Camping Japan was planned by us in some of the most beautiful Islands in the world. 9 days exploring the Okinawa islands of Tokashiki, Zamami, and Aka.
Highs & Lows
Hiked to the peak in Fukaji Island which boosts an spectacular view overlooking the entire Kerema Islands
Ended up booking high speed ferry for double the price with a bumpy ride. Definitely not worth it!
Okinawa boasts a unique culture, a turbulent and fascinating history and superb cuisine that may just help you live longer – its residents top the longevity tables. You will find some of Japan’s biggest areas of unspoilt natural environment, dense jungle and an impressive biodiversity.
Background: I always wanted to visit these islands so planning this trip was really easy. I could find a cheap return flight from Tokyo ( Narita) to Naha for around 150 dollars. Somewhat miraculously the dates fit perfect for me while browsing over flight options. To pop it further we decided for camping in these beautiful islands for the entire trip (10 days) and kept my fingers crossed expecting to be soaked under white sand beaches and surrounded by lush green nature.
Things to carry: mosquito repellents, extra mobile power banks, torch light,
barbecue stuff, good snorkeling gear, cooling box will be handy, plastic mats
- Ferry ride between the islands range from 800¥ to 3000¥ per ride
- To hop between these 3 islands we spent nearly 6500¥ starting from Naha to Zamami and then to Aka followed by Tokashiki and back to Naha
- Cycle rentals are available for a decent price of around 1500¥/day
- For food one can expect to spend around 800-1200¥ for a decent meal
Naha is the main transport hub for the area and where most visitors arrive; whether by plane or ferry. Without wasting much of my time we headed straight to the ferry terminal and found an ferry to hit our first destination at Zamami. I would recommend you to check the ferry schedule and camping situation at the camp site to be on the safer side in case you are very particular about camping only at the campsites. We prepared for wild camping as the island offered quite beautiful locations for us to hop over everyday. We started camping with AMA beach for first 2 nights. It surrounds more of jungle like experience and you will find new friends who generally continue to camp very long and the place has quite good arrangements for cooking, showers, etc.
The next day we were at Furuzamami beach and the views with deep blue water were simply breathtaking. It doesn’t have a designated camp ground but once you start to move around you will be amazed to find some amazing spots. This was quite an highlight of my trip as it was so secluded and so beautiful that every moment spent here made us feel so grateful for just being there. Gazing over the sky filled with stars and the having fire by the shores made each night so special for us. Mornings were followed by waking up listening to the clear waves and the sound of the rich fauna surrounding us.
Zamami Island is perfect to check your fitness levels as cycling around the island with 25km stretch is a must as it surrounds some great view points you would have seen in the whole of Japan. It is a difficult hike up but definitely worth it!
Then we next headed to Aka Islands as our next point and as soon as we reached we fell in love with everything surrounding this beautiful small island and rich corals. I was lucky enough to spot a shark while snorkeling in the Nishihama beach. The free moving deers around here are an absolute treat to eyes and cycling around the islands is a bit difficult but worth for the breathtaking views the island has to offer. One could easily spend 2-3 days enjoying the cool vibe of this island.
The next day we took the morning ferry to Tokashiki Islands. The ferry connecting Aka Islands to Tokashiki Island is limited (2 times a day) and needs a reservation a day earlier by phone which is not so difficult to book at the terminal so make sure to plan this.
This stunning island is blessed with clear blue waters and some amazing view points. We were excited to camp here by the beach and I would highly recommend if you are looking for an offbeat different experience. The campgrounds here can also be booked with pre built tents in case you want to travel light and has some fine local food, definitely worth trying them. Next to the Aaharan beach here lies a secluded beach and I could experience one the most beautiful sunsets in Japan.
Watching over the clear sky filled with stars we still couldn’t believe that it was last night for our trip. The next day we packed our camp and snorkeled around before we left from Tokashiki to Naha. It was my first time I didn’t book any hostel or hotels for 10 days and just did camping with basic necessities and I am so grateful to experience something as blissful as this.
I highly recommend you to travel in these beautiful islands of Okinawa islands and you will be treated with a mystical lifetime experience one can never forget!
Q & A
What would you have changed?Given that we were tight on budget we could have checked the ferry schedule from Naha to avoid taking the expensive ones and saved some time too!
Anything go wrong during the trip?We did have face a bit of rain so it didn't foresee it coming as weather is a bit unpredictable
Restaurant recommendations?We were mostly having barbecue but do try the local deep fried fish from Okinawa. It's delicious
Tips you would give a friend?Avoid travelling in busy times as flights can be expensive and be as flexible as possible. Each of the Islands are just too beautiful to plan coming back on a fixed schedule
Packing tips?Light clothes as most of time is spent around the beaches but do carry a good torch as it's quite handy at night while camping in Japan.
Transportation Tips?Travel light and as a lot of stuff can be bought at Naha which can be carried by ferry to the islands
Any surprises?Beautiful deer in Aka islands were a treat to eyes
Booking details?We only booked flights directly by Jetstar website , everything else was spontaneous and easy