Feeling hot, hot, hot
The island of Ishigaki, or Ishigaki-jima (石垣島), is the main island of the Yaeyama archipelago (八重山諸島). Part of Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県), the island is located in the extreme south of Japan. Its beautiful beaches, ideal for sunbathing and diving, make it a destination of choice.
The town of Ishigaki (石垣市), located on the island of the same name, is the southernmost city in Japan. As such, it benefits from a mild climate throughout the year; indeed, the temperature rarely falls below 15 degrees celsius.
Be careful though, as typhoons pass through the island each year, mainly in August. The best time to visit is from April to November, to enjoy the beaches.
Ishigaki Island is located midway between the main island of Okinawa and Taiwan, an indication of how far the Yaeyama islands are from Tokyo! The result is a specific hybrid culture, which can be seen in the remains of the Yaeyama Museum, near the port.
You'll find many picture-perfect beaches such Yonehara beach or Sukuji beach on the island, where you can not only relax, but also go diving or snorkeling.
Corals and colorful fish abound here! At Kabira Ishizaki, you can even see manta rays! Be careful with the habu jellyfish though, which are very poisonous.
Don't miss Kabira Bay, between the beaches of Yonehara and Sukuji, which is said to offer the most beautiful views on Ishigaki.
Ishigaki island also has several mountains, including Banna-dake, Omoto-dake and Nosoko-dake, from which you can admire splendid panoramic views.
Gateway to the Yaeyama Islands
The majority of the population of the Yaeyama islands live on Ishigaki. It's the main entry point to visit the rest of the Yaeyama Islands. It's also from here that you will find the airport and ferries travelling to and from other nearby islands, including Taiwan.
From Ishigaki, you will have access to other islands of the archipelago, such as Iriomote or Taketomi.