Ishigaki Island: Discovering Okinawa’s Hidden Paradise

ishigaki island

Ishigaki Island had always been on our bucket list, but for various reasons,
we never quite made it there. However, everything changed when we stumbled upon
JAL Award Tickets, turning our dream into an achievable reality.

With our flights covered, we only had to worry about expenses like rental cars and hotels.
Don’t worry, we’ll share all the details so you can do it too!

Keep reading to uncover the secrets behind our almost-free journey to Ishigaki Island!

Why should you visit Ishigaki?

When it comes to exploring Japan, places like Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto often steal the spotlight, leaving lesser-known destinations like Okinawa in the shadows. But let me tell you,
Okinawa, especially the beautiful Ishigaki Island, is a hidden gem worth discovering.

Ishigaki offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and relaxation, making it an ideal destination
for travelers seeking a unique Japanese experience.

With 229 square kilometers to explore, you can uncover the island’s charms in just three to four hours! To make the most of your adventure, we recommend renting a car for easy navigation
around Ishigaki’s wonders—just like we did!

Rent a car to see Ishigaki Island!

ishigaki island ishigaki island

I’m happy to report that renting a car in Ishigaki is surprisingly affordable, especially when
compared to big cities. We highly recommend using to book your vehicle.

Although the car rental office might be situated a bit further from the airport, there’s no need
to worry because a free airport transfer service is provided!

Before returning the car, don’t forget to refuel. While the rental company may advise refilling at the nearby gas station, opting to refuel in town can save you some money.

The climate of Ishigaki

We visited Ishigaki Island in June, staying for 3 nights and 4 days.

June is known as the rainy season in Japan, so if you’re planning a trip during this time,
be prepared for rain and wind. Luckily, the rain was light and stopped quickly.
However, it was consistently cloudy, and the winds were strong, reaching up to 40 km/h.

Ishigaki has a subtropical climate, so it’s hot year-round. During our visit in June,
temperatures went above 37 degrees Celsius with humidity at 85%.
Despite the weather, we had a fantastic time exploring the island’s beauty and charm!

Kabira Bay (川 平 湾 )

Kawahira Bay, Ishigaki Island

It’s definitely the most iconic spot in Ishigaki and a must-see on your visit.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the sight of a crystal-clear ocean
with small boats floating around.

While you can’t swim or snorkel here, you can enjoy a walk on the beach
or hop on a glass-bottom boat. The boats operates every 15 to 20 minutes
from 9:00 to 17:00, and tickets cost about ¥1300 for adults and ¥650 for children.

Kawahira Bay, Ishigaki Island

Address : 1054 Kabira, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0453, Japan

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Yonehara Beach (米 原 ビ ー チ)

Yonehara Beach, Ishigaki Island

Address: Fukai, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0451, Japan

Yonehara Beach, with its vibrant tropical fish, is one of the best spots for snorkeling and diving
in Ishigaki! Just be sure to watch out for strong currents and tides, and keep an eye out for
the poisonous Habu jellyfish in these waters.

Ibaruma Sabichi Cave ( いばるま さびちどう)

Sabichi Limestone Cave, Ishigaki Island

Address: 185-44 Ibaruma, Ishigaki 907-0332, Okinawa
Opening hours: 09:30 ~ 17
Price: Adults 1,200 yen  Children 600 yen
Official Japanese site

Sabichi Limestone Cave, Ishigaki Island

Sabichi Cave, stretching 324 meters, is renowned as the only limestone cave in Japan that
leads to the sea. At the end of the cave, you can choose to go either right or left.

Heading left takes you to a beautiful beach perfect for a swim,
while going right leads you to a stunning viewpoint.

Sabichi Limestone Cave, Ishigaki Island

We decided to skip the viewpoint because the manager at the entrance informed us
that the bad weather would obstruct the view that day.

Sabichi Limestone Cave, Ishigaki Island

The stairs are narrow, uneven, and full of insects.
I definitely regretted not wearing closed-toe shoes!

ishigaki island Sabichi Limestone Cave, Ishigaki Island

Fortunately, we had our swimsuits underneath our clothes, allowing us to have this
amazing beach all to ourselves! It’s definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in Ishigaki.

A secret beach near Sunset Beach

Ishigaki Island

Looking for “Sunset Beach,” we got a bit lost. Just when we were about to give up,
we spotted the sea through the bushes! Without hesitation, we parked the car
and set off to explore this hidden gem.

ishigaki island

A truly wonderful beach greeted us, featuring serene waters and picturesque
natural rock formations. And the best part? We had the entire place to ourselves.

Ishigaki Island

We stumbled upon this hidden gem by chance, so I’m not sure what it’s called. However,
you can easily find it along the route between Sabichi Cave and the Hirakubo Lighthouse.

Hirakubo Lighthouse (平 久保 崎 灯台)

Hirakubozaki Lighthouse, Ishigaki Island

Address: Hirakubo, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0331

Ishigaki Island

At the island’s northern tip, the lighthouse provides an amazing view.
Just be cautious of the strong winds up there!

Ishigaki Island

There’s a small free parking lot with just 8 spaces. When it fills up, people start parking
their cars in the middle of the street or in the other parking lot you can see in the picture.

Fusaki Beach Resort (フサキリゾート)

Fuksaki Resort, Ishigaki Island

Address: 1625 Arakawa, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0024

Fuksaki Resort, Ishigaki Island

This beach is located in front of the Fukusaki Resort Village, and it’s open to everyone,
even if you’re not staying at the resort. Just make sure to get permission from
the hotel reception before using it.

Fuksaki Resort, Ishigaki Island

Fukusaki Beach is a favorite spot for catching the sunset as it dips into the sea,
or simply soaking in its beauty during the day!

Fuksaki Resort, Ishigaki Island ishigaki island

It’s definitely a picture-perfect spot, perfect for snapping stunning photos
to share on your social media!

Where to stay in Ishigaki?

During our visit, we had the pleasure of staying at the Ishigaki Seaside Hotel.

With its private beach and hotel pool, it offered the perfect blend of relaxation and luxury. And let’s not forget the breathtaking sea view from our room—it truly was the highlight of our stay!

Ishigaki Seaside Hotel

Located conveniently for visiting Kabira Bay, Ishigaki Seaside Hotel also provides
plenty of fun activities to enjoy during your stay.

Do you still have time to explore? Then read the article on Taketomi Island

What are JAL miles?

As mentioned earlier, our journey to Ishigaki was made possible through the use of JAL miles.

This option is available with most airlines, allowing travelers to exchange miles for air travel.
We’ve been utilizing JAL miles for years, particularly for trips between Osaka and Tokyo, where approximately 12,000 miles per person are typically required due to the specific destination.

For the past few years, JAL has introduced the “Dokokani Mile” program, enabling travelers to embark on journeys with just 7,000 miles! (This option is exclusively
available to holders of the Japanese version of the JAL card.)
The catch? You don’t get to choose your destination.

Upon entering the site, travelers can select their departure point (Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, or Sapporo), choose their desired travel dates and time slot. The system then presents four potential destinations. Each time you repeat the process, the destinations change.

Our strategy was to search for combinations of four cities we had never visited before and apply.
Within three days of submitting our application, we received notification of our destination.
This innovative approach is perfect for those seeking variety and spontaneity in their travels!

Our journey began at Kansai International Airport (Osaka), where we boarded a
2 hour and 45-minute flight to Ishigaki Island.

To start earning JAL Miles, simply join the JAL Mileage Bank and acquire cards like JMB/JGM, WAON, and more. This allows you to accumulate miles not only
through travel but also from your everyday shopping activities.

In conclusion

Ishigaki Island’s charm lies in its stunning natural beauty! Whether you’re indulging in sea sports
or simply soaking up the serenity of its empty beaches, this island offers a peaceful getaway
without the hassle of traffic jams. And while the beaches may not have clear directions,
stumbling upon them hidden behind bushes as you drive adds an element of adventure
to your journey! Ishigaki is definitely a place I’d love to revisit.

Ready to Land

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