A true gem in Japan’s crown, the unique mangrove wetlands of Nagura Amparu lie on the western coast of Ishigaki Island, a part of the Yaeyama Islands. Ishigaki Island is some 400km southwest of Okinawa Island itself and home to an eco-system not found elsewhere in Japan.
The wetlands, composed of a tidal flat and mangrove forest where the Nagura River meets Nagura Bay, host a variety of exceptional wildlife. The marshland is home to benthos, fish, lugworms, mud shrimp, crabs and eagles, among others. One particularly interesting sight is the migration of the Crested Serpent Eagles, who use the Nagura Amparu area as a stopover on their annual journey. For a country with a mostly mountainous landscape, a visit to this subtropical ecosystem is an unforgettable experience.
The island of Ishigaki is also one-of-a-kind, with a culture that is notably different to that of the mainland. A far cry from the concrete jungles of the capital, Ishigaki Island boasts stunning beaches, coral, and local customs that have little in common with the rest of the country.