Sightseeing in Okinawa: Ishigaki Island - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sightseeing in Okinawa: Ishigaki Island

The annual Obon holiday has been celebrated this week in Japan, and I've utilized the opportunity to stay out of the office for three working days to make a short visit to Okinawa. This time I traveled with my boyfriend Yuma and his father, and our final destination was a small island called Kuroshima situated about twenty minutes from Ishigaki Island. Upon arrival we did however have some spare time until the last ferry of the day, so we rented a car and went sightseeing around Ishigaki. For this blog post I've decided to share some of the spots we visited on our sightseeing day in Ishigaki.

View from the northernmost point of Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki (石垣) is the second larges island of the Yaeyama archipelago. It is mostly known for its natural beauty, and the place is a popular tourist destination especially among people from mainland Japan and Taiwan. 
Hirakubo Lighthouse
Since we only were staying for a short while we didn't have the chance to explore the whole of Ishigaki, but we did drive up to the northernmost point of the island where you find a great view of the ocean that along with Hirakubo Lighthouse makes a great motif for pictures. On the way there and back again we also passed some other interesting sites and local restaurants. Most of them were closed although it was only afternoon, so the working culture is obviously slightly different from mainland Japan, haha.. (Restaurants in the city center of Ishigaki do of course stay open till late though)
A popular restaurant we passed along the way. 
We found a local restaurant that looked really nice, but it was also quite popular so after having waited for a while we decided to give it up. After having search around for open restaurants for a while without any luck we finally found an open restaurant where we tried a local dish called Yagi-Soba (山羊蕎) (Soba with goat meat). It actually tasted quite good.!
After lunch we continued our drive towards the south part of the island again. I've included a couple more photos of the trip, but since our stay was rather short this post doesn't really cover a lot of what Ishigaki has to offer.
A beach close to the road

An Okinawan restaurant with the characteristic guardian shisa statues outside
In our case we spent most of our time on Kuroshima Island, but it is totally possible to visit this and other nearby islands such as Taketomi and Kohama for instance for a day-trip. As such, if you're looking for less touristy places to visit in Okinawa then Ishigaki might be a good place to start.

For more information about Ishigaki, check out the following links:
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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