Ishigakijima or Ishigaki Island is the main island in the Yaeyama archipelago, which is about 420 kilometers southwest of Okinawa’s Main Island. Ishigaki Island measures 90 kilometers around and is covered with mountains. This includes Mt. Omoto-dake which rises 526 meters above sea level and is the highest mountain in Okinawa.
Visitors to Ishigaki Island come for the island’s abundant nature, wonderful beaches, and gorgeous resorts.
Nature on Ishigaki Island
Many people just come to Ishigaki Island to unwind and relax in a nice resort with a beach nearby. But there is more to do on the island than just staying in your resort!
If you rent a car for one day, you can easily drive around the island completely within the day and make several stops at interesting places. If you bring snorkeling gear with you (don’t forget your life vests!), Yonehara beach is a great area for snorkeling. To be safe, it is always best to go snorkeling with a guide.
The coral reefs in Ishigaki Island are famous throughout the world, and there are many scenic marine spots on the island such as Shiraho, noted for a variety of colored coral that can be seen covering the bottom below the transparent waters, and Kabira Bay where the ocean’s blueness is said to be the brightest in Okinawa. In Kabira Bay you can take a ride on a boat with a glass bottom and see the colorful marine life in the crystal clear water below you.
In the suburbs of the city of Ishigaki spread the sugarcane fields with lush green mountain areas in the background. Mt. Omoto-dake can be seen from many of these fields. You can also find numerous plantations with tropical plants such as mangroves and Yaeyama palm trees on the island. Don’t forget to sample some delicious locally sourced pineapple juice, probably the sweetest you will have ever tried.
From the Tamatorizaki Observatory and scenic Cape Hirakubozaki and Cape Uganzaki you can have wonderful views of the area from above.
Taking a day trip to nearby Taketomi Island is also very much recommended.