We arrived in Ishigaki in the morning and had about 4 hours to explore, but I wish I had more time! This beautiful island on the coast of Japan has so many ‘summer holiday’ things to do. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time, but I’ll tell you what we did, and also what you should do when you go to Ishigaki.
To get from the ship to Ishigaki we had to use the ship’s tender boats. A tender boat is basically a small boat that is on the ship that can take about a hundred passengers. When the harbor cannot accommodate the ship (either because the ship is too big or the harbor is already full), we use the tender boats. This can cause delays, which results in less time at the port of call. So keep this in mind when you see ‘tender ports’ on your itinerary.
When we arrived we got a map from the cruise terminal and decided to walk around to get a feel for Ishigaki. The streets are full of shops where you can buy souvenirs or get something to eat. We came across a local market not too far from the ship where the people sell fresh produce and other things. We then found a very small restaurant where we had a delicious lunch before we had to head back with enough time to spare for use of the tender boat.
I recommend that you START EARLY, and then do one of two things:
1. Hire a car and drive around the whole island. With a circumference of about 160 km, it can be done in one day and there are plenty of beaches and places to see.
2. Take a ferry to Taketomi Island. The ferries are at the harbor where the tender boat will dock and takes about 30 minutes to get to Taketomi island. There you can spend a relaxed day on the beach or explore the small, traditional village (or do both!)