Okinawa - Ishigaki island
This article is incomplete. More information will be added in future versions of this guide.
Ishigaki island is part of the Yaeyama islands. It is famous for its beautiful beaches and for being an excellent diving spot. Of particular fame is an area called “Manta scramble” where you can see huge manta rays while diving. It really is a sight to behold.
There are various dive shops around the island. I can’t particularly recommend the one we chose, (Pushynushima), because they really didn’t do well on diving safely and didn’t speak any English at all.
That being said diving on Ishigaki island is absolutely amazing and the #1 reason to go there.
Underwater I saw a turtle with two sharks riding on its back and a lot of manta rays, some more than 3 meters wide.
This izakaya style restaurant specializes in tuna sushi. Despite being #1 on Tripadvisor in the restaurant category, they retained normal prices. We walked out paying 6000 yen for 2 persons having just had the best sushi we’ve ever had in Japan.
You can order sushi and sashimi as well as an ishigaki beef sushi.
Ishigaki is famous for its beef, and there are whole restaurants dedicated to it. One such restaurant is called (…).
It is recommended on Wikitravel but the high prices and last order at 21:30 scared us away.
This beach spot is a really nice place where you can relax at the white sand beach while enjoying the nice scenety. There’s rocks coming out of the water, little islands and glass bottomed boats you can go on to see the fishes underneath the boat. We went to the beach around 5pm and everything looked deserted and closef, but the peaceful scenery made for a nice walk.
To get there a car is definitely recommended. It’s about 17km from Ishigaki port.
Close to Kabira beach is another beach called (…)
About car rental
We rented a car for approx. ¥6200 for 2 days.
Some chain rental businesses like Times Rental will request an official translation of your drivers license via a service called JAF.
You can try different places and see if they accept your non-Japanese national drivers license. One place just copied my license, and rented us the car.
In the middle of town is a nice arcade style shopping spot where you can stock up on omiyage and check the local foods.
Taketomi island is a nice day trip from Ishigaki island. To get there you need to take a ferry from Ishigaki port. Ferries run every 30 minutes between 7:30 and 17:30. Taketomi island is best explored by bicycle. We rented a tandem and biked to the beach. Kondoi beach and (…) beach. Famous for star shaped sand although I didn’t see any. We had fun looking for crabs and finding sea cucumbers.