The island of Ishigaki offers many scenic beaches and wonderful snorkelling spots, with a school of majestic manta rays calling the island's Kabira Bay area their home. Two of the best beaches are Sukuji beach, which is excellent for families on account of the shallow water, and Yonehara beach, home to a wonderful coral reef teeming with exotic marine fauna, providing a good spot for snorkelling.
The second largest of the Okinawan islands, Iriomote Island is best explored by one of the varieties of river cruises on offer. As well as this, the island is an excellent location for those wanting to try their hand (or paddle) at kayaking. You can also high through the island's mangroves, and the view from the observation deck of Maruyodo Falls is something not to be missed.
A short distance away from its neighbour, Ishigaki, Taketomi Island offers pristine untouched scenery to travellers. A good way to explore the island is via a water buffalo-drawn cart tour, which takes you to a small, quaint village, a far cry from the metropolises on mainland Japan.
OKINAWA MAIN ISLAND
The largest and most populated of the Okinawan islands, the main island is home to a wide variety of historical and cultural points of interest, as well as delicious cuisine. The Churaumi Aquarium is considered to be the best in Japan, with the Kushiro Tank being one of the largest of its kind in the world. The island boasts glimpses of Okinawa's independence, the impressive Shuri Castle was the residence of the Okinawan kings. The Mihama American Village is a great entertainment district on the island, with many restaurants, cafes, and shops.