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Ishigaki Island

2420'26N 1249'20E
Ishigaki Map Ishigaki Manta
Click above map to show all main dive sites in Japan

Ishigaki Island Overview

Ishigaki is the hub in the Yaeyama island chain, a short flight 250 miles further south of Okinawa mainland. Ishigaki is the gateway to the rest of the island chain, but has some first class diving to offer of its own. Away from the white sand beaches and the mountainous interior, the tropical waters are home to the worldfs richest colonies of blue coral.

Like all waters in this region, visibility is extremely clear and there is a vast variety of marine life, but what makes Ishigaki special is the majestic Manta Ray that populate the area. These beautiful creatures can be seen all year round but can be seen in greater numbers from late Spring through to the Autumn months when they come to feed on plankton. Spanning approximately 5 metres across these sea beasts are immense and will happily glide around Manta Scramble between 5 to 30 metres as divers sit below to watch this amazing spectacle. The Manta Ray are the main draw, but there are other worthy sites such as Yonehara consisting of an arch with more than 300 types of coral making it the one of most diverse sites in the world.

Highlights

Manta are definitely the star of the show in Ishigaki and can be seen all year round.  

Kabira Ishizaki Manta Scramble - Depth 5m-30m
Big mountain ridges on white sandy bottom. A coral wall stands at depth of  20 - 30m and Manta are usually seen gliding around the top. This is the highlight of Ishigaki and the best place for Manta.

You can sense a little of the magic of diving with these magnificent creatures on this 3 minutes Youtube video from late November 2009.



Yonehara
An arch with more than 300 types of coral stunning.

Yama Valley
Offers drop offs with sandy bottoms and many species of fish (Napolean, catfish, Sting Ray, Sea Snake, Lionfish and Stonefish).

Seasons - facts and Figures

Spring (March to May)

Air temp:

23C-26C

Water temp:

23C-25C

Wet Suit:

5-3 mm full suit or 3mm one piece

Highlights:

Manta Ray, Spawning Cuttlefish, Various migratory fish

Summer  (Jun-Aug)

Air temp:

27C-33C

Water temp:

26C-29C

Wet Suit:

5 - 3mm one piece, 3mm seagull

Highlights:

Manta Ray, Spawning Coral, Spawning Mandarin, Schooling Mackerel, Schooling Cardinal

Autumn (Sep-Nov)

Air temp:

26C-32C

Water temp:

25C-29C

Wet Suit:

5 - 3mm one piece, 3mm seagull

Highlights:

Manta Ray Best season for seeing Manta courtship displays

Winter (Dec-Feb

Air temp:

19C-23C

Water temp:

23C-25C

Wet Suit:

5-3 mm full suit or 3mm one piece

Highlights:

Manta Ray, Spawning Cuttlefish, Various migratory fish
NB: Temperatures rarely dip below 20C in Ishigaki, but there is a brief rainy season from mid-May to early June which may see short rain showers during these months.

Inside Japan Tours - Independent British Travel Awards 2011 - Best Tour Operator To East and Central Asia
The Guardian, The Observer - Travel Awards 2010 Winner - Best tour operator (small)
Inside Japan Tours - Silver at the British Travel Awards 2009