Gateway to the Yaeyama Islands Acclaimed for its Harmony between Nature and Music
Look around and take in the sea and sky of cobalt blue, tropical mountains towering overhead, and a night sky full of stars. Ishigaki Island is rich in nature and musical tradition. You will find the delicate notes of sanshin accompanying the distinctive songs of the island, it is a wonderful accompaniment to the wide range of experiences available on this island rich in nature’s gifts. From the Tamatorizaki Observatory on the east side of the island, you can look over the vast blue ocean, and see he highly transparent water and stunning surrounds of Kabira Bay, truly a sight to behold. After dusk, you can explore a completely different side to your daytime experience as you gaze upon the beautiful clusters of stars to be seen in the tropical night sky. This island is the gateway to the Yaeyama Islands, and the idyllic tropical setting offers a wide array of fun things to do aside from the wealth of marine leisure activities.
Astronomers Confirm this is Japan’s Best Starry Sky
You can see 84 constellations out of a possible 88 constellations from Ishigaki Island. When darkness covers the sea of Yaeyama, a sea of stars spreads before you over the night sky. Among all the star clusters in the sky, the Yaeyama islanders (shimanchu) have long been fascinated by the Pleiades, referring to it as “murikabushi,” meaning star cluster, and have created many stories revolving around it that continue to be passed down to the present generations. The starlit sky of the Yaeyama Islands, including Ishigaki Island, which is said to have a profile for a starry sky that clears world standards, is a candidate site to be recognized as the premier Starry Sky Conservation District of Japan.
An Island of Traditional Performing Arts
Ishigaki Island has long been known as “the country of poets, the island of songs, and the land of dance” and has an entertainment culture unique to Okinawa. Tubarama, which couples thoughtful lyrics with an emotional melody, is among the best that Yaeyama folk songs have to offer and continues to be sung by many as a love duet. Ishigaki Island even has the Tubarama Contest held on August 13 of the lunar calendar every year, substantiating the claim that Ishigaki Island is the island of performing arts both in name and reality.
Kabira Bay is Ishigaki Island’s iconic scenic spot and truly represents the allure of Okinawa. Within the bay is a pure white sand beach, contrasting the green color of nine small islands, the clear blue sky, you can see intense gradients of blue, and it all come together spectacularly. While swimming is prohibited, you can enjoy watching the colorful tropical fish swimming from a glass boat. When visiting Ishigaki Island, this is certainly one place you don’t want to miss.
Access to Ishigaki Island
By air : Naha Airport — New Ishigaki Airport (approximately 1 hour)
*Direct flights available from Taiwan, Hong Kong.
Taiwan – Ishigaki (about 1 hour)
Hong Kong – Ishigaki (about 2 hours)
*Direct flights available from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka.
Tokyo – Ishigaki (about 3 hours 30 minutes)
Osaka – Ishigaki (about 2 hours 20 minutes)
Nagoya(Aichi) – Ishigaki (about 2 hours 45 minutes)
Fukuoka – Ishigaki (about 2 hours)
By sea : None
Ishigaki Island Basic Information
Area / Population: 222.63km / approx. 48,900 people