Tokashiki Island (ônë├Ľ~ôç, Tokashiki-jima) is the largest of the Kerama Islands. Although slightly lagging behind Zamami's popularity, Tokashiki offers several nice beaches while its interior is mostly covered by forested hills and offers a few hiking trails and observation decks.
The best time to go swimming in Tokashiki is between May and October. From December to March, the air temperature can drop below 20 degrees Celsius which many people will consider too cool for swimming. The main two beaches are located along the island's west coast and come with facilities and rental and tour shops. In addition, there are many smaller but less easily accessible beaches with fewer or no facilities on the island.
Aharen Beach is the bigger of the island's two main beaches, located about 4.5 kilometers south of Tokashiki Port. The white sand beach draws sunbathers, and the waters are separated into swimming and snorkeling zones. Rental shops, beach huts, restaurants, and toilet and shower facilities can be found near the beach, and various tours are available from tour companies and accommodations nearby. Next to the beach is the Kubandaki Observatory with views of the surrounding coastline.
Tokashiku Beach is the smaller of the two main beaches on Tokashiki Island. Swimming and sunbathing are popular activities at the beach, and there is a separate area for snorkeling. Toilet and paid shower facilities are available nearby, and rental equipment and tours are available from a tour and accommodation facility by the beach.
From January to March, whale watching tours take visitors to see the humpback whales that come from the cold Aleutians and Bering Sea to the warmer Okinawan waters to breed. Reservations can be made through tour companies or accommodations.
Spread across the island are a number of observatories which offer views of the island and the ocean. Of interest are the Teruyama Observatory on the western side of the island, which overlooks the two main beaches; and the Minato no Mieru Oka Observatory on the eastern side of the island, which looks down on Tokashiki Village. There are hiking trails through the island's forested interior where seasonal flowers can be seen, as well as a couple of war memorials dedicated to the villagers who committed mass suicide during World War Two.
How to get to Tokashiki Island
High speed boats and car ferries connect Naha's Tomari Port with Tokashiki Port. Car ferries generally depart once per day, and high speed ferries 2-3 times per day. The one way trip by car ferry takes about 70 minutes and costs 1690 yen, while by high speed ferry it takes about 35 minutes and costs 2530 yen. Round trip tickets are available for 3210 yen and 4810 yen respectively.
From other Kerama Islands
A small village ferry connects Tokashiki's Aharen Port to Zamami and Aka islands twice per day; however, tickets must be reserved at least one day in advance. The one way ride from Tokashiki takes 20 minutes to Aka and 35 minutes to Zamami and costs 800 yen.
How to get around Tokashiki Island
Tokashiki is about nine kilometers long and three kilometers wide. The island's two main villages are Tokashiki in the northeast and Aharen in the southwest.
There is an infrequent local bus between the two villages (15 minutes, 400 yen one way) with departures timed to the ferry timetable. Alternatively, local pickup from the port is typically arranged beforehand with your accommodation or tour company. It is also possible to rent a car, moped or bicycle at Tokashiki Port. Good walkers could walk between the two villages in about 60-80 minutes, but note that the terrain is quite hilly.