ocean, the fresher the fish will be. With the plentiful ocean always just a quick ride away at Ishigaki, it’s absolutely imperative that you delight in a sumptuous sushi meal while touring the island. The succulent and generous slices of fish paired with chewy and perfectly season rice will have your tummy singing even weeks after your meal.

11. Tour Kabira Bay

Kabira Bay

Source: Nao Iizuka

Tour the gorgeous emerald blue waters of Kabira Bay, which is largely regarded as Ishigaki Island’s most beautiful and scenic view. Tours of the bay typically last 30 minutes and are conducted on boats with glass bottoms to allow a peek into the bay’s underwater world. While swimming, snorkeling and diving are not allowed at the bay, be sure to stop by the black pearl cultivation site and pick up a souvenir while you’re at it.

Information

  • Name: Kabira Bay
  • Address: 934 Kabira, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture 907-0453
  • Price: ¥1030
  • Opening hour: 09:00 – 17:00
  • Website: http://www.kabiramarine.com/about/

12. Enjoy the Yonehara Palm Tree Groves

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Jog, brisk walk or stroll through the magnificent palm forest of Yonehana and let the glorious presence of nature take your breath away. The grove is home to several kinds of palm trees and features the beautiful native Yaeyama Palm, one of Japan’s designated national natural monuments. Various walking trails will take you through the grove easily, so lace up your sneakers and enjoy your visit!

Information

  • Name: Yonehara Palm Tree Grove
  • Address: Fukai, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture 907-0451
  • Price: Free admission
  • Opening hour: Always open

13. Climb to the Top of Mount Nosoko

Ready for a challenging climb and great reward? Charge the trail of Mt. Nosoko, which stands at 282 meters tall, and make the 45 minute hike to the mountain top. Your efforts will definitely be rewarded as the peak boasts one of the best panoramic views of Ishigaki’s glorious landscape and surrounding waters. Be sure to enjoy the wildlife and spot some of the mountain’s resident critters while on your way up.

Information

  • Name: Mount Nosoko
  • Address: Ishigakijima, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture
  • Access: Take route 78 until you see the Nosoko marker

14. Set Off on A River Kayak Tour

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Experience Ishigaki’s nature at its finest and venture into the mangrove lined Fukido and Miyara Rivers on a River Kayak Tours. Tours typically last anywhere between 1.5 to 3 hours and give participants an incredible experience of the island’s thriving ecosystem.  It’s not possible to visit this area without a guide, so make sure to plan ahead.

Information

  • Name: River Kayak Tours
  • Address: 79 Ibaruma, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0332
  • Phone: +81 906-860-6770
  • Price: ¥6500

15. Explore Banna Park

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Nature lovers, if you’re looking for your version of paradise on Ishigaki, Banna Park is it. Just a few miles from the city center, Banna Park is a massive nature reserve with various areas for different interests. Observe the skyline, trek into the forest, visit a stone monument or, if you’re traveling with children, play at the children’s square. No matter which part of the park you decide to visit, you’re bound to have a great time.

Information

  • Name: Banna Park
  • Address: 961-15 Ishigaki, Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture 907-0004
  • Phone: +81 980-82-6993
  • Website: http://okiryoku.org/park/index.php/2012-11-22-08-41-29#_=_

If you’re in search of a summer getaway and are absolutely in love with sun, surf and sand, then there are few places better than Ishigaki. With spectacular beach fronts, adventurous activities and gorgeous sights, it’s impossible to visit this place and not fall in love with it. No matter where you stay and what places you decide to visit, you’re definitely going to be in for an exciting and lively vacation.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan, Kyusyu Region, Okinawa Prefecture