The world-class large community of blue corals!
Art of the beautiful sea which you enjoy on an isolated island
(C) WWF JapanA world-class coral reef spreads in the sea of Shiraho that faces a small town in the eastern part of Ishigaki Island, Okinawa. More than 70 kinds of corals, including a large community of blue corals that is said to be the oldest and largest in the northern hemisphere and porites which are the largest in Japan, live in the sea area that spreads 10 km from north to south. The scarcity of the sea attracted attention, and the sea was designated as the national marine park zone by the Ministry of the Environment in 2008.
In the local area, several companies conduct snorkeling tours, and there is an established system to safely view a beautiful coral reef. As experts guide you to snorkeling points, you can feel safe even without geographical knowledge. In addition, glass boat services are also available whereby you can view corals without entering the sea.
A rice and other foods festival called "Puurii" is held on this island for three days within the period from late July to the beginning of August every year. In a cheerful parade, a dance entitled "Ine no Issho (life of rice plant)" which expresses the process from rice planting to harvesting and shrine rituals unique to an agricultural village are carried out. Many tourists visit the festival on the last day, showing excitement.
In Shiraho, environmental destruction and noise caused by tourists have become problems in recent years. Make sure to do sightseeing with attention to local people, for example, by participating tours of specialized companies in doing snorkeling and other leisure activities whenever possible, by refraining from going out at midnight, and by not breaking into a religious facility without permission.
Address: Shiraho, Ishigaki-shi, Okinawa
Phone: 0980-82-2809 (Ishigaki City Tourist Association)
Directions: (Bus) Take a bus from Shin Ishigaki Airport (one hour from Naha Airport by air) to the bus terminal, transfer to Shiraho Line at the bus terminal, and get off at the last stop (Shiraho stop)
(Car) 30 minutes from Shin Ishigaki Airport