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Okinawa 2 - Ishigaki

12/19/2008

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The second part of my trip to Okinawa was Ishigaki island in the central archipelago. Let me say right from the start that the main town is absolutely ugly, so ugly in fact that I did not take any picture. Renting a car is necessary, it is the only way to escape the town and visit the remote parts of the island.

That being said, I don't think there is much to see on Ishigaki anyway. One of the famous spots is the beautiful Kabira bay:

Unfortunately, swimming is forbidden since black pearls are cultivated there. Those come at a price but there were so many zeroes I stopped counting halfway...just kidding of course.

Oh, I forgot to mention it in my previous post but the symbol of Okinawa is the lion, which is really surprising considering there are no actual lions there. It is called shisa and many houses have small statues displayed on their roof or porch, like this one:

They usually go by pair, the one at the right having its mouth open contrary to its bud. It's hard to see on the previous picture, but it is clear on the following ones:

I'm not totally sure about the underlying meaning but according to one of the interpretations I've heard, it is supposed to bring luck and protection: the open mouth brings luck, and the closed one keeps it.

I stopped at a souvenir shop that had its own workshop, allowing me to see the actual crafting process:

Outside, a life-size exhibition:

The style is indeed very unique...

My rental car:

Just like in Miyako, there are "police controls"...and the car is actually fake:

And shots from various places on the island...The weather was variable, but thankfully it didn't rain (it was pretty close at times though).

Categories: Travel - Okinawa

4 comment(s)

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Comments

By Julien on 12/20/2008 at 05:01:38

Salut,

Je suis allé à Ishigakijima en février dernier. C'est vrai que la ville est tout ce qu'il y a de plus japonaise (dans le mauvais sens), mais en se promenant un peu, on découvre des petites boutiques artisanales et autres restos sympas.
Sinon, sur la côte nord de l'île, il y a une mangrove dans laquelle on peut se promener en kayak. C'est calme et reposant, surtout quand on vient de Tokyo !
Et puis, la chose à faire, une fois rendu là, c'est de prendre le bateau pour Taketomijima, la petite île voisine. Maisons traditionnelles, chars à boeufs pour trimballer les touristes au son du sanshin et, à la nuit tombée, un calme impressionnant (du moins, hors saison).
Un très bon souvenir et, si ça ne tenait qu'à moi, j'y serais déjà installé !

By Tarto on 12/21/2008 at 12:42:36

Bonjour Julien
Merci pour ton témoignage sur Taketomi-jima. J'ai pas mal hésité avant de décider de ne pas m'y rendre, car les photos et les commentaires s'y rapportant donnaient vraiment envie. Mais les contraintes de temps m'ont forcé à faire quelques choix difficiles...
PS : le son du sanshin/shamisen...fantastique !

By Alexandra on 12/15/2010 at 23:47:10

Salut,
je suis déjà allée 2 fois à Ishigaki-jima. Une fois 4 jours, et cette année (chaleur accablante) pendant 10 jours.
Je suis tombée raide dingue de tout l'archipel des Yaeyama dès ma première visite, et je n'attends plus que d'y retourner.

By Tarto on 12/20/2010 at 13:37:53

J'espère bien y retourner également ! :-)

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