The Kerama Islands are located 30-40 kilometers north of Naha, the prefectural capital located on the island of Okinawa. The Kerama Islands include some 20 small and large islands, all of which are surrounded by coral reefs and unbelievably transparent seas. Only five of the islands are inhabited — Tokashiki, Maejima, Zamami, Aka and Geruma — while the others are deserted. Humpback whales migrate through the Keramas’ waters every winter and can be seen on one of the local tours. There is a wide variety of minshuku and pensions on Tokashiki, Zamami and Aka. This is an ideal place for snorkeling as it is widely inhabited by sea turtles. Five to six ferries depart every day from Aka to Zamami.
One of the most fascinating dive sites in Okinawa, the Kerama Islands prompt many a diver from around the world to keep coming back to see its extraordinarily beautiful waters and incredible underwater sights. There are numerous places of accommodation and dive shops where English is spoken. A day tour is available for those whose time is limited. The Kerama Islands are a great place to refresh the mind and body by getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The Kerama Islands will be designated Japan’s 31st national park on March 5, 2014, known as Coral Day in Okinawa. The islands’ beautiful coral reefs and clear waters serve as the habitat for approximately 250 species of coral and a breeding ground for humpback whales.
A 35-minute ferry ride from Tomari Port in Naha, this strip-shaped island is located in the east of the Keramas and is home to some 740 villagers. Tokashiki is the largest island in the Keramas, comprising the Tokashiki, Tokashiku and Aharen districts, with Tokashiki being the most heavily populated. The island is well known for diving, snorkeling and other marine sports. Once you arrive, you will be captivated by the island’s hilly landscape, its crystal-clear waters and its fully developed coral reefs.
High-speed ferry: 35 minutes from Tomari Port in Naha City (3 trips a day)
Ferry: 70 minutes from Tomari Port in Naha City (1 trip a day)
Zamami Island is located 40 kilometers from Naha and is the second biggest island in the Keramas after Tokashiki. The majority of visitors to this island are divers. Tourists can enjoy snorkeling at Ama Beach and Furuzamami Beach, known as some of the best spots for this marine activity. In late winter and early spring whale watching tours are also available. Renting a car or bike for getting around the island is recommended. There are also hills, forests and observation decks, so visitors can enjoy a wide range of recreational activities.
Various types of accommodation can be found on the island, including campgrounds for those who prefer outdoor living. Famous for its beautiful turquoise waters, sandy beaches and great diving, Zamami is a must-see for all island-hoppers.
There are also various tours to the uninhabited islands of Kahi, Agenashiku and Amuro, located south of Zamami Island.
High-speed ferry: 50-70 minutes from Tomari Port in Naha City (4-6 trips a day)
Ferry: 120 minutes from Tomari Port in Naha City (1 trip a day)
Aka is the westernmost island of the Keramas, accessed by a ferry that runs four times a day from Zamami Island. Visitors can enjoy both islands and can stay on either island. Nishihama Beach and Aka Beach are known for their beautiful, transparent waters and precious corals.
There are other islands nearby called Geruma and Fukaji. They are linked together by a small bridge that is also connected to Aka Island. Visitors can thus visit all three islands by vehicle.
High-speed ferry: 50 minutes from Tomari Port in Naha (1-2 trips a day)
Ferry: 90 minutes from Tomari Port in Naha City (1 trip a day)
*Ferry runs 4 trips a day costing 300 yen from Zamami Port to Aka Island (about 15 minutes).