We have the complimentary breakfast. D enjoys this and says I shouldn’t complain as it is free. She is right, of course, but I can’t really enjoy miso soup in the morning, free or not.
Pottery Street 壺屋やちむん通り
We have some time to fill before our flight to Ishigaki-jima. Not enough to do very much, but too much to ignore. We opt to wander, with laden rucksacks, and visit the pottery street ‘Tsuboya Yachimun Street’. This is, obviously, located not far from where we were staying. The street is cobblestones with old shops and houses, good for wandering.
It is still too early for most of the shops, but this is of little importance as we have no interest in buying anything. The variety of Shisa on display is an education in itself.
Vietnamese Sandwich Shop
Emerging on the main street at the end of the pottery area and turning right, we soon find a Vietnamese sandwich shop ‘Co’m Ngon’. This is a cute little place in a traditional Okinawan house not fancy at all but very Showa.
We order a sandwich to take away, a handy lunch at the airport before we board our plane. At the airport, the sandwich proves to be excellent, if messy, and difficult to eat without a plate, table and apron.
Suddenly our flight is called, sandwiches hurriedly finished, and we are on our way.
Ishigaki island 石垣島
As we approach Ishigaki island, the surf, the reefs and the wonderful colours are spread out below us.
On arrival, we pick up our rental car and drive to Kabira Bay. Here we take a glass bottomed boat trip. Not something we would usually do, but we were very glad that we did.
During the short trip, we see innumerable fish of all shapes sizes and colours. Plus, strange and interesting corals. The added bonus being a ray and a couple of sea turtles.
Boat trip over, we wander along the white sands and marvel at the colour of the water. After drifting a while, it is time to return the car to the airport and take the bus to Ishigaki Port
First we check into our hotel then head for an izakaya. The one we find, we agree, is excellent ‘Paikaji (South Wind)’. No one is playing minyo (folk-song), but the food is good and the atmosphere relaxed. It was busy in January so it must be even more so in season.
＊glass bottomed boat ; 1200 yen / adult
＊bus from the airport to the port ; 500 yen / adult
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.