By Peter Sidell
When you think of Japan the first things that come to your mind are anime, sushi and geisha. But Japan has so much more, so many gems that people have no idea about – and one of them is Zamami Island. This piece of Heaven is part of the Kerama Islands which are situated in the Pacific Ocean, about 700km south-west of Tokyo, and enjoy a sub-tropical climate.
To access the island you would need to get the ferry from Naha on the main island of Okinawa towards Zamami which takes 1hr 30mins. Once you arrive on the Island, you're free to explore! The island itself has a few very little villages, the Zamami Village being the only one where you can get things you need, from accommodation, food, rentals and the port itself.
A great way of exploring the nature of Zamami is actually camping. As the Island is under National Protection Park Reservation, it is forbidden to camp anywhere. You should go to the Camp Base which is about 20 minutes walk from the port, or a 10 minute ride by the bus (¥300). The camping area has everything you need: renting facilities, showers, toilets, kitchen and even plugs to charge your electrical items. If you don't have any camping gear, do not get sad as you can rent it all on the spot. Renting a one person tent (which very well fits 2 people in it) costs ¥1,000 per night, plus the ¥300 for staying per night. Everyone pays this fee, whether using their own gear or rented.
With regards to entertainment, you have a few options. The Island is not very large, so you could easily see it in a day either by walking or by cycling. There are 5 observatory spots placed around the island where you can see the most breathtaking scenery. One of the most famous activities on the island is snorkeling, as the water is so clear and the prettiest fish and turtles swim around. If you're someone who works very hard, just even laying in the sun and swimming will do miracles to you! There aren't many people around, so that "getting away from civilization" scenario is very much alive in Zamami. The weather in October is perfect for visiting and there are no tourists around. Summer it is the season when it can get crazy a bit, but there is often space available for camping even during the peak season. If you'd like to go there and not be bothered much, go during the autumn. From November to December, whale watching also becomes available. So don't hesitate to just hop on the first plane towards this piece of Heaven!
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