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Published: March 24th 2018
Wednesday, 24th January 2018
I took a full day sightseeing tour of Ishigaki and Taketomi Islands today. Public transportation options do exist and it is possible to do it DIY if time permits.
The full day tour is rather easy to arrange having booked the program prior to my arrival in Okinawa. It includes a delicious set lunch at a restaurant overlooking the ocean.
My day started at the small bus station next to my accomodation. Commentaries were conducted in Japanese so I did some read-up on the web prior to the tour.
Since Ishigaki is a small island, we didn't have to travel far before reaching the various tourist spots that the bus would bring. Our first stop this morning is the Toujin Grave (Chinese Tomb) about 15 minutes from where we started in the city. This is a memorial that remembers the ill-fated Chinese labourers who perished during their voyage from China to America in the 1850s.
The bus soon dropped us at the scenic Kabira Bay dotted by white sands and turquoise waters. We had the option to join the glass-bottom boat tours centred around the bay to have a closer look at
the marine life.
After a nice lunch, our tour continued to the Yaeyama Palm Groves and the scenic Tamatorizaki Observatory Point before making its return back to the city centre. Basically, the half day course covered the attractions in a clockwise fashion in a very manageable pace.
The second half of the tour took me to the island of Taketomi, about 15 minutes ferry ride from Ishigaki. The highlight of Taketomi was probably the Water Buffalo Ride that took us around the small village in 45 minutes. Commentaries were also in Japanese even though I had some vague ideas the messages the guide was trying to convey across.
My day ended with a short walk around the village before catching an evening ferry back to Ishigaki city.
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