Ishigaki is one of the most southernmost islands in Japan and can be reached by plane direct from many major cities; including Tokyo, Fukuoka and Osaka.
Japan’s incredible infrastructure never ceases to amaze and even as far south as Ishigaki has excellent roads and highways.
Hiring a car at Ishigaki Airport is easy and convenient. There are shuttle cars to drive you to your vehicle but Nippon Rent a Car is just a short walk away if you have no reservation in advance. One of the best things about Japanese rental car companies is that if the store is not located directly within an airport, transportation for free is generally provided.
From Ishigaki Airport you will be able to drive directly to Kojima Bay, in approximately 20-30 minutes. The roads are quiet and easy to navigate, but car parking at the bay could prove busy and difficult. Prepare for a short wait during busier times of the year. The bay itself is pretty and is one of the most famous beaches and picture spots in all of Japan.
From there, the possibilities are endless. Ishigaki is an island where you should probably split your trips into two separate days; conquering the north on a different day to the south. A route South of Kojima Bay can see you drive along the west coast of the island. It would be worth stopping at XX beach; don’t be put off by the hotel that you need to walk through. The beach is public and the hotel welcomes guests.
From there, a short five minute drive will see you arrive at YY. This is a beautiful spot to catch the sunset and get a photo of the short drop down to the sea from the rocks.
From there onward you may want to drive through Ishigaki City. Convenience stores are virtually non-existent on the island apart from Ishigaki City, so you may want to stock up on supplies here. A quick drive through the city will see you drive past the port and if you choose to take a day elsewhere, a visit to Taketomi Island makes for a lovely trip.
A drive around the bay will then take you to the ANA intercontental hotel and the beach close by makes for a lovely spot.
When you eventually go north of the island you will discover a side to Japan unlike anywhere else. Lots of small communities and long, stunning, quiet roads all the way through the centre of the island.
At the far north of Ishigaki you will find ZZZ. A beautiful spot to take a photo or two, the cape itself also has a small mountain to climb up for an even better view.
One of the most beautiful things about Ishigaki is the chains of small roads just off of the main streets. At any time a trek down one of those roads could take you through a small village or, as I discovered on one turn off, a stunning secluded beach.
Ishigaki is a beautiful place to visit and is highly recommended for any visitor looking for a slightly different experience of Japan.