Would you guess which area of the world this is by looking at the photos from this article at first glance? It could be one of those amazing known places, but I’m sure very little of you have guessed that this is actually Japan!
Japan is one of the countries that many have the dream to visit for its culture, capital, powder snow, and many other mainstream opportunities that the countries is known to offer.
I travelled a lot in my life, but I never would have guessed that this corner of Japan was existing. In windsurfing Japan has always been famous as there are a lot of windsurfers, and as in the 90’s there was one of the most prestigious PWA events in Omaezaki, not far from Tokyo. Omaezaki was always known to be one of the most windy spots of the tour, but very different from the paradise colour that you see now in the photos.
Which area are we talking about? We are discovering for you the southern islands of Japan. Just over two hours flight south of Tokyo. The islands are actually same height or just little east from Taiwan. There is a whole chain of a big number of coral reef pacific islands all belonging to Japan. The main ones and sure the most know, are Okinawa, following Ishigaki. They are the biggest and the first landing islands for most planes to land, to than change to fly to the smaller islands, or actually taking the fast ferries to others.
When you are landing to one of these islands, you get a shocker, or at least I did! I was not expecting to see islands looking like the Maldives, or Tahiti in terms of reef and water. A vegetation close to the one of Hawaii. Waves hitting the reef, crystal water around all the islands, and white sandy beaches, that get too bright to look at without sun glasses.
I had been to this place already once two years ago. I remember landing in Tokyo with 5°C in January and then arriving on the island of Ishigaki with 23-25°C. At that time my trip continued by one hour fast boat to Kohama island. Amazing resort on a golf course placed on top of the windsurfing spot.
This time I took with me my photographer friend, Tommy, as I wanted to take photos of this corner of the world, as I’m sure not many of us would have thought to see this kind of paradise in south Japan.
I had been invited by my Japanese distributor to take part at the Miyako Classic. An event on Miyako Island for all class of windsurfers. From beginners to experts. To get to this island the flight from Tokyo went to Okinawa, and from there a second internal flight of 30 minutes to Miyako. I was shocked on the similarities there were from Maui in some areas of the island, but also on how many different things it was offering.
Being summer the temperature were very different to my last trip in this area. There were over 35°C temperature, kind of very humid, water around 30°C, or at least it felt very warm. The best season for windsurfing is in the winter months, September to April, as the winds are almost daily over 20 knots. It’s still warm. Temperatures drop little under 20°C in the night, but they go over that during the day. It’s actually a very pleasant temperature. While in the summer the wind is still almost every day, but with more in the lighter side, 10-25 knots.
The trip from Europe is quite long as you need to take at least 2 flights, and worse case 4 flights. It’s not expensive to fly there. We have spent less than a 1000euros for the flights. Also the life once there is not more expensive than what we are used to. It’s a very affordable holiday. It would be a mix between discovering a very different area of the world, meeting the Japanese kindness and culture, windsurfing in amazing spots.
Going back to Miyako island, there is a lot to visit on the island. It’s connected with big bridges to different islands which offer great sightseeing, snorkelling and sup excursions, surfing, golfing, biking around the island and much more. You can eat every night at different type of restaurants to taste the Japanese food. Sushi is only one of the many which Japanese cuisine can offer and the towns are open 24h.
Next year there will be a PWA slalom event organized in Japan, but one hour from Tokyo. It will be the return of the PWA in Japan after many years. The plan is to have the event a week before or after PWA Korea. This way it will be most convenient for the rider to travel. There is also will to organize a PWA event on Miyako, it’s now still a dream, and I’m sure it would be a dream to have a competition also on this paradise corner of the world.