There are many islands make up Okinawa Prefecture (the Ryukyu archipelago). Some are connected to the main island by bridge, others require a ferry or plane. From Okinawa main island (where Naha airport) is located, I list how to get to each. Ferry port addresses are linked at the bottom of the post.
These islands are beautiful, and allows you to escape the urban jungle that is the city of Naha and Okinawa main island! I have not made separate posts for all the islands I have visited (I have been to most of these), but I will slowly work on it and update as I go.
Note: uninhabited islands that you could possibly swim or kayak to will not be included in this list.
First I will start with the drive-able islands, connected by bridge. These are “organized” by area.
North, off Motobu peninsula
- Yagaji 屋我地島
- Kouri 古宇利島
- Sesoko 瀬底島
Central, off Uruma
- Henza 平安座島
- Ikei 伊計島
- Miyagi 宮城島
- Hamahiga 浜比嘉島
- Yabuchi 藪地島
- Senaga 瀬長島 (south of Airport, Naha)
- Oujima 奥武島 (south in Nanjo)
Very short ferry rides, half hour or less. Again, I have indicated if the port access is North, Central, or South. I have also provided a link (in English if possible) with ferry times and fares. Since they are subject to change, it is easier to post the link than try to write out all the info.
- Ie 伊江島, ~30 minutes. From Motobu Port (North). Ferry info: http://www.iejima.org
- Tsuken (aka, “Carrot island”) 津堅島, ~15-30 minutes. From Heshikiya Port (Uruma, Central). Ferry info (Japanese): http://tsuken.shimatabi.jp/diagram.html ; English PDF version here: http://tsuken.shimatabi.jp/2014english2.pdf
- Kudaka 久高島, ~25 minutes. From Azama Port (Nanjo, South). Ferry info (Japanese): http://kudakakaiun.web.fc2.com
- Minna 水納島, ~20 minutes. From Toguchi Port (Motobu, North). Ferry info (Japanese): http://www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~minna/
You can reach the Kerama islands 慶良間諸島 via ferry. All of the ferries leave out of Tomari Port in Naha. Again, links to fares and timetables are provided.
- Zamami 座間味島, high speed ferry 50-70 minutes, slow 120 minutes. Ferry info: http://www.vill.zamami.okinawa.jp
- Aka 阿嘉島, high speed ferry 50 minutes, slow 90 minutes. Geruma 慶留間島 is then accessible by bridge. It is on the same ferry line as Zamami, so click the link above for fare and time schedule.
- Tokashiki 渡嘉敷島, high speed ferry 35 min, slow ferry 70 min. Ferry info: http://www.vill.tokashiki.okinawa.jp
- Kume 久米島: I recommend flying a short 35 minutes instead of a 4 hour ferry! It is well worth the small extra cost. From Tomari Port (Naha) for ferry, from Naha Airport for plane. Ferry info: http://www.kumeline.com
Long ferry ride (2 hours or more), or alternatively a short plane ride. Ferry information provided when possible.
- Izena 伊是名島. From Unten Port (Nakijin, North). Ferry info (Japanese, ferry info is in the sidebar under フェリー): http://vill.izena.okinawa.jp
- Iheya 伊平屋島. From Unten Port (Nakijin, North). Ferry info (Japanese, ferry info is in the sidebar under フェリー): http://www.vill.iheya.okinawa.jp
- Aguni 粟国島. From Tomari Port (Naha), but there is only 1 round trip per day as weather conditions permit. You can also fly here, which is probably much more convenient.
- **Yoron 与論島, technically Kagoshima prefecture, but you can get there easily from Okinawa main island. 3 hours from Motobu Port (North) via ferry. Alternatively you can fly into the airport there much quicker, via Naha Airport.
**Some notes about the ferries: most ferries will accept reservations in advance– during the peak season (Golden week and summer) I highly recommend you reserve ahead of time! Some ferries can also take cars… for a very expensive fee, and you must reserve in advance since spaces are filled quickly. It is always cheaper to rent a car/moped/bicycle where you are going rather than take your own, unless you are going for a week or more.
You can reach the Yaeyama islands 八重山諸島 and Miyako islands 宮古列島 by a short airplane ride (an hour or less) from Okinawa main island. There are no passenger ferries from Okinawa main islands down to these islands (and even if there were it would take over 20 hours to reach). It is easy to rent a car or scooter on these islands to get around.
To reach the Miyako islands, first you fly into Miyako-jima 宮古島. Most are easily accessible via bridge.
- Kurima 来間島 (bridge)
- Shimoji 下地島 (bridge)
- Irabu 伊良部島 (bridge)
- Ikema 池間島(bridge)
- Tarama 多良間島 (ferry)
- Ogami 大神島 (ferry)
To reach the Yaeyama islands, first fly into Ishigaki 石垣島. From here you can also reach the other islands, all via ferry:
- Taketomi 竹富島
- Iriomote 西表島
- Kuroshima 黒島
- Kohama 小浜島
- Yonaguni 与那国島
- Hateruma 波照間島, southern most island in Okinawa prefecture.
*Azama Port: https://goo.gl/maps/TQ2x3vZjt652
*Heshikiya Port: https://goo.gl/maps/2Q6MbXJvFhA2
*Motobu Port: https://goo.gl/maps/raBGDa9SJvA2
*Toguchi Port: https://goo.gl/maps/TVZxMUCRLZw
*Tomari Port, Naha: https://goo.gl/maps/ENhdVrKXucv
Parking is NOT free at Tomari Port! But there is a large parking garage. Parking fee calculator here: https://www.tomarin.com/info/calc/index.php
*Unten Port: https://goo.gl/maps/8rd1xEUhatH2