The Kerama Islands – Japan
The Kerama islands are a cluster of island gems in Okinawa, Japan. We visited Tokashiki, Aka and Zamami islands and they were the most natural, untouched beauty I’ve ever seen.
The islands are just about isolated enough to minimise tourism but easy enough to get to by efficient Japanese ferries. You can get to most islands from Tomari port in Naha.
We liked the islands because of the distinct lack of luxury which meant we were the only westerners there. Expect no frills, basic futon beds, no wifi and maybe one working ATM.
First and foremost – make sure you withdraw cash, nowhere accepted card payments. We ran out of cash and had to eat crackers for dinner.
Secondly – If you want to drive anywhere in Japan, you need an international driving licence along side your driving license.
We took the 9am fast boat from Tomari to Tokashiki, you need to reserve a seat online and pay when you’re there, it’s Y3000 one way.
Joyful Guest House – A traditional style Japanese style guesthouse. I had the best sleep of my life there. We borrowed snorkelling gear from reception and hired a car opposite the port which was Y7000 for 24 hours. There was an initial push back from the owner because we didn’t have an IDL – international driving license along with our British driving licence. But luckily she let it slide but it’s worth bearing in mind for future hire in Japan.
Tokashiku beach – We took the tiny yellow car a 15 minute drive to the west of the island to our very first beach – Tokashiku. The beach lies on a nature reserve and in a natural bay full of thriving coral. There was just a handful of people on the 2km stretch of white sand. We had lunch at the only beach side cafe, Okinawa soba and curry and rice – a staple in Okinawa. We stayed here quite intently all day, blissfully happy in the stunning surroundings.
We made the most of the car and did a circuit of the islands. We drove past Aharen to the southern tip of the island overlooking the other islands. After that, we headed to the north lookout to see the memorial of the mass suicide during the second world war which was absolutely terrifying but humbling to understand the history of the island.
Marine House Aharen – A short Okinawa menu (like every restaurant on the islands) including Soba noodles and Pork Curry. It had a great view of Aharen beach from the rooftop where we sat.
For dinner, we struggled, because most of the restaurants close when the day trippers leave, which is around 5pm. We resorted to the only shop open on the island (with a broken ATM) and ate crackers for dinner, but laughed it off and hoped to find a working ATM the next day.