Okinawa is known for its pristine beaches where you can sunbathe, swim, and snorkel to your heart’s content. However, while Naha and Okinawa Honto have plenty of amazing attractions and beaches, the best beaches are located off the main island. Miyako is a popular spot, but another flight is required to reach the island. Fortunately, day trippers from Naha can easily access the stunning islands of Zamami. While Zamami Village actually consists of 20 islands, only three are populated, with Zamami being the largest. Here are some of the highlights of the wonderful island of Zamami!
Furuzamami is the most popular beach, and it is best accessed by bus as the walk is rather steep. The picturesque beach, with white sand and bright blue water, is absolutely stunning, so its popularity will come as no surprise. The water is astoundingly clear and clean, the perfect tropical paradise. The waters are calm and safe with only a small current, and as it has coral close to the beach, it’s a great place to try snorkeling as well. There are vendors near the beach where you can rent equipment for the day for around 1000 yen, and a life jacket is recommended to ensure that you don’t accidentally step on the coral, which appears right off the beach on the right-hand side.
Visibility is high, and there are many amazing fish to be seen. I even saw a few sea snakes, which fortunately had no interest in me. While you are unlikely to see any big sea creatures, there are still plenty of interesting things to see like puffer fish and clown fish. It is wonderfully relaxing to simply float and watch the sea life below you.
Of course, if you would rather sit and relax on the beach, you can rent chairs and parasols for the day as well. There is also a shop and restaurant with surprisingly decent food overlooking the beach, with a patio that makes for a great photo spot. The beach is on the smaller side, but there are some pretty rock formations at either end that are worth exploring if you want to stretch your legs. When you are ready to leave, there are also showers that you can use. If you intend to return to the port by bus, be sure to check the schedule as the last bus may depart relatively early.
Furuzamami is not the only beach on the island. Ama Beach is the second most popular, and while it is just as beautiful, the snorkeling is not quite as good as there is less coral. There are fewer rental and food options as well, so it is better to get your gear and snacks before going to Ama, especially in the off season. However, there is one thing that sets Ama Beach apart: sea turtles. While there is, of course, no guarantee, this is the best spot on the island to try to see sea turtles, and you will have the best chance to see them at high tide.
Ama Beach also has a campsite, and it is the only beach where you can camp. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can also take a water taxi from the port to the nearby uninhabited islands for 1500 or 2500 yen. If you prefer to stay on the main island, you can find other quieter beaches as well as four observatories if you fancy a bit of hiking. Sea kayaking and paddle boarding opportunities are also available, and if you visit in the winter, you can go whale watching.
High-speed ferries depart from Naha Tomari port a few times a day, taking around an hour and costing 5970 yen roundtrip. Once on Zamami, its two main beaches, Furuzamami and Ama, can be accessed via a twenty-minute walk from the port or a short bus ride. Bicycle and scooter rentals are also available.
Zamami is the perfect get away from Naha, and it makes for an easy day trip or a relaxing weekend retreat. The beaches are gorgeous and far nicer than any of the beaches in Honshu or even Okinawa Honto. While it can get crowded, the stunning scenery and wonderful snorkeling is well worth it. You’re sure to have a magical experience you won’t soon forget.