Attractive Zamami Island with not only “Kerama blue” but also various other colors
Writer: Diver M who loves oceans
Located about 50 minutes by high-speed boat from Tomari Port in Naha City, Okinawa, the Kerama Islands have been designated as a national park. They have a very beautiful ocean with the color called “Kerama Blue,” which some say that the whole world falls in love with.
One of the Kerama Islands is Zamami Island, which is blessed with clear ocean, various sea creatures, greenery covering the island, fiery sunsets, an undisturbed starry sky, and great food. I, who fell in love with Zamami Island and visited it twice, will introduce various attractive aspects of the island.
Among other things, the beautiful ocean is what attracts me the most. The island has two beaches available for swimming, Furuzamami Beach and Ama Beach.
At Furuzamami Beach, you can see a wonderful color gradation from the pure white coral sand to the deep blue ocean. You can enjoy sea bathing, swimming and snorkeling to look at the world of sea creatures, or napping under a beach umbrella while listening to the sound of the waves in the background.
The beach has several facilities in place, including showers, washrooms, shops, and rental shops.
The other beach, Ama Beach, is famous as a beach where you can see sea turtles. When you swim at high tide, you have a good chance of a sea turtle coming to eat seaweeds in the area. As sea turtles swim a few meters below the water surface, you can see them swimming even if you are just floating in the water with a life jacket. So, for those who are not good at swimming and children, there is still a good chance to see sea turtles. Quietly enjoying watching a sea turtle swimming peacefully will make you feel happy. You may lose track of time doing so (be careful not to get a sunburn on your back!).
According to a worker at the hotel where I stayed, the sea turtles coming to this area have their own names and the locals can distinguish them from their facial patterns.
If you have enough time, it is recommended to visit the uninhabited islands from Zamami Island. There is a boat to visit these islands from Zamami Island (1,500 yen and up). The islands have more colorful coral reefs and more kinds of fish to see than Furuzamami and Ama Beaches.
Zamami has lots more things to attract visitors in addition to the ocean. From the observatory on the island, you can get a great panoramic view of the Kerama Islands. The island has beautiful seasonal flowers, such as hibiscus, bougainvillea, and Kerama azalea.
Glowing orange sunset going below the horizon.
After the sunset, you can see a panoramic view of the starry sky. As there are not many street lights, you can enjoy the starry sky from anywhere on the island. The best way to see the starry sky is lying down on Furuzamami Beach.
You cannot forget about local dishes on your trip.
When I visited Zamami Island twice, I made sure to visit “Marumi-ya” at Zamami Post Office. It is a restaurant serving Okinawa dishes, which are highly regarded by the owner of the hotel I stayed at.
Every dish was delicious at Marumi-ya, but I especially recommend “jimamidofu no agedashi.” I had this dish two nights in a row. “Jimamidofu” is a tofu made with peanuts (jimami means peanuts in Okinawa dialect). “Fu chanpuru” with “fu” (wheat gluten cake) and vegetables was also delicious. During long weekends and peak season from July to September, the restaurant is very busy, so it is recommended to make a reservation in advance.
Another recommended dish is “kaisendon” (seafood rice bowl) available for lunch and take out at Zamami-son Gyokyo Chokubaiten. As it is operated by gyokyo (fisheries cooperative), you can enjoy kaisendon with fresh seafood only for 600 yen (tax included).
The place also offers several other dishes, such as tempura and Okinawa’s local dish, “po-tama” (onigiri rice ball with pork and eggs), which are perfect to get for take-out and enjoy while looking at the ocean.
For a souvenir from the island, I recommend “Zamami no yamamomo-shu” (Zamami’s bayberry liqueur)” (1,300 yen).
On the island, bay berries grow from March to April and are picked by hand and immersed in alcohol to make this delicious beverage. It has won the Prefectural Governor’s Award.
You can fully enjoy attractive Zamami Island even on a two-day trip. I highly recommend to make this island the destination of your next trip.
Access: 50 min. by highspeed boat or 2 hours by ferry from Tomari Port, Naha City
Zamami Island official website: https://www.vill.zamami.okinawa.jp/
*The information herein is as of April 2021.
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