Okinawa Tourism Information:[Co.RAL]OffersCashlessElectronicTicketsforYourVisittoIshigakiIslandandTaketomiIsland!

[Co. RAL] Offers Cashless Electronic Tickets for Your Visit to Ishigaki Island and Taketomi Island!

post : 2020.01.22 23:00

The transportation system service, MaaS (Mobility as a Service), began its testing and researching phase in November 2019. MaaS is a convenient service for visitors to some of the islands that lets you reserve all the transportation arrangements like the bus, ferries, taxis, tours, and others, once you select your destination, and what’s more, you can pay for it all in advance using your credit card. Once at your destination, you can just show your e-ticket on your smartphone and you’re ready to go. Ahead of its launch within the Japanese fiscal year 2020 (which begins in April), Co.RAL has become available in the Yaeyama Islands this past autumn.

For instance, if you’re at the Ishigaki Airport and you enter “Taketomi Island” as your destination and hit search, you’ll get all the information you need to get there. From Ishigaki Island, you can get to Taketomi Island by taking the bus or taxi to the terminal for boats to the outer islands at Ishigaki Port and getting on a ferry. Before the introduction of Co.RAL, you weren’t able to find all the information in one search and had to look for details separately. This great service gives you all the information you need (and on top of that, it lets you choose your routes depending on what you’re looking for, like the least expensive way, etc.).


 

To start using Co.RAL, simply select Co.RAL from the Okinawa CLIP app, enter your destination, choose your route, and proceed to the payment. When I tried it, it was shockingly easy.

So, I immediately reserved my transportation through Co.RAL and went on a solo trip to Ishigaki, Taketomi, and Iriomote Islands. In this article, I’ll introduce the first day of my trip, to Ishigaki and Taketomi Islands.

In 2019, Taketomi Island began collecting fees to enter the island, and I was able to pay this fee through Co.RAL, too.



At 9:30 AM, I arrived at Ishigaki Island. I boarded a Kari Kanko bus and headed to the terminal at Ishigaki Port. I was a little nervous using an e-ticket for the first time, but I scanned the code placed at the bus entrance and tapped my smartphone screen and I was ready to go.



It took about 30 minutes on the bus to reach the terminal and Karayama Taxi, which I reserved via Co.RAL, arrived on time and I was off for my 3-hour sightseeing trip of Ishigaki Island. I requested to the driver that I definitely wanted to see Kabira Bay, and that I wanted to go to Nuchigusa Café that I had heard about. The driver, Takemoto-san, also recommended a visit to Banna Park, and so we set out for the observatory there.


 

After about a 10-minute taxi ride, we arrived at Banna Park, and although it was cloudy, the view from the observation deck was wonderful. From the lookout, you can see downtown Ishigaki, the emerald-green seas, and Taketomi and Kohama Islands floating in the distance. Takemoto-san said it was even more beautiful to see on clear days, but it was still pretty amazing!

Next, we set out to Nuchigusa Café for a vegetarian lunch.



It was about another 10-minute ride to the Café which was located within the Yoga Retreat Village, kSaNa (read as “kushana”). There was an impressive studio there, too. From the table on the second floor of the Café which is located on a high ground, you can see the ocean and Taketomi Island. The Café was surrounded by a beautiful, lush forest and it was a really soothing and relaxing spot. I ordered the Nuchigusa Plate, which included curry of the day, salad, and a vegetable dish.


 

The plate that was brought to my table was very colorful! The curry of the day was keema curry with soy meat, and it was full of flavor with all the spices in the ingredients. The fruity dressing made with guavas harvested in their garden was also great. The plate offered a variety of tastes and I was really happy with my meal.

After a leisurely lunch, we continued on to Kabira Bay.


 

We arrived at Kabira Bay after a 15-minute drive along a scenic route overlooking the ocean and river. It was still cloudy but it was beautiful!

After seeing the Bay, we headed back to the terminal so I could catch the ferry to Taketomi Island. Takemoto-san was a great guide, telling me all sorts of things about the island as well as all the places we visited. I learned a lot about the Yaeyama Islands on my first trip there, thanks to Takemoto-san.

I showed the staff my e-ticket on my smartphone and I boarded the ferry smoothly. It took about 15 minutes on the ferry to reach Taketomi Island.

I was informed that upon paying the fee to enter the island, they offered small gifts like bookmarks, so I went to the counter at the port to see.




 

I found they were offering these very cute bookmarks. It was a great keepsake to remember my first visit to Taketomi Island.

Because Taketomi is a very small island, visitors use rental bikes to get around the island. And so, I rented a bike and headed for Nishi Sanbashi or the west pier.



The way there was through residential streets, and as you ride along on roads of white sand, past traditional style homes with red tiled roofs that are surrounded by stone walls, and colorful flowers bursting everywhere, it feels surreal. It’s almost like you’ve traveled back in time, to be in such a nostalgi- feeling neighborhood in these modern times, with people leading regular lives. Maybe because it was a cloudy day, but the flowers looked more brilliant than usual.



Nishi Sanbashi is a long pier that stretches out to the water. The transparency of the water was truly amazing.


 

I headed over to Kondoi Hama, a beach that you can see from Nishi Sanbashi. The shallow waters that stretch out very far reminded me of cream soda and looked beautiful. Next time, I promised myself, I’ll come back when it gets warmer and go swimming and play in the shallow waters.

After spending about two leisurely hours on the island, I departed Taketomi Island. Tomorrow, I’m off to Iriomote Island. Can’t wait.

To be continued to the second day.


 

Nuchigusa Café
Yoga Retreat Village at kSaNa
Address: 1585-4 Arakawa, Ishigaki City, Okinawa
Telephone: 0980-87-5128
Hours: From 11:00 to Last Orders at 15:30
Closed Irregularly
Website: http://yoga.okinawa/  


Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Masumi Sasamoto 
 

Information

沖縄県石垣市