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Okinawa Japan photography group featuring unique pictures of Okinawa
Ishigaki Island is the transportation hub of the Yaeyama Islands as such it is the main transfer point for getting to any of the smaller islands that don’t have direct flights.
Ishigaki Airport (ISG) is the largest airport in the Yaeyama Islands. Frequent flights to Naha Airport (OKA) and Miyako Airport (MMY) can be booked easily.
Direct flights to other Major Japanese cities like Tokyo’s Hanada Airport (HND) can also be booked but less frequent.
Taxi from the Ishigaki Airport to central Ishigaki City cost 800 – 1,000 yen one way.
Ishigaki Port (石垣港) is located at the center of the city near the bus terminal. There are two parts: the central Ritō-sanbashi (離島さんばし), for services to nearby islands, and a second unnamed pier at the southeast corner of the port for long-distance services to Yonaguni and slow boats to Hateruma. The port information office is next to Ritō-sanbashi pier 1.
Services to destinations outside the Yaeyama Islands are limited. There are 4 services per week from Naha and Miyako to Ishigaki. A weekly slow ferry travels from Keelung (Taiwan) to Ishigaki, continuing onward all the way to Osaka and Nagoya. Star Cruises also runs cruises along the same route weekly in the high season.
There are extensive services to the other islands in the Yaeyama group, including:
Taketomi (¥580, 15 min), departures every 30 minutes
Ōhara (¥1540, 45 min) and Uehara/Funaura (¥2000, 50 min) on Iriomote, departures roughly hourly
Kohama (¥1030, 25 min), departures roughly hourly
Kuro (¥1130, 25 min), 5 departures daily
Hateruma (¥3000, 70 min), 3 departures daily
Yonaguni (¥3400, 4-5 hours), 2 departures weekly
Prices and times above are one-ways on fast ferries and may vary slightly from company to company. Return fares are usually 10% cheaper. Slow boat service, if available, will be somewhat cheaper but connections are infrequent.
The major operators are Anei Kankō, Hirata Group and Yaeyama Kankō Ferry. There are free courtesy buses from the larger resorts to some ferries, enquire locally.
Renting a car is the best and easiest way to travel around Ishigaki Island. At the Airport there are a few different agencies to choose from.
The average price for the smallest class of car will cast approximately 4,000 – 5,000 yen per day
If you don’t feel like driving yourself the other best option is a taxi. If you are in Ishigaki city they are not hard to find slowly cruising the street looking for passengers. To get in the door will cost 390yen, a real bargain if you have even been in a taxi in Tokyo.
After 2km the meter will start to rise quickly but the drivers will usually speed you to your destination. It is advisable to have you destination written down in Japanese and a map if possible as most taxi drives on Ishigaki or anywhere in Japan don’t know much if any English.