Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Japan
Reload this Page >

Ishigaki or Miyako-jima for a weekend-break?

Ishigaki or Miyako-jima for a weekend-break?

Old Jan 4, 23, 5:01 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 66
Ishigaki or Miyako-jima for a weekend-break?

I can squeeze in two weekend trips into an upcoming work-related trip to Japan in March. Ishigaki or Miyako-jima are high on my list of options (the other side-trip will probably be to Shikoku).

Preferably, I would combine the two islands, but I simply do not have the time for that, so hence my asking: For a first time-visit (two nights), which one would you recommend? I understand Miyako-jima is more upscale (sort of) and Ishigaki more casual. Hotels rates etc. are very reasonable on both island thanks to the weak Yen.

I do not plan to rent a car or a scooter as it would involve quite a bit of hassle and cost to get my German driver's licence translated and validated as the process has changed, so one aspect is how to get around (although the trip is more about relaxing/beaches than sightseeing). My idea was to rent an e-bike on the island but I am not sure if that makes sense (the idea is not to circumnavigate the island, just to get to some places outside town). As far as I see it, Miyako-jima is more suited to cycling than Ishigaki. Other than that, I am happy to take a guided tour, a boat etc. For that, my impression is that Ishigaki is the better option.

Flight-wise, Ishigaki is easier to do for me as Miyako-jima on the dates in question requires connecting at Okinawa (and is also more expensive).

Any comments appreciated.
vfw614 is offline  
Old Jan 6, 23, 11:06 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: 1A
Programs: UA GS, NH Diamond, Hyatt Lifetime Globalist (formerly Courtesy Card sadly), Amanjunkie, CLEAR
Posts: 3,660
Is it warm there in March? CPh-Flyer could probably answer your question better than I as Ive never been to Ishigaki but I was pretty unimpressed with Miyako. Dont get me wrong, the water can be beautiful, but the hotels, beaches and restaurants werent as nice as I would have hoped. It all depends on your expectations I suppose. If you dont mind a lot of run down ill maintained infrastructure and really are going for the water scenery, then you may enjoy it. Further, it wasnt super pricey compared to say, Hawaii or Tahiti. Depends on what you want as usual in life
vfw614 likes this.
ainternational is offline  
Old Jan 6, 23, 5:15 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Thanks for the Memories !!!
Posts: 10,565
Originally Posted by vfw614 View Post
I can squeeze in two weekend trips into an upcoming work-related trip to Japan in March. Ishigaki or Miyako-jima are high on my list of options (the other side-trip will probably be to Shikoku).

Preferably, I would combine the two islands, but I simply do not have the time for that, so hence my asking: For a first time-visit (two nights), which one would you recommend? I understand Miyako-jima is more upscale (sort of) and Ishigaki more casual. Hotels rates etc. are very reasonable on both island thanks to the weak Yen.

I do not plan to rent a car or a scooter as it would involve quite a bit of hassle and cost to get my German driver's licence translated and validated as the process has changed, so one aspect is how to get around (although the trip is more about relaxing/beaches than sightseeing). My idea was to rent an e-bike on the island but I am not sure if that makes sense (the idea is not to circumnavigate the island, just to get to some places outside town). As far as I see it, Miyako-jima is more suited to cycling than Ishigaki. Other than that, I am happy to take a guided tour, a boat etc. For that, my impression is that Ishigaki is the better option.

Flight-wise, Ishigaki is easier to do for me as Miyako-jima on the dates in question requires connecting at Okinawa (and is also more expensive).

Any comments appreciated.
For a weekend , try Ishigaki. If you get bored of Ishigaki you can pop over to Ireomote next door.
https://visitokinawajapan.com/destin...iomote-island/
vfw614 and JapanFlyerT like this.
Q Shoe Guy is offline  
Old Jan 6, 23, 9:01 pm
  #4  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMarriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: NGS
Programs: UA Gold, ANA MC, HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Platinum, IHG Plat, Shangri-La GC
Posts: 947
I've been to Ishigaki but not Miyakojima but it's clear that Ishigaki has much more to see and do, though it too has run down and poorly maintained infrastructure. That said, Miyakojima is attracting much more investment in hotels and resorts as seen by the recent Hilton and Rosewood projects, and the recently opened Marriott (IRAPH SUI). In contrast, Ishigaki only has the IHG ANA Ishigaki Resort but it does have plenty of Airbnb-type lodgings. With only two days, you should be able to cover all of Miyakojima by e-bike without a problem but Ishigaki may require more time since there is more to see and do though you should be able to cover a lot in two days there too. Overall, I think Ishigaki would be more stimulating to a first-time tourist.
vfw614 likes this.
Nagasaki Joe is online now  
Old Jan 7, 23, 9:42 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Glasgow
Programs: BA Gold, KLM Cardboard
Posts: 177
I visited Ishigaki in December 2019. While I enjoyed it, without a car you'll be limited for options. I went on the only bus tour of the island available - it was in Japanese only but was still enjoyable. Searching now it doesn't seem to available to book anymore, perhaps it no longer runs. There are private taxi and boat tours, though. Ishigaki is a good base for trips to Taketoki and Iriomote if you want to try to cover as much ground as possible in a short period of time.
vfw614 likes this.
ponder is offline  
Old Jan 9, 23, 9:33 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Programs: UA 1K MM, Hilton-Dia, Marriott-G
Posts: 1,477
I was in Ishigaki, Taketomi and Iriomote late December. Probably not a good season to go but we wanted to escape winter. We do not travel luxe so ymmv.

Weather was unseasonably cold (according to locals) that week, around 15C at night, with strong winds. Not the best time for water sports but we managed to go standup paddling at night and it was fun. Clear night, lots of stars. The snorkeling trip got cancelled because of the winds.

Ishigaki the town area near the ferry terminal is small and unremarkable. Went biking around. Was not crowded but strangely, all the yakiniku restaurants needed reservations. You need a car to get around the rest of the island - dont stick with the town. Little to do or see. The airport is excellent.

Taketomi was very rustic and had a nice beach with the star-shaped sand grains. We biked all round as well.

Iriomote was an hour ferry ride away and has 2 ports. The northern one (Uehara) gets cancelled on pretty often in the winds of December. Iriomote is even more remote with one single road that hugs the coast. Beautiful island, trekking, kayaking etc but very remote in terms of restaurants etc - you need a car although there is a public bus. Managed to see a glimpse of the Iriomote mountain cat while driving at night, so at least lucky sighting. crossed over to Yubu island on ox carts at low tide - that was fun.

I got a sense that people who live there now really are from all over Japan so I heard less of the Okinawan dialect than I was expecting (from the recent morning asa drama on NHK)

All 3 are places Id go again to escape the city but at the same time I suppose one can also find similar on Honshu too eg I like the Awa region Chiba
YariGuy and vfw614 like this.
tide is offline  
Old Jan 10, 23, 7:34 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 56
I visited both islands in a short trip in Nov 2020. Took ISG-MMY oneway.
ftakak is offline  
Old Jan 17, 23, 4:42 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Programs: JAL Global Club & oneworld Sapphire, ANA SFC & Star Alliance Gold
Posts: 3,454
Originally Posted by Nagasaki Joe View Post
, Ishigaki only has the IHG ANA Ishigaki Resort but it does have plenty of Airbnb-type lodgings.
There is also the Fusaki Beach Resort, a very large, upscale resort which has been extensively expanded and remodeled in recent years. There's also a Club Med. I thought I remembered seeing other big resort hotels on searches via booking.com etc, but I can't remember them offhand.

Someone upthread said that Miyako-jima is considered more upscale. I always thought that Ishigaki was the more upscale location. One indication of this is that JAL offers first class to Ishigaki (albeit seasonally) but not to Miyako-jima.
YariGuy likes this.
Unimatrix One is offline  
Old Jan 22, 23, 6:58 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Kobe, Japan
Programs: Bonvoy Titanium, IHG Platinum, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 1,196
Originally Posted by ponder View Post
I visited Ishigaki in December 2019. While I enjoyed it, without a car you'll be limited for options. I went on the only bus tour of the island available - it was in Japanese only but was still enjoyable. Searching now it doesn't seem to available to book anymore, perhaps it no longer runs. There are private taxi and boat tours, though. Ishigaki is a good base for trips to Taketoki and Iriomote if you want to try to cover as much ground as possible in a short period of time.
I spent a week on Ishigaki last August/Sept. We had a great time (until the the typhoon hit and we were forced to extend 2 nights).
Car was essential for visiting most places.

We did AirBnb for 5 days, then ANA and Choice hotel.
JapanFlyerT is offline  
Old Jan 23, 23, 12:05 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 170
I visited both a few years ago and loved both of them, beautiful scenery, amazing food and people.
Ishigakijima has probably a bit more to do but if you're the "luxury" type then neither are ideal.
Despite the beauty, as often in rural Japan, some things are a bit run-down and thankfully (for me) I didn't see big international hotels.

Couldn't imagine not having a car though, might be worth trying to find a way to get the translation of your license, pain as it may be.
Denis Carlin is offline  
Old Yesterday, 12:58 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Kobe, Japan
Programs: Bonvoy Titanium, IHG Platinum, Hyatt Discoverist
Posts: 1,196
Originally Posted by Denis Carlin View Post
Couldn't imagine not having a car though, might be worth trying to find a way to get the translation of your license, pain as it may be.
I agree. On the plus side driving is easy (aside from around Naha) and rental cars are usually cheap.
JapanFlyerT is offline  
Old Yesterday, 2:32 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: TYO
Posts: 9,215
JAF translation service is a bit of a performance - Application should be submitted when you are in Japan. Turnaround time is 2 weeks. Cannot handle licenses that have handwritten comments ... etc. but if you have a friend in Japan or a VPN you can probably jump through all of the hoops before you get here.

On a positive note, you can submit your license online and print it at a 7-Eleven (within a limited window of time). Furthermore, the translation is valid for as long as your license is valid, so once you get it you're set for future trips to Japan.

https://english.jaf.or.jp/driving-in...an/about-dltas
jib71 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread