Ishigaki

26 06 2016

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One surprising, and frankly, quite tempting, Summer option was the remote Japanese island of Ishigaki, far from the Okinawan capital of Naha but connected to Hong Kong (I discovered) by surprisingly cheap flights – 1500 HKD return!

The island is small and sleepy, but with beautiful tropical beaches and a string of other nearby islands like the wild and jungly Iriomote, home to a strange species of wildcat and, in historical times, saltwater crocodiles, and Taketomi with its Ryuku village of houses behind coral walls and bright bouganvillea plants, and carriages pulled by water buffaloes.

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Most intriguing of all though is Yonaguni island, or rather, what lies in the waters off Yonaguni. Although rich with marine life such as manta rays and hammerhead sharks, the oceans here yielded up an even more spectacular surprise in 1987 when SCUBA divers happened upon a vast and impressive underwater “fortress”, seemingly built by human hands. Experts have since sworn that this is not the case and the startlingly engineered forms can be explained by erosion and tectonic activity. Not everyone though is convinced..

 

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