The Turquoise Water of Ishigaki
Kabira Bay is a natural protected cove in the west of Ishigaki Island, in Okinawa prefecture in Japan. The beauty of its blue crystal-clear water highlights the gorgeous coral reef it shelters. This exceptional environment is also very popular among tourists.
The coastline at the western end of Ishigaki-jima is without a doubt one of the most beautiful of the island. The landscape blends lush vegetation, rocky cliffs, and fine sand beaches. Kabira Bay nestled in the heart of this tropical ambiance is truly the touristic gem of Ishigaki.
A 3-stars destination in the Michelin Green Guide, Kabira Bay belongs to the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, and is as protected as it is visited by tourists. And the later may well be its weakness: while the site is truly beautiful it is better enjoyed seen from afar.
Natural panorama to admire from the heights
A walk on the heights of Kabira, where hotels 🏨, cafes, and local shops are gathered, combines the panoramic views and touristic idleness. The bay is also known as one of the first pearl farms of Japan to have succeeded in the cultivation of the black pearl. Consequently, several jewelries and exhibition rooms display this traditional know-how.
We recommend stopping by the main observation platform on Kabira Bay. Ideally located over the wonderful landscape, the balcony offers an unobstructed and amazing view. On a sunny day, one can admire the vivid blue, green and yellow hues. Far away the rocky islets surround the bay, and, on the beach 🏖, the countless boats attract visitors for a trip to contemplate the corals and the bottom of the sea.
Nearby, the neighborhood’s temple, Kabira Kannon-do is dedicated to the deity of compassion. A narrow alley bordered by stone lanterns 🏮 leads to the only pavilion of the temple. This rustic and sturdy construction was built in the 17th century by the independent Ryukyu kingdom.
A very touristic destination
On the turquoise water shores, nautical activities are limited, and swimming is forbidden. Viewing the flora and the wildlife of the coral reef is mainly done from one of the numerous glass-bottom cruise ships that are plenty in the bay.
Here the touristic attraction aspects clearly take over the place’s wilderness and nature. The view is not as flawless as from the heights and the quietness is disturbed by the constant back and forth sailing on the daytime.
Snorkeling and diving amateurs have the possibility to move away from the bay and take sea trips to observe manta rays.
Visit the western end of the island
Leave Kabira Bay to visit its surroundings in this part of the island, especially:
- Sukuji Beach, large and with a welcoming shade;
- Oganzaki Cliff, that can be trodden by the road, or admired from a boat;
- Oganzaki Lighthouse, at the western end of Ishigaki Island and whose panorama is stunning, especially at sunset.
Kabira Bay is a must-see for anyone visiting Ishigaki-jima for the first time, without however staying too long. Furthermore, it is easy to stay overnight and find somewhere to eat.