Takatsuki-Yama Observation Deck
Japan,  Zamami

Why Zamami Island is the best island in Okinawa

I spent around 3 months living in Zamami Island. I made a post on my Workaway experience in Tokyo, and I plan on making one of my experiences in Zamami as well. Zamami is just 6.7 square kilometers and is home to around 500 people. Even though it feels like a remote island, it is just a 50 minutes on the high speed boat from Naha. Zamami is such an amazing island that everyone needs to visit at least once during a trip to Okinawa!

One of the clearest water in Okinawa

I was shocked to see how clean, clear and blue the water was the moment I arrived. I didn’t know that something like this was really real. I grew up at beaches in NYC, (the waters are very questionable) so water this transparent was something new and crazy to me. I was able to see my toes, sand, and fish swimming around me. I was also surprised that was no trash on the shore or the water. It truly felt like an untouched island.

Ama beach Zamami island
Ama beach

Zamami has the best food

Even though Zamami is a small island, you’ll never run out of food options! My favorite place was the Zamami Burger and Pizza. They have the best burger and pizza in all of Okinawa! Other favorites include Zamami Village Fish Co-op, a local fisherman’s market. Fisherman sold their freshly caught fish and the co-op sliced it to serve it raw. I always had the swordfish bowl and it was amazing every time. I also loved Restaurant Marumiya for their teishoku sets and Okinawan food like rafute, goya champuru and agedashi tofu.

Best views and observation decks

Zamami island has about 7 observation decks and each is unique and beautiful. The ones I went to often were Takatsuki-Yama and Kami-no-hama observation decks. Takatsuki-Yama is directly connected to the village and is very uphill with lots of nature. It is impossible to bicycle, and a good hike for walking, but ideally, a car would be best. Kami-no-hama has the best seating areas and is a great stop to relax and taking it slow.

Takatsuki-Yama observation deck Zamami
Takatsuki-Yama observation deck

The prettiest sunsets

Every day, I made to watch the sunset. It’s so magical seeing the sky turn different colors as the sun touches the ocean. It really was a great way to reflex on my day and a great way to be appreciative that I was able to live on such a beautiful island.

Sunset in front of Marilyn Statue, Zamami
Sunset in front of Marilyn Statue

Nicest People

Everyone was very nice and friendly. The community is small and after being there for around a month, most of the local people there already knew me by name or face. Every time I went out, locals would stop and talk to me and ask me how I had been doing. Since Zamami is a tourist spot, and Okinawa, in general, is very used to foreigners due to it being a big military spot. They aren’t afraid of people who look different and love to talk to new people. By the end of the 3 months, I really felt like I was part of the village.

Eating at Restaurant Marumiya
Eating at Restaurant Marumiya

Nature surrounds Zamami Island

You are always going to be surrounded by nature and greenery. The air smells fresh and even just taking a simple walk will remind you that you one with nature. Did you know that Zamami Island is part of four inhabited islands of the Keramas, and together with the many uninhabited islands that surround them, they make up Keramashoto National Park.

Unaji-no-sachi observation deck Zamami
Unaji-no-sachi observation deck

Many water activities to do on Zamami island

You can really never run out of things to do on this island! Water activities are a must-do when in Zamami! Everything was a first for me, and I found out that although I do, have a fear of fish, the ocean and the ecosystem underneath are beautiful. I came to this island not knowing how to swim, and I left being able to swim. I found out my love for stand-up paddling and learned how to properly enjoy snorkeling.

Wildlife on Zamami island

There is much wildlife that can be found in Zamami. Swim in Ama Beach, and 9 out of 10 times, you’ll meet a friendly turtle trying to find some seaweed in the seafloor. During the winter season, whales can be seen migrating and performing dances. Stray cats can also be seen all over the island, although they are all not too friendly, they are still very cute!

Star watching

At certain points of the island, there are absolutely no lights which is the perfect island for star gazing on clear days. On clear days, I enjoyed either going to the port or in front of the Marilyn Statue statue and laying down staring at the stars while hearing the waves crashing nearby.

Stars in front of Marilyn Statue statue  in Zamami
Stars in front of Marilyn Statue statue in Zamami

Easy transportation around Zamami Island

Zamami Island is so small, that it is easy to ride a bike throughout the whole island. Some areas are elevated and are hard to get to, but it isn’t anything impossible. I did notice that by the 3rd month, I had much more stamina than when I first arrived. Even though I have personally never ridden on it, there is also a bus that runs around the island every so often.

biking around Zamami Island
Me and my bike

All necessities can be found on Zamami Island

Everything you need is on the island, from a government office, police station, clinic, tourist center, gift shops, markets, countless restaurants, and hostels. If someone you want cannot be found and you are staying in Zamami for a longer period of time, you can even order on amazon and it will be shipped to you! Even though it is slower than mainland shipping, it was very helpful when I wanted certain items or food!

Food and grocery store in Zamami
A store in Zamami

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