ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN 2018: ISHIGAKI, JAPAN

What’s the No. 1 emerging destination in the world? Tiny Ishigaki, located more than 180 miles east of Taiwan in Japan’s southernmost prefecture, Okinawa. The subtropical island, known for its tender Ishigaki beef, a lesser-known cousin of Kobe beef, is a gorgeous beach getaway that’s distinctively peaceful and more remote than Okinawa island, the main transportation hub in the region.

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Neon blue waters, white sands, coral reefs and a tropical climate make it an excellent, off-the-beaten-track destination for any discerning sun worshiper.

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Already looking likely to overtake Hawaii in number of visitors per year, in 2016 the island group (a collection of more than 150 islands between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland) welcomed a record 8.77 million people (a 10.5 per cent year-on-year increase), compared to the 8.93 million tourists in Hawaii (a 2.9 per cent rise). I see why, it’s absolutely breath-taking!

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I always search for the most beautiful blue waters when searching for a destination to bring my kids for a family vacation. This is definitely on our bucket list!

Ishigaki offers several nice beaches and good snorkeling and diving in the surrounding coral reefs. Snorkeling can be enjoyed at nearly every beach on the island, while diving is offered through the numerous dive shops with tours available for all experience levels.

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