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Top 9 Things To Do In Ishigaki Okinawa | Japan

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Aside from the insanely delicious food on offer in Ishigaki Island, the views around the whole island is just spectacular. There's plenty to do for families with young children/older children, couples, individuals and friends alike. Although we had 5 days in Ishigaki, there just wasn't enough time to do everything - which means we will need to come back again another time!

1) Kabira Bay
This is arguably THE must visit sightseeing spot in Ishigaki, the whole bay is simply breathtaking!
Kabira bay is not permitted for swimming due to black pearl cultivation, but you can enjoy the bay's famous glass bottom boat tours - an essential to experience the beauty of its underwater life. This worked out brilliantly for us with small children in our group, who are too young to try snorkelling and would work well too for older family members like grandparents.

There are many spots for fantastic photo opportunities and there's a nostalgic little tearoom enroute from the ticket office/car park to the bay. Perfect for a pick me up refreshment or lunch. 

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

2) Mirumiru Hompo Honten - ice cream with a view
Not too far from Kabira Bay is one of Ishigaki's most iconic ice cream shops Mirumiru hompo honten, nestled on top of a hill with an abundance of open space overlooking the sea. Choices of ice cream are mouthwatering; we tried the milk flavour, brown sugar cane, purple sweet potato and tofu. There's also a little souvenir shop and plenty of parking.

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

3) Resort Hotel
We stayed at the Intercontinental hotel which was well equipped for young families like ours. They had their own outdoor and indoor swimming pool, a beach with a semi private area for hotel guests, an indoor playroom and lots of guided tours. If you stay in a resort, a lot of your time can be spent there enjoying all the amenities as well as planning day trips to local hotspots around the Island.   

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

4) Maesato Beach
Incredibly gorgeous, fine white sandy beach right in front of our hotel. Aside from enjoying the beautifully clear waters and sunbathing, there's an inflatable ocean park of obstacle courses which we had the most crazy fun on! There's also snorkelling tours run by the hotel, which half of our family also went on (I'd stayed on the beach to look after Isaac and my baby niece). A fantastic day at the beach.

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

5) Banna Park 
Banna park is a hugely spacious park with the most amazing playground for children and adults alike. As we had 3 kids in our group, we drove straight to the carpark beside the playground. The park itself is a nature park with stunning flowers and trees, and is home to thousands of butterflies and other creatures. You could easily spend a full day here exploring everything.

We had the best fun (and sore bums) from the huge metal roller slide that begins at the top of a hill at the playground, sliding all the way to the very bottom! Definitely a park for adults as much as it is for children.

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

6) Star Gazing
Book a star gazing tour. Away from the lights and pollution of the cities, the skies offer a much clearer view on the island. Our hotel had tours operating so we just joined one of theirs. At 8pm, we all headed down to the beach, sat on the deck chairs in complete darkness with foil blankets and a pair of binoculars. They even had little binoculars for toddlers! A telescope is also set up for us to view the moon's crater which was crystal clear. 


7) Traditional Japanese Restaurant 
Experience a traditional Japanese meal at Funakura no Sat in the evening with traditional live music being played. We sat on tatami mat chairs and feasted through their delicious menu. The whole restaurant's setting is so tranquil and felt perfectly restorative for the soul.

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

8) Ishigaki City 
So much shopping and eating to be done in this main area of Ishigaki. Unfortunately I didn't get to spend enough time here at all, and I could happily spend a couple of days here. The famous Okinawa sea salt shop Yukishio can be found here, a must for buying some souveniers. Okinawa sea salt has the highest mineral content in the world and is said to be the secret for having the most centurions in Japan! You can also find Okinawa black sugar cane and purple sweet potato snacks, and there's even an ice cream window right at the front of the shop.

We did come back one evening to try a beef BBQ restaurant, quality was good for low prices. Lots of the walking areas are covered with pretty floor murals. 

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

9) Shopping
If you want lasting memories of your trip to Okinawa, there's no better way to do it than stocking up on cooking ingredients and food souvenirs. There was a shopping complex nearby to Intercontinental hotel with a MaxValu supermarket and Daiso store right next to each other. Daiso is Japan's version of Poundland in UK but with amazing items! 

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan
Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

Other Things To Do
Due to the lack of time, there were a few things I'd love to have done whilst in Ishigaki.

Island hopping to Taketomi Island only takes 15 minutes by ferry from Ishigaki harbour. Taketomi is a culturally rich island with well preserved traditional Okinawan houses with red tiles, lions on the rooftops and red hibiscus flowers everywhere. 

Going on a hiking and canoeing tour in Japan comes with a surprise - a delightful lunch of Okinawa soba cooked by the tour guide with ingredients straight out from their backpack! Some of our family members had done this before with Kazaguruma and highly recommended it. Next time we shall!

And don't forget, the best thing you can do in Ishigaki is to simply EAT! Here's my Food Guide To Ishigaki.

Top-9-Things-To-Do-In-Ishigaki-Okinawa-Japan

I love you Japan.

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