Experience the oceans like never before
Kabira Bay on the Okinawan island of Ishigaki is one of the most beautiful places that I have seen in Japan. In fact, it looks quite unlike Japan but more like a Southeast Asian destination. What a welcoming sight for those who suffer from cold weather in other parts of Japan.
The bay features emerald-blue waters which are dotted with tiny rocky islands and all is framed by long stretches of white sandy beaches. It looks like paradise and this is why this is the view that is often featured in tourism pamphlets promoting Okinawa.
The whole scenic view of the bay is best appreciated and taken in from the viewing platform above the beach but of course you can also get close-up and walk along the beach. Unfortunately it is not possible to swim here, hence only 4 stars, but you can snap some nice photos.
This is just what I did spending some hours there on my round-trip of Ishigaki Island by rental car. Most Japanese tourists arrive here on tour bus, and there is some public transportation from Ishigaki City. However, the island invites to exploration and for that a rented car or scooter is best.
If you are not just passing through for a quick photo snap like most tourists but you want to check out the bay a bit more, then take a tour with one of the glass-bottom boats anchored in the bay. These sleek white boats have become part of the view of Kabira Bay as much as the blue waters of the ocean here.
The motto of the day here is: enjoy the view! After all, this is one of the best beach views in Japan. Kabira Bay was actually named amongst the 100 most scenic places in Japan.
There is a typical resort village with all the usual facilities such as restaurants, coffee shops and souvenir shops. You can eat an Okinawan dish here, like goya chanpuru, a stir fry dish that typically contains vegetables (in this case goya), tofu, and meat or fish, or try Okinawa soba for a chance.
Club Med Kabira, popular amongst French expatriates in Japan, provides first-class resort accommodation, albeit at a price.
Sukuji Beach west of Kabira and Yonehara Beach east of Kabira offer alternatives to just looking at a beach. At the former, you can swim and at the later, snorkeling is recommended. This is really why you should come here by rented car or scooter as it allows you to be flexible and get the best from all these lovely beaches.