Ishigaki, 5 days

Explore the Yaeyama Islands

Ishigaki island is much closer to Taiwan (ca. 150 km) than to Tokyo (ca. 2000 km). The Yaeyama Islands have a rich history and culture going back to before their incorporation into Japan, when they were part of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Ishigaki has a very different cuisine from mainland Japan. Due to the relative warmth of the surrounding sea and due to various cultural influences, the food of Ishigaki is more meat-centered than the rest of Japan. Ishigaki is an ideal spot to relax and unwind. At the beaches you can enjoy swimming, snorkelling and diving, just lay in the sun or explore the other islands by ferry and experience the tropical side of Japan.

This ‘5 day Ishagaki’ is an add-tour on our Japan sample itineraries or any other tailor-made tour in Japan. It’s not possible to book these add-on tours separately.

ishigaki Japan okinawa

Ishigaki, 5 days, 4 nights

Island hopping on the Yaeyama Islands

You arrive on the tropical island Ishigaki, located in the southernmost part of Japan. In less than half an hour you reach the centrally located town Ishigaki, where you can first check-in at your hotel. Ishigaki is the perfect place to use as a ‘home base’ and venture out to the other islands. Most islands can be reached in less than 45 minutes, easy day trips. A 3 day ferry-pass is included in the price; during 3 days you can take as many ferries as you like.

Beautiful natural scenery on Iriomote Island

Largely undeveloped, nearly 90 percent of the island is covered by dense jungle and mangrove forests, much of which makes up the Iriomote National Park, the southernmost of Japan’s national parks. The island’s attractions are based around tours to Iriomote’s abundant nature including sea and river kayaking, fishing and sailing. Other activities can be enjoyed either on tours or individually such as island hopping, beaches, snorkelling and various hiking trails through the interior of the island. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of a wildcat, which is only found on Iriomote Island. On Hoshizuna Beach (which means star sand beach), you can see grains of sand found here are shaped like tiny stars.

Kohama Island is much smaller than Ishigaki and Iriomote, but definitely worth a visit. From the summit of Mt. Ufutake, which is the highest altitude on the island, you can enjoy 360-degree views of the emerald green sea and the islands of Yaeyama. The landscape on the island is unique, such as the straight single-lane “Sugar Road” which cuts through sugarcane fields on both sides.

Okinawan culture on Taketomi Island

Taketomi is an island just off the coast of Ishigaki Island and the site of a beautifully preserved, traditional Ryukyu village. As Taketomi Island is fairly small, it is often visited as a day trip from Ishigaki. The small village consists almost entirely of traditional style, one-storied houses, which are surrounded by stone walls, and covered with red tiled roofs and ample lion-like shisa statues to ward of evil spirits. Some of the village’s houses serve as minshuku accommodations. Most visitors either walk or rent a bicycle to travel through the village’s white sand roads and to the nearby beaches along the western shore of the island. A half an hour ride on a water buffalo drawn cart is the perfect way to end your visit.

On Kuroshima, south of Taketomi Island, live 15 times more cows than people. The heart shaped island is completely covered in grassland and surrounded by coral reefs. Don’t miss the Kuroshima’s Sea Turtle Research Center, founded in 1973, which has made a great contribution to sea turtle research and conservation. There is a small museum and an aquarium with information on coral reefs and the many different species that live on the island. For some more beautiful scenery and beaches, the Yaeyama Islands, Hateruma and Hatoma, can be visited by ferry from Ishigaki.

Price of this package:

The ‘5 day Ishigaki’ package costs 410,-€ per person, based on double occupancy.

In July and August, the price is 570,-€ per person, based on double occupancy.

Prices may vary depending on the day (weekend), travel season or availability.

This price includes: four night’s accommodation, breakfast and a three day ferry pass.

Japan Ishigaki tropisch eiland
Japan Ishigaki tropisch eiland
Japan ishigaki Kabira bay duiken en snorkelen
Japan ishigaki duiken en snorkelen