We stayed for a week at Sea Forest and had a wonderful time. Sea Forest is a very small, unique place to stay: it's comprised of a main building which is the resturant and breakfast room, with incredible views over the bay, and then a choice of two rooms: Aserola, a room underneath the resturant and Jurin, a detached cottage next to the building. We stayed in the Aserola room for six nights, and the Jurin cottage for the last night. Aserola is very private, as it is the corner of the building and you walk around the corner of the public area, so no-one walks past you or will come to disturb you if they visit the resturant. You have your own little covered veranda to sit (and smoke) in, with superb views of the sea and the northern peninsula. The room itself has a double bed, a sofa, a TV, a fridge and a tea/coffee area, and a very large bathroom with power shower, jacuzzi bath and all the rest. It's a good size for two people and very clean - the sheets and towels are changed every day. Jurin is even more luxurious - enormous twin beds, each a double by our standards, and a double jacuzzi bath - just look at the photos!
The staff are incredibly friendly and offer complimentary tea and cake when you return from a day sightseeing, and let us choose what time we wanted breakfast every day. We had a different breakfast every day as well - alternating between Japanese and Western style food. We ate in the resturant the first night and highly recommend the Ishigaki beef set meal - 7 courses of foodie heaven, all home made and freshly caught local fish! There is car parking as well, and we would recommend car hire, but if you're determined not to drive, Sea Forest is literally opposite the Observation Site, so buses do stop there.
In terms of location, look up Ishiaki on google maps and look for Tamatorizaki Observation Point - that is where Sea Forest is, right across the road. Easy to find from the city - just follow the (English) signs and look for SeaForest on the left as the Tamatorizaki Observation Point carpark is on your right! It's a 40 minute drive - so from SeaForest, you're looking at 30 minutes to your nearest convience store, but there are local shops selling food and drink about ten minutes north, and vending machines at the observation point. There is a resturant and cafe at the end of the road too - 5 or 10 minute walk - and a beach five minutes past that. Kabira Bay, Yonehara etc are about 20 minutes away by car, and you can do a roundtrip of the main island in about 3 hours. Do go north too - the lighthouse up there is spectacular, and Sunset Beach is lovely.
Ishigaki is a great island for a taste of a totally different side to Japan and is great for scuba diving - we recommend Umicoza, who have English-speaking instructors and an English website. I would recommend not staying in Ishigaki City - it's good for amneities but is not attractive - and if, like us, Club Med is just not your style, go for Sea Forest - it's private, in a good location, has the most wonderful staff and will make you really feel like you're experiencing local life.
We should note that only two of the staff at Sea Forest spoke any English, and it was very limited English - but we had our phrasebook and a smattering of Japanese phrases, and with patience and good humour we managed just fine! Ishigaki has very little English apart from roadsigns - no English menus or leaflets here, apart from at the Town Hall (do yourself a favour and go there first if you don't speak Japanese!), but everyone is so kind and willing to help you will be fine. We really enjoyed ourselves and couldn't be more pleased with our choice to stay at Sea Forest.
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- Also Known As:
- Sea Forest Ishigaki, Japan - Okinawa Prefecture