Ishigaki is a city in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It includes Ishigaki island and the disputed Senkaku Islands territory. The city is the political, cultural, and economic center of the Yaeyama Islands. New Ishigaki Airport serves the city.
As of December 2012, the city has an estimated population of 48,816 and a population density of 213 persons per km2. The total area is 229.00 km2.
Ishigaki was founded in 1908 as Yaeyama Village, an amalgamation of the Ishigaki, Ōhama, and Miyara magiri. In 1914 it was renamed to Ishigaki Village, and grew to become Ishigaki Town in 1926. Ishigaki was elevated to city status on July 10, 1947.
The city of Ishigaki covers the entirety of Ishigaki Island (222 square kilometres (86 sq mi)). The island is surrounded by coral reefs. The highest point on Ishigaki Island is Omotodake (525.5 metres (1,724 ft)).
The uninhabited Senkaku Islands are located 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of the Ishigaki Island. The Senkaku Islands cover roughly 6.3 square kilometres (2.4 sq mi).
Ishigaki has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) with hot summers and warm winters. Precipitation is abundant throughout the year; the rainiest months are August and September (due to tropical storm/typhoon) while the driest months are December and July.
New Ishigaki Airport and Ishigaki Port serve the city.
Ishigaki produces sugarcane and pineapples. Tourism is also an important part of the economy of the city.
The town of Ishigaki has various sights to offer.
- Gongen Do is a sightworthy Shinto shrine close to the center of Ishigaki town which was founded in 1614. The shrine was destroyed during a flood in 1771. The present buildings date from 1787. The neighbouring building is Torin Ji, a buddhist temple which was founded in 1614 as well. It houses several statues dating from 1737 which possibly represent tutelary gods of Ishigaki Island.
- Close by is Miyaradunchi, a residential building dating from 1819. Its architecture with a hip roof consisting of red tiles is similar to samurai houses on mainland Japan, but there have never been samurai on the Yaeyama Islands.
- The Museum of the Yaeyama Islands, Shiritsu Yaeyama Hakubutsukan, is on Main Street in the center of Ishigaki town. Various kinds of boats and other items referring to the history and culture of the Yaeyama Islands can be seen. It is famous for being the southernmost museum of Japan.
- Fuzaki Kannon Do is a small Shinto shrine dating from 1742. It is 5 km west of the town on a hill offering a scenic view of Ishigaki and Iriomote, the neighbouring island. The shrine is dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist boddhisatva of mercy.
- Tojinbaka is tomb in a typical Chinese style about 6 km west the town on the ring road. 400 Chinese labourers who died during a rebellion on a ship sailing to America in 1852 are buried here.
- Kabira Bay
Notable people from Ishigaki
- Yukiya Arashiro (born 1984) biker
- Yōkō Gushiken (born 1955) boxer
- Rimi Natsukawa (born 1973) folk singer
- Begin (band) (all members born 1968) pop musical group
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