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Ishigaki Island

Ishigaki IslandMap of Ishigaki Island Ishigaki Island ("Ishigakijima" in Japanese) is located about 420 km southwest of Okinawa Island.
Taiwan is about 270 km west of this island, so it is closer to a foreign country rather than the prefectual capital.

Around Ishigaki Island, there are Iriomote Island and some other small islands.
Generally, the group of these islands is called "Yaeyama islands".
Ishigaki Island has the largest population of them.

Ishigaki Island is the third largest island in Okinawa Prefecture, after Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island.
This island is shaped like a ladle.
The main area is within about 20 km, and a long and narrow peninsula about 20 km long is attached.

Mount Omoto 526 meters high is in the center of the island, and is the highest mountain in Okinawa Prefecture.

Ishigaki district on the south coast is the largest town, and is the only densely-populated area in Yaeyama Islands.
It has Ishigaki Port where the ferries to the other islands depart.
And Ishigaki Airport is right to the east of the district.

This island is surrounded by coral reefs, and have many beautiful beaches.
It has beautiful nature richly, so one third part of the island is in a national park.

In Ishigaki Island, we can see the beautiful beaches.
And we can enjoy diving and snorkeling.

There are some resort hotels, and many small minshuku (Japansese style inn) or resort inns in this island.

Route bus is operated in the island. The buses run from Ishigaki district to the various places in the island.
They run relatively frequently around Ishigaki district, but in the other area, they run only some times a day.
You can rent a car, motorbike or bicycle, or use a sightseeing taxi.

Ishigaki Japan : Nice website about Ishigaki island by a resident from Britain

Main spots in Ishigaki Island

  • Mangrove Forests along Miyara River /1/ : Miyara River is the largest river in Ishigaki Island, and flows to the south through the island.
    The mouth is located about 7 km east-northeast of central Ishigaki district, and thick mangrove forests spread along the river for a distance of 1.5 kilometers.
    It is said that the forests of mangrove is the largest in Japan.
    We can see the forests on the bridge of the national road, and canoe tours on the river are conducted.
  • Shiraho Coral Reefs /2/ : Shiraho is the district along the southeast coast.
    The beach is not so beautiful, but there are great coral reefs in the sea. The coral reefs is about 10 km long and about 1 km wide.
    Over 70 species of coral are known in this coast, and very good condition has been kept.
    Especially, it is said that the great community of blue coral is the largest in the Northern hemisphere.
  • Banna Park /3/ : The park on Mount Banna 230 meters high.
    It is located about 4 km north of central Ishigaki district.
    There are a few observatories in the park, and we can enjoy the nice view of southern Ishigaki Island and sea.
  • Toujinbaka cemetery /4/ : "Toujinabaka" means "Cemetery of Chinese people".
    In 1852, American ship left from Xiamen on southern China. About 400 Chinese workers (Coolie) were on board.
    Because they were treated very hard on board, they raised a riot at last.
    The ship went aground near Ishigaki Island, then 380 Chinese escaped into the island.
    The Ishigaki islanders provided them with housing.
    But the American and British navies came to this island twice. And they searched the fugitives and killed many of them.
    After that, by international contact, Ryukyu Kingdom sent the 172 surviving Chinese back to China.
    And the tombs for dead 128 Chinese were built here and there.
    In 1971, this cemetery was constructed to console the people totally.
  • Nagura Anparu wetland /5/ : A wetland near the west coast located about 8 km north of Ishigaki district.
    It is a wetland surrounded by sandbanks at the mouth of Nagura River.
    Mangrove forests, tropical forests, various grasses grow on the wetland, and various fish and aquatic organism are in the water.
    This wetland is inscribed as a registered wetland under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Cape Uganzaki /6/ : A cape on the western peninsula.
    It is located about 17 km northwest central Ishigaki district.
    The coast is deep and has no coral reef, so wild waves pond the coast.
    We can see the beautiful sunset.
  • Sukuji Beach /7/ : A beautiful beach on the west coast.
    It is to the west of Kabira Bay.
    The beach is filled with white sands and is shoal.
  • Kabira Bay /8/ : The most popular and beautiful beach in Ishigaki Island.
    The scenery of the sea and some small islands is nice, and the changing color of the sea is beautiful.
    But the current in the bay is strong, so it is forbidden to swim.
    Instead, we can enjoy the sea by glass-bottom boat.
  • Yonehara Beach /9/ : A beautiful beach located about 5 km east of Kabira Bay.
    Beautiful beach spreads, and there is a camping site near this beach.
  • Mangrove Forests along Fukidou River /10/ : The large mangrove forests after Miyara River.
    There are thick forests and mudlands along the river.
    Canoe tours on the river are conducted.
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory /11/ : The observatory in the center of the long peninsula.
    We can see the long peninsula and beautiful sea.
    Many hibiscus flowers are around this observatory.
  • Sunset Beach /12/ : A beautiful beach at the north part of the island.
    It is a good bathing beach, and the admission fee is 300 yen.
    Some facilities are set up.
  • Cape Hirakubo /13/ : The north tip of Ishigaki Island.
    A white lighthouse stands, and grass field spread on the cape.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By airplane

About 1 hour from Naha Airport.

Mangrove Forests along Miyara River Shiraho coast
Blue coral reefs in Shiraho A view from Banna Park
Toujinbaka Nagura Anparu wetland
Photo by Ishigakijima-umibe.com
Cape Uganzaki
Photo by Ishigakijima-umibe.com
Sukuji Beach
Kabira bay
Photo by Ishigakijima-umibe.com
Sea of Kabira from glass-bottom boat Yonehara Beach
Photo by Ishigakijima-umibe.com
Mangrove Forests along Fukidou River A view from Tamatorizaki Observatory
Photo by Ishigakijima-umibe.com
Sunset Beach
Photo by Ishigakijima-umibe.com
Cape Hirakubo
Photo by Ishigakijima-umibe.com

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