Okinawan Glory – Ishigaki

Ishigaki – an unheard of location in Okinawa to most tourists until very recently. In the last few years, there has been an increase of flights to the island thanks to the budget airlines such as Peach offering affordable fares. Don’t let that steer you away from going to Ishigaki. You can still find beauty, peace, and glorious beaches on this stunning island.

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I stayed at a guesthouse close to the airport and thankfully I met a wonderful person who could drive. It was thanks to this I could see the island in full and discover some of the most beautiful locations around. He also taught me one of the best pasta recipes from his home in Northern Italy that I still use today. I won’t get into that now…

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The stereotype of Okinawa being swamped with American soldiers, and the true beauty of the place is no longer, is somewhat true on the main island and the city of Naha. But Ishigaki still has plenty to offer. It’s also geographically closer to Taipei than it is to Naha – there’s a fun fact for you.

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The rocky cliffs offer a stunning view across the shockingly blue ocean. It can get very windy on these cliffs so do be careful of your belongings. I ventured down the cliff to some of the pristine clear waters down below. There aren’t many words that can describe how I felt being here, but I am sure many of you reading this have felt something similar before. The sun and wind combined with the view just puts you at ease. I felt at ease…

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We also found a secluded beach once we climbed down a different cliff. Only the two of us here, we parted ways for a little while. There were some stunning rock pools nearby so I took the opportunity to dip in and enjoy the water.

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Also, don’t forget to take a trip to the port in Ishigaki City. From here, you can explore the islands surrounding Ishigaki. I was adamant that I wanted to go to one of the smallest islands, so we went to Kuroshima – famous for its cows and flat fields. We rented bikes when we arrived and cycled endlessly around. Some on the roads, and some through the fields. We discovered further secluded beaches that went on for miles, and other beautiful locations.

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Ishigaki is also famous for its sugarcane juice. There are options for you to dilute the juice but we went for the 100% shabang. Needless to say, it was a little overwhelming but I managed to get it all down my throat.

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Ishigaki is still a wonderful place to visit, but it might have a lot of tourists now. If you can, take a cheap flight out of Osaka or Tokyo and visit the island. If you can’t drive, just head to the smaller islands nearby and grab a bike. It’s totally worth it…

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