Region: Kyushu-Ryukyu
Prefecture: Okinawa
Population: 47,499
Telephone area code: 0980
Ishigaki is the most densely inhabited and the main centre of the Yaeyama group of islands which belong to the prefecture of Okinawa in Japan.

Of the 50,000 inhabitants, some 45,000 are located on Ishigaki.
The island is situated at the south western end of Okinawa and the Yaeyama Islands constitute the most southerly and most western parts of Japan.

Like Okinawa, they are part of the Ryukyu archipelago.

From both a historical and a cultural point of view, these islands have formed a sort of bridge to the outer shores of the Pacific.
Ishigaki is also the main hub in the area with direct flights to Naha, the capital of Okinawa, and more recently it has also seen connections added to Osaka.
From the port, there are ferries which link Ishigaki to the islands of Taketomi, Iriomote, Kohama and Kurushima.
Of particular noteworthiness is the shape of the island.

The lower part is wider and stretches upwards with a narrower section which has led people to describe the island’s shape as being like that of a guitar or even a sanshin, a typical three-stringed instrument of the Ryukyu islands.

What to see in Ishigaki

The beauty of Ishigaki is undoubtedly thanks to Mother Nature.

The tropical climate, (it is just one degree away from the Tropic of Cancer), the white sandy beaches and the startling blue of the sea with its beautiful corals make this an attractive part of the country to visit that shows off the tropical side of Japan which is less well known but certainly worth visiting.
Fusaki Beach
Is actually the beach belonging to a resort but, it is accessible to everyone. Being on the south west of the island, it is well known for its spectacularly beautiful sunsets.
Maezato Beach
Perhaps not as beautiful as some of the others but very convenient as it is close to town.
Sukuji Beach
Not far from Kabira Bay in the north western part of the island, this is worth a visit for the chance to experience its clear, shallow waters.
Sunset Beach
Quite difficult to get to but definitely one of the most beautiful beaches to visit because of the lovely pale sand.
Kabira Bay
One of the major attractions on Ishigaki because of the breath-taking emerald colour of the water. It isn’t permitted to swim, snorkel or dive here, however, you can admire the beauties of the sea bed on a glass-bottomed boat that makes it possible to still enjoy the wonders of the underwater world.
The Miyara and Fukido rivers
It is possible to book guided kayak excursions up both these rivers towards the island’s interior.
The Yaeyama Museum
Has a collection of craftwork from the Yaeyama islands which includes articles from daily life such as boats and canoes, dance masks, traditional fabrics and plenty more.
At the Ishigaki public market you can buy typical local produce from the island such as salt or the typical liqueur known as awamori.
Not far from here, you will find the house and gardens of Miyara Dounchi, the residence of a local governor who, in the nineteenth century, had the task of unifying the Yaeyama islands. It is not possible to see inside the house but, the gardens are very beautiful.
The Toujin Grave (Toujinbaka)
Is a mausoleum that was built in memory of 300 Chinese who, whilst being transported to work in America in a state of semi-slavery, mutinied and made for Ishigaki. However, many of them perished at the hands of the Americans who pursued them. Many more were to die subsequently as a result of illness.

Shopping in Ishigaki

shopping on Ishigaki Island

[ Apr.2017 ] I cannot remember exactly where, but probably in the hotel, I got a booklet called “Ishigaki Sightseeing Guidebook 2017”. This booklet has a lot of information on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Japan…

Restaurants in Ishigaki

two Italian restaurants on Ishigaki Island

[ Apr.2017 ] While we were staying on Ishigaki Island in Okinwa, Japan, we went to two Italian restaurants. One was called Il Pozzo. When we were walking on the back streets in the Ishigaki…