The Wing of our plane on top of a mattress of soft clouds and a blue horizon.
This year I have decided to go holiday to Japan and go to meet my friends in Ishigaki. It has been a long time I wanted to do so and even if I could visit the sunrise country several times for business and pleasure I never had the time to go to see the island of Okinawa and meet Yukiko, my wife best friend, that we met in Perth back in 2000.
Ishigaki Kabira Turquoise waters and green islands
My wife and I stayed there for 5 days.
At first when we arrived the weather was not the best , however the temperature was a comfortable 23 degree Celsisus. The first nice impression I had about Ishigikaki was about the empty space made up by forest or farming field that we could see around the island.
Being off season , it was not that crowded at all. In fact as soon as we left the city we could have a very nice drive on a beautiful road surrounded by beautiful nature.
On day 1 we went with Yukiko around the whole island, even though was not that great weather, we could enjoy the white sand beaches all around the island and had a great noodle soup lunch nearby Kabira beach, in a place that has been there for decades.
The highlight of the day was to eat a gelato an ice cream up on the hill, in a place with nothing around rather than the Ice cream house , from there we could admire an outstanding Panorama , with the green mountains and the beautiful blue sea of Ishigaki. The ice cream was so delicious and the place so special that we decided to come again later in the week.
The view from the Ice cream Shop, it was cloudy yet stunning
The next day I went diving with Masaiko (Yukiko’s husband) and we went to a nearby white sand island in the middle of the sea.
Damselfish by hard coral head
It was wavy, windy but the visibility was still good at about 15m , Masaiko said it was very bad because they are used to at least 30 m vis.
I enjoyed watching the hard corals and the damselfish playing on top of the coral heads, the bottom was made of a pure white sand. I did not mind the cool sea temperature that at this time of the year is about 23 degree Celsisus. In the afternoon we went to Manta Point, even though it is the off season , it is possible to see Manta in Ishigaki. However, in this occasion I could not see Manta but the dive was nice.
Masaiko blowing rings at Manta Scrumble
Being underwater and blow bubble is always a great feeling and the idea, that I was in a place I never dived before, made my dive very enjoyable.
I could see a pair of pufferfish eating a starfish , just in from of my eyes. On the way back from the divest I had a great time enjoying the view of the coast of Ishigaki with very few houses, nice lighthouses, cliff and green hills.
Two puffer fish eating a crown of thorn starfish
On day 3 the weather was great and we decided to visit the nearby island called Taketomi. Taketomi is a very special place and I have got very surprised how beautiful it was.
We took a fast, very fast Taxi boat and we there in only 10 minutes. When we arrived there were 5 people standing on the car park of the harbor ready to invite us to join them for a tour or something. We looked at them and we decided to go with the oldest of all. It turned out to be 94 years old. He was very funny it took us to his place, that was at about 30 seconds bus ride from the harbor. Old Grandfather, whose sense of humor was great, mentioned that his bus ride was the shortest tour in the world. At his place he shew us many picture of him when he was a Sumo player and explained us that He had been the first ever sumo player from Okinawa being in the strongest division. We rented a couple of bicycles from him , keeping that in mind .
Before we left he told us that, as He was so old, if we were coming back later than expected and in the main time He had passed away we could leave the extra money in a jar on his desk . So off we went on our bike tour.
Bicycling in Taketomi
One of the many flowers blooming on the trees of Taketomi
The island was perfectly clean, with many flowers around and beautiful white sand beaches, all the houses were constructed in the traditional Japanese Style and all the roof had the “Shisa” which is a traditional Ryukyuan figure that they believe it protects the house.
The Shisa a mix between a lion and a dog watch over the house
One of the beach we visited is famous for the particularity of its sand grains that can have a shape like a star. We had a great time looking for these grain right by a crystal clear ocean with the reef reflecting a beautiful turquoise color.
looking for the grains shaped like a star
When we passed by a school I was amaze by the beauty of its entrance which was completely decorated with perfectly kept flowers. This was the prettiest School I have ever seen.
One of the common transportation in Taketomi, beside the bicycle, is the buffalo . We could see few of them taking the tourist around.
We went around with our bicycles all day and had a great time around the island . We were late and left the money as instructed in the jar, hoping that all was ok with Grandfather.
GF was alive and waiting for other tourist coming in the afternoon . Taketomi was a very enjoyable tour, I think a must if you go to visit Ishigaki. The weather was great and it was very easy to explore by bike as it is a quite flat island.
The starry shaped sand's grains
On the 4th and last day of activity as the weather was very fine we decided to go once more around the island , with the sunshine, the blue sky and the infinity view the place looked like completely different , it was a tropical paradise.
At lunch we stopped in a very small inn just by the road and we ate some fantastic noodle, the stock was very delicious .
a very tasty noodle soup
other noodles to be eaten cold, very yummy
After that we carry on and went to the northern Lighthouse of the island , the Panorama was stunning, We could see the turquoise coral reef , the deep blue ocean the green mountains and the white sand beaches. It was like a perfect dream.
The Northern Point of Ishigaki
So we went again to Kabira beach and also visited the forest of the island, where the city very cleverly built a tracking course that goes for kilometers up and the down in one of the most rich the mountain of the island.
The vegetation was outstanding and the trails very well kept. We just had a taste of the forest and then returned to the best Ice cream shop on earth to enjoy a great ice cream watching a beautiful and peaceful scenery. Sitting there I have been thinking back at our short stay and realized how peaceful Ishigaki island and life was.
The Time has been very short but I am happy with that, I wish to come back soon and do more diving and watch the Manta Rays at Manta Scrumble as well as adventure myself more into the forest , maybe do parasailing and visit the Iriomote island nearby.
A huge thanks to our friends Yukiko, Masahiko and the little Haruki kun to have welcomed us and showed us the beauty of Ishigaki Island. We will come back soon for sure