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Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

Aka Island, one of the largest of the Kerama Islands, is known for its lush landscape, white sand beaches, and clear waters. A little more rustic than nearby Zamami Island, the beaches are just as spectacular and often a bit less crowded, even in the high season. Within striking distance of Naha, it’s a perfect day trip escape, if you’re in the neighborhood.

  • Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Jump on the ferry from Naha. Except for the busiest weekends of the high season, or during Golden Week, tickets can usually be bought at the terminal for each sailing on the Queen Zamami 3 or Ferry Zamami. At busier times, or when you can expect inclement weather to cancel some sailings, it’s a good idea to book online, ahead of time. The trip over, cutting through the clear blue waters of the Kerama Islands, is an experience in itself.

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    If you’re not quite sure what to put on your island itinerary, the visitor center should be your first stop: it gives a feeling for what the Aka Island has to offer and it’s a great way to connect with well-informed locals. After leaving the visitor center, think about renting a scooter (license requirements vary by nationality but Americans will require an international driver’s license) or a bike. There are many options for rentals: it’s the best way to get around the island. Strolling the island is definitely feasible but getting to more distant locations is a quite a hike, since Aka Island, like Zamami Island, is hilly.

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Late morning, before anyone else arrives and the sun isn’t beating down at full intensity, is the perfect time to arrive at Nishibama Beach. Once you arrive, get set up, take a dip in the clear waters, catch some sun, grab a drink at beachside cafe BB’s outdoor seating area, and then take the chance to go snorkeling.

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    The Windex blue waters that the Kerama Islands group floats in are perfect for first-time snorkelers and more experienced divers, and entrepreneurs have set up shop to assist people of any interest and skill level. The sea turtles have become a major attraction in recent years: when diving and snorkeling on the reefs, there is no guarantee of spotting them, but, depending on the season, the odds are good.

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Take off from the beach to explore the rest of the island. This is where a scooter comes in handy! Once on the road, you can cruise to the other beaches, or head south across the bridges that link Aka Island to Geruma and Fukaji Islands. Both islands are mostly uninhabited, and Geruma is particularly lush. For a higher degree of difficulty, look up the semi-secret Geruma restaurant that specializes in Italian food made from ingredients picked on the island.

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    Sea Turtles and Okinawan Soba: A Day Trip to Aka Island

    There aren’t many restaurants on the island, but make sure to try the soki ramen at Parlor Miyama. The unassuming shop with a spectacular ocean view opens between noon and around 2pm, serving up Okinawan soba topped with a hefty slab of pork, taco rice, and shaved ice. The location makes it the perfect final stop before heading back to the nearby port.

    Keiyokanshoto
    Address
    Okinawa Prefecture Tokashiki-son, Shimajiri-gun and Zamami
    Phone
    0989872333
    Aka Island
    Address
    Okinawa Pref. Shimajirigunzamamison Aka
    Phone
    parlor Miyama
    Address
    Okinawa Pref. Shimajirigunzamamison Aka 51
    Phone
    0989873990
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