It’s said that Ishigaki island is pretty much surrounded by coral reef, and as a result there are lots of snorkeling spots around the island.
One of these snorkeling spots that you can find a stretch of coral reef (that attracts the fish!) is Yonehara Beach.
This beach also has some beach facilities so if you’re looking to get in some snorkeling with a little bit of convenience, Yonehara Beach can be a good choice.
You can also make Yonehara Beach a part of a perfect 3 days in Ishigaki!
Is it easy to get to Yonehara Beach by public transportation?!
Well, the important thing is that it IS possible to get to Yonehara Beach by bus.
The bus timings aren’t the most frequent, so this just means that you’ll want to do some planning so you won’t be waiting for a long time for the bus to come in either direction.
But it’s good news that you can get their on your own if bus is your choice of getting around Ishigaki!
So other than that, getting to Yonehara Beach can be relatively easy.
You can get on the bus at the main bus station, and then basically be dropped off right in front of the beach.
You’ll just have to walk a couple of minutes to find the public access to the beach.
Here’s what your bus journey to Yonehara Beach might look like!
For this sample day, we’ll say you’re staying around Ishigaki town.
So the day will start at the Ishigaki bus terminal. (Actually, start your day at the nearby Family Mart convenience store to load up on snacks and drinks!)
Arrive at Ishigaki bus terminal
This is a small bus station so although there are 2 platforms, you’ll pretty much be able to see any bus that arrives to confirm which bus is the one you want to take to Yonehara.
So it really doesn’t matter where you wait.
Get on the bus to Yonehara Beach!
Show your bus pass to the bus driver both as you get on the bus, and as you get off. (More on the bus pass later.)
Enjoy the scenic drive along the Ishigaki coast!
Your route may vary!
Get off at “Yonehara” stop
There is the “Yonehara” stop and the “Yonehara palm tree” stop.
The Yonehara stop will get you closer to the beach facilities.
There will be an announcement that Yonehara is the next stop.
When you hear that, press the button to indicate to the bus driver to stop next.
Depending on which route you take, the time on bus may vary a little bit, but you can generally expect the bus ride to be around an hour when coming from town.
Make a detour to the shisa park!
So once you get off the bus, you can head straight to the beach, and you are there!
But, consider making a slight detour to spend 5-10 minutes (or a bit longer) walking around the shisa park.
You will nearly be there when you get off the bus.
When you get to Ishigaki, you will start to see “shisa” statues nearly everywhere. These “creatures” are said to be a part of Okinawa folklore. (They also make great gifts and souvenirs – stop by a souvenir shop in town to get some before you leave Ishigaki!)
Right by Yonehara Beach is a small little park with big shisa statues.
Here’s the estimated location on Google Maps.
It can be a short fun visit.
Arrive at Yonehara Beach!
This day had rather not so good weather for snorkeling.
But still, I got in the water for a few minutes and saw fish almost immediately!
Sadly, I saw no nemo though.
It’s said that nemo fish can be seen all over Okinawa, so make it your goal to find Nemo when in Ishigaki!
Is the Ishigaki bus pass worth it for a day trip to Yonehara Beach?
Once you’re at the bus terminal, you’ll want to get an Ishigaki bus pass if you don’t already have one.
This is easy to get and you can get it from the office at the station right before you get on the bus. (Actually, you can even buy the pass once you are ON the bus too.)
So there is a one day bus pass (1,000 yen – US$10), and a 5-day bus pass (2,000 yen – US$20).
And the reason you will want to get the one day bus pass at the very least?!
How much is the bus to Yonehara?
The bus fare will be based on where you get on the bus and where you get off.
If you get on at the Ishigaki bus terminal, the one-way bus fare will cost 820 yen (US$8).
So if you make it a round-trip, then the pass will pay for itself!
What are the bus timings?
When I was in Ishigaki (April 2019), Google Maps was not helpful for public transport in Ishigaki in the same way that it is in major cities across Japan, like taking the bus in Kyoto with a one day pass.
Ishigaki bus routes aren’t included at all.
So you’ll want to get yourself a copy of the bus timetable.
You can get this at the bus station for the most up-to-date timings. Your hotel may also have a copy.
Reading the bus schedule may seem a bit confusing at first.
The bus timings going in both directions are also listed on the same table, so depending on which direction you’re going, you’ll read the timings up to down or down to up.
Apart from that, the biggest “challenge” is that you have to scan through the different columns to be able to locate the different buses from the Ishigaki bus terminal to Yonehara.
There’s a bus route that goes through Kabira Bay (a top attraction on Ishigaki), and there’s a bus route that doesn’t.
Photos of bus timings below taken April 2019
Bus route #11 (Yonehara campground line)
Bus route #8 (West Ibaruma line) and #2 (West-around line)
Bus route #3 (East-around line)
You probably wouldn’t want to take this bus to get to Yonehara if you’re coming from the bus terminal as it’ll take a bit longer.
But if you’re coming from elsewhere than the bus terminal, maybe this would be a route to look at.
HAPPY BUS RIDE TO YONEHARA BEACH!
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