What comes into your mind when you think about Japan? There might be shrines, bullet trains, sushi, geishas or even modern high-tech toilets. After reading this article, you will refer paradise to Japan. You can’t believe? I promise, just keep on reading. Japan’s best kept secret is called Aka Island!
Aka Island belongs to the Kerama Islands in Japan and is an inhabited island with a population of only 330 people. Maybe you’e heard about Okinawa before which is also an island of Kerama Islands. From Okinawa it is just a one hour hop by ferry to Aka Island. The ferry departures from Tomari port. While Okinawa is already becoming a bit touristy and has more a city-feeling, the time on Aka Island is standing still. You will find paradisiacal white beaches, crystal clear blue water and one of the most beautiful underwater world there. You can’t believe? Take a look at my pictures and convince yourself:
Did I promise too much? 🙂
THINGS to do on Aka Island
There are three main things you can do on the island.
- Go snorkeling to swim between sea turtles, lots of colorful fishes and corals
- Hiking or cycling around the island and explore some of the hidden beaches
The island has one of the most beautiful underwater world I’ve ever seen. There are different spots to go snorkeling or diving. One famous place for snorkeling is Aka Beach where you can swim together with sea turtles. The best time to find the sea turtles is in the morning hours. There are other beaches which are famous for snorkeling and diving. The easiest way to find the best spots is to book a snorkel or diving tour. There are several operators on the island offering daily snorkel and dive tours.
When you decide to go for a hike, you can easily walk around the whole island in one day as it is not very huge. While hiking I suggest to always watch out for small paths wich are leading to secret beaches. I found the nicest beaches of Aka Island when I just followed one of this unofficial paths. You will also come across observatories which offer breathtaking views over the island. If the weather is good enough, you can even see the other small islands next to Aka that also belong to Kerama Islands. Aka Island is home to a lot of deers. If you are walking around the island, you’ll have high chances to spot deers. The deers are a unique species called Kerama deer. Believe it or not, this species is able to walk into the ocean and swim between the islands.
Useful information about facilities at the island
As I said before, this island is very calm and if you expect resorts, variety of restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities, you better go to another place. But that doesn’t mean that Aka Island has nothing to offer. You can find two small shops at the island where you can buy the most important things, from a tooth brush to snacks and drinks. There are also a few restaurants from which I only have been to one, called Beach House Aka. My hotel included half-board, that’s why I only ate one time outside the hotel. You can find one small but really nice and cozy bar at the island, Yonamine House. Try their local sake!
Where to stay at aka island
I stayed at the great Hanamuro Inter-Islanders’ Hotel and can highly recommend this hotel. The rooms are simple but very clean. The best was the food! The room rate includes breakfast and dinner. You can’t choose from a menu but you can be sure that what you get is delicious. The chef did a great job and every day we got a six course dinner with high-quality Japanese fusion food. The hosts are very friendly and take care about everything you need. I also booked a snorkel tour one day at the hotel and it was absolutely worth it. They also have a sister house called Hanamuro Inn. I went there as it was the starting point of the snorkel tour and it looked as nice and clean as the other location.