We were up nice and early to catch the 10am ferry to Tokashiki, a small island about 35km west of Naha. We booked the ferry tickets online weeks ago as they sell out fast. There's usually a high speed boat too but with this being taken out of service for it's annual inspection the ferry was our only option.
We boarded the ferry and were grateful that the sea looked relatively calm as if the waves are higher than 4 metres then the ferry gets cancelled. This was the only ferry going to Tokashiki today and we were booked on the only one returning back to Naha tomorrow.
Before boarding the ferry I picked up a bento box for the journey containing a selection of meats, rice, pickles and egg. There was also some bitter melon which is a major part of Okinawan cuisine. The bitter taste I didn't particularly enjoy but it's said to be really good for you.
The ferry took just an hour and ten minutes to get to Tokashiki where we were greeted by the owner of our guesthouse at Tomari port. The journey across the Island was quite magical giving glimpses of its beautiful beaches along the way.
We were spending the night at Marine Palace near Aharen Beach which cost us £112 for a double room. The price included dinner, breakfast and transfers to and from the port.
On a previous trip to Japan we'd visited Cat Island but we couldn't help but notice there seemed to be a similar number of cats here on Tokashiki too. They all seemed really friendly and would come and greet you if you stood around for a while.
This was the only shop on this side of the island, we made a note of it's 9pm closure time in case we needed any beers or snacks later this evening.
The approach to Aharen Beach had a cluster of places renting out snorkeling gear, canoes and wet suits. I'm really scared of jellyfish so decided I wouldn't be going in the sea except for a paddle maybe! There was also a small restaurant and bar which I definitely planned on visiting.
Aharen beach is absolutely stunning and as it was out of season they were very few people about. The weather today was cloudy but incredibly humid, we walked along the beach and I couldn't see any jellyfish so I went for a paddle studying the water very carefully.
These flowers crept down onto the beach which further down was covered in pieces of coral.
Having explored Aharen beach we stopped for some lunch and an ice cold Orion beer.
Ella ordered some taco rice which is a popular example of Okinawan cuisine. It's usually served with ground beef but the cafe were happy to serve it without meat.
I ordered Okinawan soba noodles served in a delicious broth and topped with pork, pickles and onions.
Just behind the beach we followed a path where we met this beautiful hermit crab. He scuttled across the path before hiding in his shell before slowly reappearing once again.
The path led up to this brutalist concrete lookout tower.
The lookout tower offered excellent views across Aharen Beach and the light breeze up here was much needed as the temperatures were so high.
At the base of the tower we met this tiny caterpillar exploring a concrete post.
Back at the beach bar we ordered a mojito, played connect four and then sat back taking everything in. The people hiring out wet suits and snorkeling gear all chatted amongst each other with a beer. Island life seemed so relaxing and slow paced here on Tokashiki, sheer bliss!
I forget which flavour this was but the first three flavours I'd asked for were sold out so choices were limited. I do recall it tasting great though.
The school on the island had a row of unicycles lined up outside. Learning how to ride a unicycle is quite common in Japanese schools apparently.
It was possible to get around the island using buses but we prefer to explore on foot. We decided to check out another nearby beach which was also beautiful. When we arrived though some very dark clouds were appearing overhead which was a slight concern. Before long the heavens opened and we were stranded underneath a covered seating area.
The rain passed eventually and we returned to Aharen to see if a cafe we'd spotted earlier was open yet. When we arrived the lights were on so we ordered some drinks and took a seat outside on the porch.
The cafe sold great coffee, Ella ordered a cappuccino and I opted for iced coffee to cool me down as it was still so humid outside.
At 7pm dinner was served at the guesthouse and there was so much food! So if you're thinking the price of the room was expensive for one night this certainly makes it good value for money. Everything was beautifully presented and tasted exceptional. There was miso soup, pickles, rice, salad, tofu, chicken with vegetables and the most amazing tasting fish. Ella's meal was meat and fish free, something we'd requested earlier in the day.
After dinner we explored Aharen in the dark starting with a beer on the beach. The stars were really bright and the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach was so relaxing. The only place we found open in Aharen was this bar where we almost stopped for a drink. We were feeling really tired though so decided instead to call it a night.
Click here for Day 6
Tokashiki and back to Naha