Tag Archives: okinawa

Miyako

Miyakojima

Miyakojima is one of the Okinawan islands at the southernmost point of Japan. Much like Ishigaki and Okinawa island itself, hiring a car on Miyakojima is easy and a fun way to get around the island. Miyako is only 25 kilometres by 15 kilometres so a vehicle makes for a convenient way to explore everything on offer.

Miyakojima is 300km away from Okinawa’s main island and is thus only reachable by plane. JAL have a direct flight to the island from Tokyo but expect to pay a hefty price as Miyakojima is an incredibly popular spot for traveling Japanese tourists.

Miyako is famous for its beaches and Maehama Beach and Yoshino Beach are absolutely the most popular spots to visit. A quick 15 minute drive from the airport will take you to Maehama and thus should be one of the first spots that you visit on your travels around the island.

A visit to Cape Higashi-Hennazaki would certainly be an important part of any tourist’s itinerary but expect to travel approximately 30 minutes from most of the island to reach the spot, famous for its lighthouse.

A visit over Irabu, Ikema and Kurima bridges makes for an exciting trip and the Irabu bridge is one of the longest in the world. The 1.7 kilometre Kurima Ohashi connects Kurima Island with Miyako Island and is only recently built. Irabu’s bridge – at 3.54km – takes some time to explore but gives travellers the option to visit Irabu Island.

Irabu Bridge
Irabu Bridge

Miyakojima is a must visit spot for any international traveller looking for a different experience in Japan.

Ishigaki

Ishigaki

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.

Ishigaki
Ishigaki

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.

Taketomi Island
Taketomi Island

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.

Ishigaki Pier
Ishigaki Pier
Okinawa

Okinawa

Okinawa is arguably Japan’s most popular island. Despite being well known in the press for having army bases, the region also retains plenty of beautiful beaches and sights to visit. There are an abundance of top quality hotels and city areas to enjoy; including Naha, which has some excellent options for restaurants and drinks. No visit to Okinawa would be complete without sampling the Okinawan cuisine; famous for it’s mix of sweet and sour flavours.

The best thing about Okinawa, though, is the fact that one can hire a car and drive around the island for a day or a weekend to take in most of the sights. Okinawa’s world famous aquarium can really only be reached by vehicle, so it is an ideal day trip for the kids. A travel down the northern coastline of Okinawa is not the most stunning sight, but the eventual arrival at beach resorts will delight all of the senses.

Okinawa Aquarium

Okinawa also has a stunning reconstructed former Ryukyu royal palace at Shuri Castle, which can be visited along the way out of Nara. A must see on a visit to the island.

A trip down the coastline will give you an opportunity to really see Japan’s beach beauty and is definitely worthwhile for anyone looking to visit Japan for longer than a two week period.

Okinawa map