Okinawa: Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki is considered the main island of the Yaeyama grouping and thanks to its airport and port, is the easiest island to get to. Known for its exceptional beaches, Ishigaki is surrounded coral reefs that also offer some of Okinawa’s best diving and snorkelling. Yonehara Beach, Sukuji Beach and Sunset Beach are some of the popular on the island, at their best from April to November. Snorkelling can be enjoyed at all beaches with diving facilitated by many dive shops and tour operators catering to all levels of experience, from beginner to advanced divers.
Kabira Bay is another of the island’s most popular destinations, famed for its clear water that can be enjoyed on glass bottom boats. The interior of the island includes jungle and the highest point in Okinawa – Mount Omoto – while you will also encounter traditional buildings across the island including Ishigaki Yaima Village – an open-air museum featuring relocated traditional residences from across all the islands.
The largest concentration of hotels is located nearby Yashima Ferry Terminal where you’ll find mostly mid-range hotels and small guesthouses. Prices vary and can be high during the July to August peak season. To the west of this area you’ll find higher-end accommodation including beachside resorts and self-contained options, with more option locate do the east. The north coast offers more beachside accommodation with prices and amenities varying greatly between hotels and guesthouses.