Okinawa, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 10:30AM
Tropical Paradise in Okinawa
Ishigaki-jima also known as Ishigaki island is an island paradise, with crystal waters and colorful coral and fish just beneath the surface. About 200 miles (ca. 322 km) off of the Okinawan mainland, Ishigaki-jima is covered in lush green mountains, including Mt. Omotodake, the highest mountain in Okinawa. This makes for incredible views of the island, its coastline, and the surrounding ocean.
The coral reefs in Ishigaki-jima are some of the most scenic in the world, noted especially for the variety of coral beneath the clear water. Notable spots include Shiraho, for its many types of colored coral, and Kabira Bay, with some of the bluest waters in Okinawa. In Kabira Bay, swimming, snorkeling and diving are prohibited, but glass bottom boat rides allow visitors to see beneath the water. Black pearls are also cultivated in the bay, one of only two spots in Japan.
The interior of the island, away from the beaches, is a jungle of tropical mangroves and Yaeyama palm trees, which only grow in the Yaeyama Islands, which Ishigaki island is a part of. Guided riverboats for hire take visitors through the jungles.
For travelers who like to get off the beaten track, a lot of the more scenic areas in Ishigaki are accessible only by bike or car (available for rent).