Ishigaki island is a relatively small island, but it is still a full hour’s drive from the south to the north point. Public transportation is limited in many parts of the island, so it is a good idea to plan ahead and think about what you would like to do during your stay. Each part has its different advantages and you might want to split up your stay to experience both the city life and discover the wild nature of this region.
Island Hopping, Wide Choice of Restaurants and Shopping
Looking for a bit of nightlife and a wide choice of restaurants and bars? Maybe souvenir shopping? Ishigaki city is the place for you. It is also an excellent place to stay in if you want to do some island hopping while you are here because most ferries depart from Ishigaki ferry terminal and 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, so if you plan to get around by public transportation you will have an easier time staying in the city.
Scuba Diving, Local Town Feeling, and Close to the Beach
Want to take your morning walk on the sands of famous Kabira Beach? Have that quiet small town feeling? This is a good place to sit back and relax. It is close to nature, but you still have walking distance to a few restaurants and at least one bar where you are likely to run into some locals. Many dive sites including the famous Manta point are also found in Kabira area so, if you like scuba diving, staying here will give you more time for holiday and less time spent traveling by boat/bus. Sukuji Beach (no swimming in Kabira bay) is also within walk-distance and Yonehara beach is not far by bus. Read more about Kabira here.
Enjoy the Nature in this Quiet Part of Ishigaki
Want to get off the beaten track? The northern part of Ishigaki is still relatively undiscovered, most visitors will just drive by and only stop at the sunset beach or northern lighthouse. This is the place if you want to get away from everything and enjoy quiet nature. Hiring a car is highly recommended if you plan to stay in the northern part. There are a few restaurants close to some of the accommodation, but don’t count on them to be open in the evening. Especially in low season.
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!