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Driving around Ishigaki

Ishigaki, Okinawa is reachable from Naha Airport via a one hour flight. The island is small and very drivable. Public transport outside the main city is limited so the best way to see the island is to rent a car. You can do a loop of the whole island in a few hours, but if you make stops along the way you can spend a day going round the island.

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Near to the city centre is a botanical gardens (left) and a peace bell (right).

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In most places the roads are wide, and flat, with very little other traffic. The other people on the road are polite, and don’t get angry if you drive slow, or hold them up by doing a three point turn.

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We chose to go around the island clockwise, and follow whichever road was closest to the sea.

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You will get great views from the car, but for some of the famous views such as Kabira Bay can only be seen if you get out of the car, and walk a few minutes.

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Some of the beaches are designated as swimming beaches, and have marked out areas for swimming and snorkelling. These beaches do tend to have showers, but don’t tend to have coin lockers, so you’ll need someone to stay on the beach to look after your clothes and valuables. Or you could just risk leaving your clothes on the beach. Japan is very safe compared to other Western countries.

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Here is the lighthouse at the very North of Ishigaki. You can climb up the small hill to get a great view of the sea and the nearby coast line.

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Our Ishigaki rental car cost ¥7000 for 24 hours. We paid an extra ¥525 for insurance, and filling the car back up with petrol (‘Mantan’) when we had finished with it cost another ¥2100.


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