The Kerama Islands are a chain of subtropical islands that lie 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Okinawa Island. Although the Keramas are easily accessible by sea or air, they remain an idyllic paradise largely undiscovered. Only four of the Kerama's 22 islands are inhabited: Aka, Geruma, Tokashiki and Zamami.
The islands are a series of lush green hills and unspoiled beaches providing excellent conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking, windsurfing, fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
The Kerama Islands offer some of the world’s best snorkeling where a myriad of tropical reef fish can be seen. The ocean is extremely calm which makes it easy for any level of swimmer. Take part in a snorkel tour by boat or simply snorkel from the beach.
Zamami Island’s lush green hills can be explored by car, bicycle or bus where you can take in magnificent ocean views. The locals are very friendly and the village is small enough to navigate easily. Completely safe, children play outside well past sunset.
Despite outside interests the locals have resisted commercial development and life has been maintained in much the same way that it did centuries ago. The locals, proudly protective of their environment, pay greatest heed to the rise and fall of the sun in this untouched paradise that remains a peaceful eco-tourism destination.
Evenings in Zamami are usually spent socializing with the locals at your hotel or in one of a handful of restaurants and bars where you can feast on delicious food and drink. As the sun sets, there will be ample opportunity to hear the gentle strumming of the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument accompanied by tuneful folk songs. Another favorite past time is to enjoy an evening stroll along the beach to see the constellation.
We recommend a stopover in Naha before continuing on your journey. Spend the day sightseeing around Okinawa’s bustling capital city where you can visit ancient castles, explore Tsuboya, a 400-year old pottery town and of course indulge in Okinawa’s infamous cuisine. Please browse our web site to find out more about Okinawa Island’s attractions.
Trips to the islands can be arranged throughout the year. Below is a sample itinerary for divers.
Destinations: Okinawa Island, Zamami Island
Days 1 & 2: Leave country of origin, cross the International Date Line and arrive in Tokyo or Osaka on day two. Clear customs and board the connecting flight to Naha, Okinawa’s capital. Stay one night in the heart of the city center. In the evening catch some great nightlife and experience the Okinawan culture.
Day 3: A 45-minute boat ride brings you to lush green, subtropical Zamami Island. Upon arrival you’ll be taken to the hotel and dive resort. Enjoy the first few boat dives and then settle in for the next few nights. Accommodations are quaint, comfortable and moments away from white sandy beaches.
Day 4: Three boat dives. Fishing, kayaking, windsurfing and hiking are also available.
Day 5: Three boat dives. This part of the East China Sea is believed to contain the greatest number of corals and marine species. Ribbon eels, pinecone fish, mandarin fish as well as leaf scorpion are some of the more rare inhabitants of the reef.
Day 6: Two more exquisite dives, perhaps at Zamami’s magnificent ‘Nita Cave’. Schools of circular spadefish, barracuda, palette surgeons, blue-green chromis and purple queen anthias can be seen.
In the afternoon spend the day touring Zamami Island by car or bicycle. If weather permits a BBQ at the hotel at sunset ends the day. Or perhaps take the boat back to Naha and spend the final night in Naha, Okinawa. The afternoon and evening will allow plenty of time to explore Naha’s bustling shopping district and indulge in the local cuisine.
Day 7: Return to point of origin or continue on one of our optional tours to either Tokyo or Kyoto. Both cities will provide ample opportunity to experience the mainland’s culture which although Japanese, is different to the southern islands. Relax in hot springs, explore ancient temples and shrines and sample the local cuisine. Please visit our Tokyo / Kyoto page to find out more about Open Coast’s trips.
MAY HIGHLIGHTS: Experience the Sanja Festival, one of Tokyo’s largest and most exciting. With the streets closed, hundreds of portable shrines are paraded through town carried on the shoulders of locals in ceremonial garb. The sumo tournament is also held in May.
OCTOBER HIGHLIGHTS: Take part in Okinawa’s biggest festival, the Tug O’ War – a day when the capital city Naha, closes for a huge party. Watch thousands of locals challenge each other in a contest of strength using a forty-ton rope! Also snorkel and dive with huge pacific manta rays making their seasonal visit.
Sample itineraries are also available to download.