Ishigaki (石垣島 Ishigaki-jima?, Yaeyama: Ishanagï Okinawan: Ishigachi), also known as Ishigakijima, is a Japanese island west of Okinawa Hontō and the second-largest island of the Yaeyama Island group. It is within the City of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture. The city functions as the business and transport center of the archipelago. The island is served by New Ishigaki Airport, the largest airport in the Yaeyamas.
Ishigaki Port will be expanded so that five large Japanese coast guard patrol boats can be stationed there. The JSDF is also considering deploying short range anti-ship missiles (possibly the Type 96 Multi-Purpose Missile System) on the island.
These reinforcements are mostly in relation to the Japanese uninhabited Senkaku Islands, which lie 170 km north of Ishigaki and are under the control of the mayor of Ishigaki, which has been given civic authority over the territory since the Senkaku Islands reverted from the US to the Japanese government control in 1972. China (People's Republic of China) and Taiwan (Republic Of China) have challenged Japan's sovereignty over these Senkaku Islands since 1972, with more intensity since 2012.
Ishigaki is a great travel destination for lovers of tropical paradises. It features some magnificent beaches with crystal clear waters. It is ideal for surfing, kite-surfing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Ishigaki has a very different cuisine than mainland Japan. Due to the relative warmth of the surrounding sea and due to various cultural influences, food of Ishigaki is more meat-centered than the rest of Japan. For example, Tonsoku (pigs feet) are quite popular. The usage of SPAM meat is also widespread and featured in many different dishes.
- "Introducing places of interest: Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park (Ishigakijima)". Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 15 February 2012.
- 「宮古八重山津波」(1771 年) における災害・年貢・復興について —石垣島と多良間島を中心に—」 豊見山和行 (Tomiyama, Kazuyuki) University of the Ryukyus Repository (Retrieved on May 13, 2009) (Japanese) Index (Retrieved on May 13, 2009)
- "Japan Coast Guard to form 600-member unit tasked solely with patrolling Senkakus."
- Self-Defense Forces gear up for large-scale war games on remote isle (The Japan Times/AFP-JIJI)
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