YOUR STAY IN ISHIGAKI VERSUS OKINAWA
The Yaeyama islands are very different from any other place in Japan. Food & culture is typical Yaeyama. The relaxed vibe is typical Yaeyama. The islands are paradise green, calm, somewhat mysterious and still less developed as for example Okinawa.
I dislike Naha city on Okinawa honto because of its huge concrete buildings. Is this a tropical island? This is the example of human interference in nature too much.
For many of you planning your trip through Japan, I’d like to share with you my personal opinion. Maybe to make your decisions easier. To get straight to the point, I personally dislike main city Naha on Okinawa island. Once such a beautiful tropical island, now such a huge ugly concrete city. When we have to go there, especially in the city, I don’t feel I’m on a tropical island. Apart from the humidity. But for some of you who like to go shopping, Naha is a better place to go though.
OKINAWA HAS A LARGE AMERICAN FOOTPRINT
Okinawa island has huge American military bases. The forces bear a heavy present in local daily life. Which is quite shocking for me to see. I’ve been in Okinawa several times now and I’m still not used to see apache helicopters almost touching the rocky cliffs and testosteron men hanging halfway out. It seems they think it’s their right to do and to not care at all about local people and visitors. It’s an island with a large American footprint.
Although there are still beautiful places on the island and the surrounding Okinawan islands are lovely as well, I personally love the tranquillity and wildness of the Yaeyamas. That’s also the reason why I tell you, because I think if you read this you would love to know my honest view.
The Yaeyamas are still quite unspoiled. No large, ugly buildings here or villages connecting each other to extend the city like for example in Naha, Okinawa. I hope it will stay like that.
ACCOMMODATION IN ISHIGAKI & THE YAEYAMAS
Ishigaki island as the main hub for The Yaeyama islands offers several accommodation possibilities. From luxury (resort) hotels to Airbnb, to minshuku and apartments. Recently more accommodation development has started as well. The other Yaeyama islands have a smaller choice of accommodation.
WHEN TO BOOK IN ISHIGAKI & THE YAEYAMAS
We recommend you to book as early as possible. Golden week in the beginning of May, Summer and New Year are the main travel seasons for Japanese people, which means fully booked hotels and car rentals.
PRICES & SERVICE
Prices tend to be higher compared to Western standards. Part of the reason is that Japanese travellers can only take a few days off for their holiday. Plus they have to take a holiday at the same time as the rest of Japan. Result is higher demand and higher rates.
The service levels are in general good and in some resort hotels and private accommodations higher than general. Local people can give you a really good feeling and you go home with many unforgettable memories.