Many are surprised by how big Ishigaki island is. With an hour drive from the south to north point it’s worth planning ahead to get the most out of your vacation. Except for the airport line, public transportation is limited.
+ Island hopping, wide selection of restaurants, all buses depart from here
– Not so close to nature
Looking for a bit of nightlife and a wide selection of restaurants and bars? Maybe souvenir shopping? Ishigaki city is the place for you. It’s also an excellent place to stay if you want to go island hopping since most ferries depart from Ishigaki ferry terminal. There are not many connections between the other Yaeyama islands. The same is true for the buses, most of them depart and arrive at the bus terminal in town.
+ Local town feeling, scuba diving, close to nature
– no swimming in Kabira bay
Want to take your morning walk on the white sands of Kabira Beach? Have that quiet small town feeling? This is a good place to sit back and relax. It’s close to nature, but you still have a few restaurants and at least one bar. Many dive sites are close by (including Manta point) so if you like scuba diving, staying here means less time traveling by boat. Sukuji Beach is also within walk-distance and Yonehara beach is not far by bus. Read more about Kabira here.
Northern Ishigaki and Yamabare area
+ Quiet nature, close to the beach (depending on where you stay)
– Must have a rental car or motorbike to get around
Want to get off the beaten track? The northern part of Ishigaki is beautiful and there are several places that have their own beach or a beach close by. However, public transportation is limited to 1-2 buses a day and most restaurants are only open at lunchtime. Many tour companies also don’t offer pick-up from this part of the island so it’s highly recommended to rent a car to get the most out of your stay.
Stay in a Traditional Ryukyu Town, Enjoy Nature and Quiet Evenings
If you are visiting Taketomi in high season, you are likely to share the island with a fair amount of tourists during the daytime. But as soon as the last ferry departs, this picturescue Ryukyu town breaths out and you get that chill island feeling. You can read more about Taketomi island here.
Stay Close to the Jungle and Enjoy the Wilder Side of the Yaeyama Islands
Welcome to the Jungle! Iriomote is great for adventurous travelers that want to go trekking and canoeing. It is the biggest of the Yaeyama islands and 90% of it is covered in tropical and subtropical virgin forests. As on Ishigaki, buses are far and few between so plan your stay accordingly.
To be added. This is a growing page, thank you for discovering Ishigaki and the Yaeyama islands with me!