Ishigaki, Japan

The balmy, subtropical climate draws countless visitors to its sandy shores, but Ishigaki offers much more than your typical island getaway. It is the cultural, political and economic center of the Yaeyama Islands, originally founded in 1908 as Yaeyama Village and becoming Ishigaki Town in 1926. Ishigaki was elevated to city status on July 10, 1947. A hilltop Shinto shrine which dates back to 1614 is the perfect place to start your exploration of this lovely town. Noted for its white-sand beaches and turquoise waters to which snorkelers flock for a glimpse of the island's famed manta rays, Ishigaki Island offers many opportunities to commune with nature. Ishigaki has palm forests, mangrove-lined rivers suited for kayaking, and jungle-covered mountains perfect for hiking adventures. Amidst such natural beauty, you'll find an abundance of cultural sites with ties to the island's rich history. The Yaeyama Museum displays historic artifacts as well as traditional cultural items, and a visit to the well-preserved Miyara Dunchi, built in 1819, is a rare example of a samurai-style residence. Be sure to leave time in your busy day to sample some of the sweet island pineapple and to shop for the island's famed black pearls, a most special souvenir.

Note: Ishigaki is an anchorage port. Transportation from ship to shore is via the ship's tender service.

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Points of Interest

  • Kabira Bay
  • Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb)
  • Taketomi Island
  • Iriomote Island
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory
  • Local Crafts & Candy
  • Ishigaki Pottery Studio
Learn about these Points of Interest

More about Ishigaki, Japan Points of Interest

  • Kabira Bay

    The beautiful, turquoise waters of Kabira Bay are one of only two cultivation sites of black pearls in Japan. A glass-bottom boat showcases the bay's colorful underwater world and coral reefs.

  • Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb)

    Honoring the memory of Chinese laborers killed during a sea mutiny in the mid-1800s, this ornately decorated monument raises awareness of this tragic occurrence, centered off the coast of Ishigaki.

  • Taketomi Island

    Board a ferryboat to this petite island, the site of a perfectly preserved Ryukyu village where traditional red-roofed architecture, local crafts and transportation by water buffalo cart are a way of life.

  • Iriomote Island

    Okinawa's second largest island's dense vegetation, lush mangrove forests and Iriomote National Park welcome outdoor enthusiasts to kayaking, hiking and beach adventures.

  • Tamatorizaki Observatory

    Take in panoramic views of the ocean and colorful reefs, Cape Tamatori, Ibaruma Bay and the majestic hills of Ishigaki's northern peninsula from the observation deck of this popular photo spot.

  • Local Crafts & Candy

    The ingenuity of the Ishigaki people is showcased in their traditional crafts and local delicacies. Create "minsa" textiles, enjoy a sugar cane treat and shop for exquisite black pearl jewelry.

  • Ishigaki Pottery Studio

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Guided in Japanese: Highlights of Ishigaki

4.5 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-204
  • Kabira Bay
  • Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb)
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory

A variety of attractions introduce you to the wonders of Ishigaki as you explore its most popular sites by motorcoach. First stop is Tojin Tomb, a sacred site that honors an 1852 tragedy in Chinese history. Note the Chinese influence in the building's architecture and ornamentation. Nearby, there is also a newer monument dedicated to three American soldiers who were captured in 1945 near the end of World War II. Next door, a candy shop makes and sells its own sugar cane sweets, which you may purchase. Picturesque Kabira Bay, one of the most photographed spots on Ishigaki, is best appreciated from a glass-bottom boat. The ride is great fun, and the undersea life is breathtaking. End your day at the Tamatorizaki Observatory, overlooking both the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. Return to port at the completion of your event-filled day.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$84.00

Highlights of Ishigaki

4.5 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-200
  • Kabira Bay
  • Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb)
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory

Gain insight into Ishigaki's most popular sights with tours that showcase its unique history and photogenic beauty. Your exploration begins with a coach ride to the Tojin Tomb, a sacred site that pays tribute to the tragic events of 1852 when an American/British ship transporting Chinese workers wrecked off Ishigaki's rocky coast. Adjacent to the monument sits Yashiya, a candy shop that makes and sells sugar cane candy. Next, embark on a glass-bottomed boat tour on picturesque Kabira Bay. Step aboard and delight in the clarity of the turquoise waters and the stunning color and formations of the coral reefs. A short scenic drive takes you to the Tamatorizaki Observatory, which boasts views all the way to Ibaruma Bay and Hirakubozaki on clear days. The pathway from the entrance to the observation deck is planted with an abundance of gorgeous hibiscus flowers that bloom year round.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$109.95

Guided in Japanese: Best of Ishigaki

6.5 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-104
  • Kabira Bay
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory

Outdoor enthusiasts will find an array of scenic venues to explore in beautiful Ishigaki. Your full-day adventure begins when you board a motorcoach at port and set off to the Tamatorizaki Observatory, surrounded by fragrant hibiscus blossoms with dazzling views of the Hirakubo Peninsula. Next, walk through the shady Yaeyama Palm Tree Grove, where rare, wild palm trees – indigenous only to the Yaeyama Islands – tower 10 meters high (32 feet). The grove is designated as a national natural monument. Pause to refresh with a lunch at a neighborhood restaurant, then proceed to tranquil Kabira Bay. One of the prettiest and most photographed spots on Ishigaki, it produces the famous cultured black pearls. Your final stop is Emerald Sea Observatory, located in Banna Park – a nature reserve centered around Banna Dake Mountain. From this lookout, take in panoramic views of Ishigaki city and the surrounding Taketomi Islands. With a camera filled with memories, return to port.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

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$129.00

Guided in Japanese: Taketomi Island

4 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-219
  • Taketomi Island

Explore the petite islet of Taketomishima and step back in time as you see the sites of this living museum of Ryūkȳū heritage. A quick ferry ride will take you to this island with a population under 300. The village charms with red clay roofs, lion sculptures, and volcanic rock walls that are lined with colorful flowers. Water buffalo cart is the means of transportation – and you'll surely enjoy taking a ride through the narrow streets. Stop at Taketomi Island Pier and take a moment to snap a photo, then cross the road to the island's Taketomi Yugafukan Museum, a traditional wooden building that shows videos with stories and music from the region. Later, walk on the "star sand" beach, called Hoshizuna-no-hama, and search for the tiny crustacean shells yourself. Enjoy the return ferry and motorcoach ride back to port.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$139.00

Guided in Japanese: Local Product of Ishigaki

8 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-114
  • Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb)
  • Local Crafts & Candy

A full-day island tour highlights the many products and crafts produced on Ishigaki. Begin with a visit to the Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb). This sacred site pays tribute to a tragic wreck off Ishigaki's rocky coast. Nearby, there is also a newer monument dedicated to three American soldiers captured in World War II and a sweet shop that makes and sells its own sugar cane candy. Next, learn about Ishigaki salt, known for its variety and intense flavors, at a small factory. Then, it's on to a crafts studio to learn about the vibrant cloth that has been a tradition in Ishigaki for many centuries. Continue on to Kabira Bay, to enjoy lunch and a walk to the Ryūkȳū Black Pearl Center. Watch a demonstration at the Ishigaki Pottery Studio and stop for a refreshing ice cream treat at a local farm before heading back to port.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$149.00

Guided in Japanese: A Discovery Exclusive - Ultimate Ishigaki

6.5 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-109
  • Kabira Bay
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory

The best of Ishigaki, from its captivating natural environments to its exquisite cuisine, is enjoyed on this full-day exploration of its most popular outdoor attractions. Board a comfortable motorcoach and set off to Tamatorizaki Observatory, located in the northern part of the city, a dramatic overlook surrounded by blooming hibiscus and endless views of the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. Continue on to the Yaeyama Palm Tree Grove, where you'll walk among the very rare 10-meter-tall (32-foot) palm trees that grow in the wild on the northeastern skirts of Mt. Omoto. Pause for an exceptional lunch of Ishigaki beef – one of Japan's premium beefs renowned for its tender quality. Refreshed, travel to Kabira Bay, one of the most photographed spots on Ishigaki. Snap your own picture of its jade-green waters, where cultured black pearls are produced. Your last stop is Emerald Sea Observatory, where the day concludes with panoramic views of Ishigaki city and the Taketomi Islands. Return to port.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$159.00

Local Products Ishigaki

8 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-110
  • Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb)
  • Local Crafts & Candy

A full-day island tour highlights the many products and crafts produced on Ishigaki. Begin with a visit to the Tojin Tomb (Chinese Tomb). This sacred site pays tribute to a tragic wreck off Ishigaki's rocky coast. Nearby, there is also a newer monument dedicated to three American soldiers captured in World War II and a sweet shop that makes and sells its own sugar cane candy. Next, learn about Ishigaki salt, known for its variety and intense flavors, at a small factory. Then, it's on to a crafts studio to learn about the vibrant cloth that has been a tradition in Ishigaki for many centuries. Continue on to Kabira Bay, to enjoy lunch and a walk to the Ryūkȳū Black Pearl Center. Watch a demonstration at the Ishigaki Pottery Studio and stop for a refreshing ice cream treat at a local farm before heading back to port.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$169.95

Best of Ishigaki

6.5 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-100
  • Kabira Bay
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory

Outdoor enthusiasts will find an array of scenic venues to explore in beautiful Ishigaki. Your full-day adventure begins when you board a motorcoach at port and set off to the Tamatorizaki Observatory, surrounded by fragrant hibiscus blossoms with dazzling views of the Hirakubo Peninsula. Next, walk through the shady Yaeyama Palm Tree Grove, where rare, wild palm trees – indigenous only to the Yaeyama Islands – tower 10 meters high (32 feet). The grove is designated as a national natural monument. Pause to refresh with a lunch at a neighborhood restaurant, then proceed to tranquil Kabira Bay. One of the prettiest and most photographed spots on Ishigaki, it produces the famous cultured black pearls. Your final stop is Emerald Sea Observatory, located in Banna Park – a nature reserve centered around Banna Dake Mountain. From this lookout, take in panoramic views of Ishigaki city and the surrounding Taketomi Islands. With a camera filled with memories, return to port.

Read More about Best of Ishigaki description

Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$169.95

A Discovery Exclusive - Ultimate Ishigaki

6.5 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-105
  • Kabira Bay
  • Tamatorizaki Observatory

The best of Ishigaki, from its captivating natural environments to its exquisite cuisine, is enjoyed on this full-day exploration of its most popular outdoor attractions. Board a comfortable motorcoach and set off to Tamatorizaki Observatory, located in the northern part of the city, a dramatic overlook surrounded by blooming hibiscus and endless views of the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. Continue on to the Yaeyama Palm Tree Grove, where you'll walk among the very rare 10-meter-tall (32-foot) palm trees that grow in the wild on the northeastern skirts of Mt. Omoto. Pause for an exceptional lunch of Ishigaki beef – one of Japan's premium beefs renowned for its tender quality. Refreshed, travel to Kabira Bay, one of the most photographed spots on Ishigaki. Snap your own picture of its jade-green waters, where cultured black pearls are produced. Your last stop is Emerald Sea Observatory, where the day concludes with panoramic views of Ishigaki city and the Taketomi Islands. Return to port.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$189.95

Taketomi Island

4 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-215
  • Taketomi Island

Explore the petite islet of Taketomishima, a charming, living museum and true representation of Ryukyu culture. A quick ferry ride takes you to Taketomi Island Pier and site of Taketomi Yugafukan Museum, a wooden building that shows videos with stories and music from the region. The village itself is preserved in the traditional style. You'll see houses covered by red tiled roofs complete with lion statues (the lion statue is believed to ward off any evil spirits). Many roads are unpaved lanes of white sand, and traveling in a cart pulled by a water buffalo is the preferred way of sightseeing – and if you're lucky, your guide will also tell you folk stories and play the "sanshin," a traditional Okinawan stringed instrument. Later, walk on the "star sand" beach called Hoshizuna-no-hama, and search for the tiny crustacean shells. Enjoy the return ferry and motorcoach ride back to port.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

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$199.95

Guided in Japanese: Iriomote Island & Mangrove Cruise

8 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-119
  • Iriomote Island

Set sail on adventure when you hop aboard a ferry boat to paradise. Okinawa's second largest island, Iriomote is one of tremendous natural beauty. Unspoiled forest foliage covers almost 90% of this rustic getaway, famous for its mangrove forests. A number of rivers wind their way through the island, giving you access to the interior. Board your mangrove cruise, which snakes its way along one of the island's longest waterways. A guide will point out the sights. Then, head to Mihara, established as a waterfront castle town in 1582. A water buffalo taxi will cross to Yubu Jima. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of this island and explore the lush botanical gardens after lunch. At the end of your busy and exciting day, enjoy a return ferry ride.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$209.00

Iriomote Island & Mangrove Cruise

8 hours | Ishigaki | ISG-115
  • Iriomote Island

Set sail on adventure when you hop aboard a ferry boat to paradise. Okinawa's second largest island, Iriomote is one of tremendous natural beauty. Unspoiled forest foliage covers almost 90% of this rustic getaway, famous for its mangrove forests. A number of rivers wind their way through the island, giving you access to the interior. Board your mangrove cruise, which snakes its way along one of the island's longest waterways. A guide will point out the sights. Then, head to Mihara, established as a waterfront castle town in 1582. A water buffalo taxi will cross to Yubu Jima. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of this island and explore the lush botanical gardens after lunch. At the end of your busy and exciting day, enjoy a return ferry ride.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$279.95