Leave it to me, to wait until THE day we’re leaving for another trip to finally decide to finish updating our previous travels ;).
Day 2 of Ishigaki was definitely adventure filled. We booked our adventures through Hirata Group Tours and they made everything SO easy. We took a taxi from our hotel to the port where we boarded a ferry that took us to another nearby island, Irimote, about 50 minutes away. Once we arrived in Irimote we took a bus to the longest river in the Okinawan prefecture, the Urauchi river. The river was surrounded by dense jungle, and there were tons of mangrove plantations.
We rode about twenty minutes up the river, then they dropped us off and left us to our own devices to hike up to two separate waterfalls, and let us know they’d be back in two and a half hours.
The hike was perfect. Rainy season was JUST ending, so it was still a little bit overcast which made for great hiking weather. Our first stop was Maryudo falls (a smaller waterfall) then we hiked on to a larger waterfall, called Kanpire.
We made it back to the pier to wait on our boat about 15 minutes early, so we relaxed for a bit while we waited for our next adventure.
The boat took us back down the river where our bus was waiting to take us to lunch. This is where one of my most favorite parts of the trip ensues; There were two other people on our tour with us who we eventually got to REALLY sit down and talk with at lunch. They were both originally from Australia, but were currently living in Tokyo. Here are the links to their AWESOME websites; Ash’s Travel Blog and Karan’s Exhibit Website. They have had the opportunity to live and travel all over the world and it was so neat to hear their perspectives on places they’ve traveled etc.
After lunch we boarded the bus again and headed to star sand beach! The majority of the sand here is shaped like stars…hence the name ;). The ‘star sand’ is actually shells, produced by microscopic, unicellular protists known as Foraminifera.
After star sand beach we got back on the bus and headed to another part of the island where we go to take a cart, towed by a water buffalo, over to another island called Yubu. We had a Beni-Imo(purple sweet potato)/vanilla swirl cone…oh my goodness…it was the best thing of my life in that moment! I never knew an ice cream cone could speak to my soul the way this thing did ;).
Haha! Check out those ninja moves Kinzy and Meridith have. I’m normally a pretty calm and collected person (thanks motherhood and teacherhood lol) but something huge landed on me while we were walking down this long pathway, and it freaked me out which in turn caused a chain reaction of freaking out. Those critters stood no chance against that karate chop ;).
After a full day of adventuring our water buffalo friend took us back across to Irimote island, where we boarded the bus and headed to a different port/ferry that we took back to Ishigaki.
We treated ourselves to a glass of wine in the bar at the hotel, before we headed out on the quest for Ishigaki beef. Just like Kobe beef, Ishigaki beef is raised only on Ishigaki and has very similar marbling to Kobe beef. Red meat is not my jam, but this stuff was DELICIOUS! Melts in your mouth. The owner of the restaurant we went to kept trying to get us to eat tongue. We weren’t super interested, but he gave us some for free so we ate it. It wasn’t bad; not as chewy as the cow tongue I’ve had in the past.
We weren’t ready for our adventures for the day to be over just yet, so we wandered out of the restaurant to see what we could see. After creeping down a few back alleyways, and following a few lights down some dark corners, I heard singing and dancing from a little bar, so we hopped right in. Everyone in the bar was SO kind and we had a BLAST. There are those moments in your life that you just feel so alive and like that moment is exactly where you’re supposed to be; this was one of those moments. There was a man at the front playing an electric Sanshin, people jumping around with masks…plenty of Orion beer for everyone. There aren’t enough words in ANY language to describe how awesome this experience was.
Goodness! I was hoping to get day 2 and 3 of our trip knocked out in this post…but there’s just no way. I’ll have to work on day 3 later this afternoon and get it up at a later date.
This trip is one of the many experiences over there that has made me pinch myself and ask if “this is real?” I owe EVERY bit of the positivity of this to all of our prayer warriors back home. Thank you, thank you, thank you for lifting us up daily in prayer.
We love and miss you all,
❤ The Butlers