Tropical Japan: Adventures in Ishigaki 石垣島

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For the last week of natsuyasumi 夏休み (summer break) a couple friends and I headed off to Ishigaki Island 石垣島, one of the smaller less populated islands of Okinawa 沖縄, for a little adventure travel and R&R in paradise!

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Our journey began last Monday evening on the last bus to Osaka International Airport from Kobe. If you find yourself with a flight departing prior to around 10am (ours was 7:20am), shacking up overnight in the airport is the only way to hope to make it in time!
Although not being what one might think to be the most comfortable or classiest of nights, if you borrow some blankets from the information desk and find a nice dim spot it’s not a half bad way to grab a little shut eye.

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We opted to stay in a cheap little youth hostel called Iriwa on the inaka side of the island, although located a little far from society at only 2000円 a night who can complain! The website is below.
http://iriwa.org/about-english.html

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In order to compensate for our location, we rented a car from said hostel for the week to explore the island. At only 3000円 a day it lived up to our expectations of what you might receive from such an appropriately priced vehicle.

Seemingly held together with rust and duct-tape we soon named the little guy gokiburi kaa ゴキブリカー (cockroach car)!
As shortly after departing for the first time we were soon attacked by several cockroaches! this led to the conclusion that the only way to justify the number we encountered within the interior, was that a nest of the insects must have been hidden away in its rusted doors!

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With a car at our disposal exploring the island even from our some what remote location was no trouble. We spent evenings watching sunsets on beaches sipping cool beers, dinning upon fancy local cuisine and chilling in the common room of our hostel.
Days we explored ishigaki and its neighboring islands, some of exciting activities we got up to included swimming in waterfalls, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, canyoning and cycling! Basically ALLTHE EXERCISE!

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On a final note here is some of there awesome omiyage (gifts) I picked for my coworkers! These beniimo taruto 紅芋タルト (purple yam tarts) are particularly popular as local fare so I grabbed a box sparing a couple extra for my own nommings! Basically just a tart base with a fluffy purple sweetened yam filling, delicious town! It was hard to part with them when the time came to hand them out!

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Not that I have visited Naha yet but from why I have heard Ishigai offers a much more rural and isolated experience of Japanese island culture in Okinawa. To be honest there were times when I forgot I was in Japan all together, quite a lot of scenery and tired little towns looked like they belonged in south east Asia.

That’s not to say I don’t recommend the experience 100%, just bring a long a couple good friends, a pocket full of yen to burn and the spirit of adventure!

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