Tokashiki Island, which is one of 22 islands that make up the Kerama Islands here in Okinawa, is a popular destination with locals and tourists a like and after visiting I can see why…
The main attraction on Tokashiki are the beautiful beaches, turquoise waters and of course the possibility of seeing sea turtles in their natural habitat.
We arrived around lunchtime after taking the “slow” ferry (a 70 min ride from Tomari Port in Naha) and headed straight to our accommodation; Tokashiki Guest House, which has two cabins that are each set up to sleep 6 (although a maximum of 10 can stay).
The owners of Tokashiki Guest House actually met us at the port and we followed behind them in our car to the property; the island is pretty small (15.31km²) with only a couple of roads and villages so I am sure we could have found it on our own but this definitely made life easier!
Since we had brought our own car on the ferry we had plenty of space to bring food to cook all our on meals in the cabins which are equipped with a fridge/freezer, gas stove top, microwave and of course a rice cooker along with pots & pans, plates & cutlery etc.
The cabins themselves aren’t within walking distance to either of the beaches however the owners do have a van and will drop you places, thankfully we had our own car so didn’t have to rely on them to taxi us around.
After lunch we hit up Tokashiku Beach, which was by far our favorite of the 2 beaches. The water was calm, the sand was soft and snorkeling great. Apparently this is the beach you want to head to if you wish to get a glimpse of a sea turtle.
Matt did venture out quite far and while the snorkeling was great he didn’t get to see any sea turtles.
The following day we ventured to Aharen Beach, we were the first people on the beach, even arriving before the lifeguards were set up. I should note that any time we were at Tokashiku Beach we didn’t see any lifeguards.
Aharen Beach is a whole lot more commercialized than Tokashiku; the life guards are just a start, there were also a few shops renting out various equipment (umbrellas, life vests & snorkel gear, others that offered numerous water activities & boat rides etc.
There are roped off area’s for you to swim/snorkel in; any time someone snorkeled outside of the roped area a lifeguard would jet-ski out to them to tell them to go back to the designated swimming area.
The other big difference is that there were various places to buy food. While visiting Tokashiku we went on the hunt for ice-cream and all we came across was one bar; so as far as amenities goes Aharen wins, however as far as natural beauty and pristine conditions, Tokashiku takes the cake!
Later that day, after relaxing at home for a while, we drove around the island in search of, well, anything! We really didn’t come across much else; a couple of shops here and there, gorgeous views but honestly the beach isn’t just the main attraction, it’s really the only attraction!
That night we headed back to Tokashiku to watch the sunset, which was beautiful and the girls just loved playing in the calm waters while Matt & I just loved watching them in front of a gorgeous backdrop.
We had originally planned on leaving the following day on the later ferry, but realizing that after the mandatory check-out time of 10am we would have nothing else to do but hang out at the beach for 5 hours, so we ended up changing our ticket to return home on the earlier ferry.
This definitely was the right call for our family, we were already pretty beached out but that Sunday was definitely going to be a hot one and I can only imagine how fried we all would have been if we spent the entire day at the beach.
Lastly, my honest thoughts on Tokashiku Guest House…
- the service is fantastic, like I said they will meet you at the port and show you exactly where the guesthouse is (or if you don’t have your own vehicle they will collect you) they will also make your ferry reservations on your behalf & supply you with their phone number and clearly expressed for us to call should we have any questions or concerns
- having the ability to cook all your own meals is a huge positive for us, especially on Tokashiki where there aren’t an abundance of eating options
- while we didn’t use it (because the “beware of habu” signs put us off!) there is a decent sized playground in the area (like a 2 min walk from the cabin)
- having Air Conditioning, especially over summer, was bliss! We have had friends that camped on Tokashiki (there is a camping area near Aharen Beach) which is a much more affordable option, however I wouldn’t even consider it over summer!
- this place, in my opinion, is kind of pricey at ¥21,000 per night; for larger groups I am sure this is cost effective but for our family this is definitely a lot more than we prefer to spend on a nights accommodation
- it is traditional Japanese style accommodation in that the entire loft area of the cabin is laid with tatami mats and then you have thin mattresses to fold out to sleep on (blankets & pillows are also supplied) the kids weren’t bothered by this but for Matt & I we had 2 nights of uncomfortable sleep
I am not sure if we will return to Tokashiki simply because there are just so many other islands we are yet to explore however if we do return I think we would be more than happy with a day trip or even a camping trip in the cooler months.
Linking up to My Travel Monkey, Monday Escapes