A hub for exploring Japan’s Yaeyama archipelago, Ishigaki city offers jungle-like scenery in the island’s interior, golden beaches around the coast and coral reefs just off the shore. With little reason to travel further afield, spend your days soaking up the sunshine and the surfing the ocean waves.
Things to do in Ishigaki
It’s recommended to the most of Ishigaki’s pristine nature, where you can visit places like Kabira Bay, where the water is emerald blue and the sand completely white. Take a half-hour ride in a glass bottom boat, where you can see the fish and learn about the traditional cultivation of black pearls.
The Miyara River is lined with mangroves, thriving with local wildlife. The best way to explore this area is on a guided kayak tour, as it minimises pollution and lets you paddle quietly without disturbing the birds.
If you’re up for some fun in the sun, head to Yonehara Beach to find a stretch of sand scattered with pieces of white coral, where diving and snorkelling are popular activities. Perfect if you’re up for an underwater adventure, come here to spot manta rays and an array of colourful tropical fish.
For a cultural experience, visit the Yaeyama Museum, which displays historical and cultural artefacts from across the archipelago. You can learn about the traditional life and admire items used in local festivals.
Getting around Ishigaki
Public buses run every 15 minutes from Ishigaki Airport and the centre of the city. A one-day pass covers this route, in addition to bus lines that connect to the main points of interest in Ishigaki. Alternatively, rental cars are available from the airport and offices in the city centre.