So it’s possible to get around the Yaeyama Islands by ferry.
And when you’re staying on Ishigaki Island, a day trip to Taketomi can make for a perfect day!
You can make it a part of your 3 days in the Yaeyama Islands:
- Day 1 – Hiking Ishigaki
- Day 2 – Day trip to Taketomi island
- Day 3 – Kabira Bay boat ride + Snorkeling Ishigaki
A bit more about taking the ferry from Ishigaki to Taketomi!
Where to buy ferry tickets
So you can buy your ticket from Ishigaki to Taketomi at the ferry port on the day you want to go to Taketomi island.
You’ll go to the ticket counter that sells the tickets to Taketomi.
And here you can get round-trip tickets, from Ishigaki to Taketomi, and from Taketomi to Ishigaki.
The cost of the round-trip ticket from Ishigaki to Taketomi (and back) is 1,330 yen (US$12).
So you’ll get 2 tickets.
These are “shisa” figurines which you’re sure to see on your trip to Ishigaki! They also make GREAT souvenirs! You will find them at most gift shops.
Don’t lose the Taketomi to Ishigaki ticket when you’re exploring Taketomi island!
What are the ferry timings?
Taketomi Island is one of the (if not THE?) most popular islands to go on a day trip from Ishigaki.
This makes it so that there are a good amount of ferry timings throughout the day.
For ferry timings around the Yaeyama Islands, you can pick up an updated copy of the schedule at the ferry port.
This can tell you ferry timings for getting to different islands in the Yaeyama Islands from the Ishigaki ferry port.
Or, you can also go outside the ferry terminal, port side, and there’s a sign with the ferry timings as well.
Ishigaki to Taketomi ferry timings (and Taketomi to Ishigaki ferry timings)
Photo taken April 2019. The black star indicates ferry timings for July, August, and September only. The other symbol indicates the boat operator name.
The left column is Ishigaki to Taketomi timings. The right column is Taketomi to Ishigaki timings.
The first ferry from Ishigaki to Taketomi is at 7:30am.
The last ferry in the opposite direction going back from Taketomi to Ishigaki is at 6:15pm.
Okay, so you have your ticket…
Getting on the ferry
So once you have your ticket, you can confirm which platform your ferry will depart from at the ticket counter, or by looking at the display board.
There is a waiting area at the ferry terminal, although if you’re getting on the next boat to Taketomi you probably won’t need to use it.
There are also coin lockers at the ferry port if you want to leave your luggage behind while you go for a quick trip to Taketomi island before your flight out of Ishigaki in the evening! And there is a bus to the airport that you can catch at the Ishigaki bus terminal across the street from the ferry port. (You probably would only want to do this if the weather is good and there’s no risk of ferry cancellation, though!)
So off to get on the boat you go!
You’ll hand over the Ishigaki to Taketomi ticket before you get on the boat.
Or if you’re unsure of which to give (because it’s in Japanese only), just show the ticket guy both, and he’ll take the correct one!
Read over the rules that are posted on the back of the seat!
Basically… the seas can be rough, stay seated!
And then soon enough it’ll be departure time and off to Taketomi Island you go!
The boat will start off slowly as it leave the Ishigaki ferry port.
You’ll pass Japan coast guard boats.
Small boat on the ocean making big waves!
Well, even though the weather was pretty good, the posted rules started making more sense once the boat left the port area!
The ferry started off slowly, and then once it hit the open water…
And then soon enough, the ferry will start to slow down as it approaches the Taketomi ferry port.
It’s about a 10-15 minute ferry boat ride from Ishigaki to Taketomi.
You’ve arrived at the Taketomi Island ferry port!
Now what to do?!
Shuttle bus for bicycle rental
Yes, TONS of bikes!
Cycling around the island is basically the thing to do in Taketomi.
Right after you get off the ferry, you’ll see a row of vehicles.
Here you will find shuttle buses that will take you to rent a bicycle.
These shuttles are free (if you’ll be renting a bike), and you don’t need to make any reservations in advance.
You can just show up and get on any bus that looks good to you. (Well, it would be good to confirm the bus you’re getting on is for bicycle rentals!)
But if you need someone to make a decision for you, I got on the maroon-colored shuttle bus. 😉
Once at the bicycle rental shop the guy seemed really accommodating to English-speakers. (I was pulled aside from the main line to be taken care of.)
If you won’t be renting a bicycle, you can make your first stop the main building by the Taketomi ferry port to visit the information center.
This is also something you’ll see right after you get off the ferry.
You’ll be able to get a map of the island here.
You can get a basic English map for free, or a more detailed map in Japanese for 200 yen (US$2).
You’re supposed to return the English map though, which I found to be a bit of a liability. (I was afraid I’d forget to return it!)
If you’re renting a bicycle, you’ll probably be given a (free) map, so I would skip getting the map at the information center.
In the building, you’ll find toilets and coin lockers too.
Places to visit during a day trip to Taketomi island
I’d say Taketomi Island is really more about taking it easy and taking in the views!
1. Kondoi Beach
2. Kaiji Beach (star-sand beach)
This is souvenir sand so it’s more in abundance, but this is the type of star-shaped sand you can find at this beach!
3. Nishi-sanbashi pier
HAPPY ISHIGAKI TO TAKETOMI FERRY RIDE!
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NEW way of buying individual shinkansen train tickets online!I will start by saying I have NOT bought train tickets online this way (yet!) to verify this! (But it's on my list for my next trip to Japan!)
There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.
You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)
I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!
The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.
So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.
Search for popular routes in Japan here. For example, Tokyo to Kyoto.
If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!
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My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
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