Diving Ishigaki Island
While diving in Ishigaki is doable all year round, the best time to go diving is from May - November when water temperatures are usually around 26-30°C and there is a good chance to go to Manta Point. The temperature will start to drop from December and go down to around 22°C from January to March before it starts getting warmer again.
Ishigaki island is a small island, but it is still a full hour’s drive from the south to the north point. Public transport is limited. Each part has its different advantages and you might want to split up your stay to experience both the city life and discover the wild nature of this region.
If you are looking for a bit of nightlife with restaurants and bars and perhaps some souvenirs, go to Ishigaki City! It is also an excellent place to stay if you want to do some island hopping while you are here because most ferries depart from the Ishigaki ferry terminal and there are not many connections between the other islands. Most of the buses depart and arrive back in town.
Island Hopping & Taketomi Island
If you wish to go diving and island hopping I suggest you stay near Ishigaki City. All ferries and buses leave from there and tours can be easily organized.
Taketomi Island can be quite busy during the tourist season, especially during the day. Don't fear, once the sun sets, the people will go and rest is quick to return here.
How to get there?
To get to any of the nearby islands in the Yaeyama archipelago (except Yonaguni) you need to take a flight to Ishigaki and then travel by ferry. There are no passenger ferry services to Ishigaki from mainland Japan or Okinawa. A Ride from the airport takes around 40min by bus to the city centre (¥540) and 50min to Kabira (¥700). Buses leave for the city centre every 15min from 7:00 to 21:00. A taxi costs about ¥3000 to the city centre and ¥4500 to Kabira.
There are also multi-day bus passes available.
You can fly to Ishigaki City from Tokyo, Osaka, Naha or Hong Kong, Taipei and Fukuoka.
There are also flights from and to Miyako Island and Yonaguni Island