Zamami Island – Quiet, Peaceful, Breathtaking
When I think of Zamami Island, a Japanese fishing village in the Kerama Island chain, these three words come to mind – quiet, peaceful and breathtaking. Only about 40km west of Okinawa, we went to Zamami to experience a reprieve from the fast paced experience we had while in Naha, Okinawa. We went in February, their slow season, so we really got a wonderful dose of mellow and slow island life. If you too are looking to mellow out, you’ve come to the right place. But before you start packing your bags, make sure to take note of some things to know before you travel to Japan, and also make sure you check out some of these books about Japan, that way you’ll be ready to make the most of your Zamami Island experience!
We took the Zamai Queen Ferry to get to the island (You can check out ferry tickets/schedules here. I suggest you open the link in Chrome so you can translate the text).
It only took about an hour to reach the island, and the ride going there was quite calm. We loved Zamami even from our first glimpse.
Where to Stay on Zamami Island
The moment we stepped off the Zamai Queen Ferry at Zamami Port, I felt a pleasant sense of stillness and calm. The sensation was similar to being in a soundproofed room, the kind you go into when you have a hearing test. Indeed, we had arrived in a Japanese fishing village. It was wonderful!
If you want to stay at an accommodation where you’ll experience this same sense of calm, quiet and mellowness, you should definitely stay at Guesthouse Iyonchi*. The rooms were great value, clean and located right in the center of town.
Things To Do
We were on Zamami for three days. Each day we spent a few hours doing an organized activity, and then we left the rest of the day for unplanned exploring. In our travels, we have found that some of our favorite experiences come out of not planning. So, we always make sure to leave some of our time open ended. Spontaneity needs time to happen! Who knows what you’ll see in a fishing village!
Whale Observation Towers
We arrived on the island in the morning, so for our first day we wandered around the island. Many different whale species live around Zamami island, namely Humpbacks. So, our main goal was to get to a number of the whale observation towers on Zamami and try our luck at spotting whales.
We walked in a counterclockwise loop around the island. We mostly walked on roads, but there were a few times we ventured down side trails. Our route was basically up Mt. Takatsuki, it wasn’t too strenuous, and then over to a couple whale observation towers. You can find all these places on Google Maps. The whale observation tower, on Google Maps, comes up if you type in “稲崎展望台”. Next, we walked to another whale observation tower “女瀬の崎展望台”, and here we watched the sunset.
And, the sunset was spectacular!
Even though it was February, we could not resist the temptation to SCUBA dive. The possibility of seeing humpback whales made it easier to get into the chilly water.
Since we wanted to keep warm, we started the day with a delicious traditional Japanese breakfast. It was simple but MASSIVELY delicious. It’s amazing how simple food can be, well, simply delicious!
Then, we braved the cold and took the plunge. We were the only ones in the fishing village that went diving that day. Call us crazy if you will, but we loved it!
We didn’t end up seeing any humpbacks, but the sea life was beautiful none the less.
The next day, we went whale watching. Since we didn’t see them from below, we wanted to try our luck at seeing them from above. And luck is what we had!
We saw a number of humpback whales. We also saw a bunch of Pseudorcas, false killer whales, which actually look quite like dolphins. I never realized just how big humpbacks were until I saw one in the wild.
We reached the end of our three day stay on Zamami wishing we had many more. Life in this Japanese fishing village was marvelous!
Go to Zamami Island Yourself!
If you’re looking for a cozy, quiet and slow paced island experience, Zamami is perfect. In the summer it’s even quite tropical and can be a perfect weekend getaway from Okinawa! Make sure to check out some of these Japan travel tips, and then pack your bags!
If you’re looking for a little more adventure however, check out some of our posts about Sri Lanka!
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