Although officially part of Okinawa, the Yaeyama islands, Japan's southernmost isles, are decidedly under the radar. The archipelago’s main hub of Ishigaki is just two hours by direct flight from Hong Kong, and making it a deliciously convenient destination to escape the bustle of the city. With its Hawai'i-meets-Japanese countryside vibes, and prized bounty of specialty vegetables, beef, and marine delicacies, Ishigaki should be on every food lover's agenda.
This classic kissaten (Japanese coffee shop) has been serving locals for almost half a century. Opened by longtime suppliers of coffee beans and equipment (the roastery is right next door), you know you’ll get a decent brew. The menu is deceptively simple, but all served with that humble Japanese attention to detail. At breakfast, the cafe hums along with regulars dropping in for their morning brew alongside eggs, thick-cut toast with coleslaw and potato salad, or Japanese-style breakfasts of rice with pickles and miso soup. If it’s hot outside–and it often is–you can even opt for an old-school kakigori (shaved ice dessert).
Umibouzu Kissa, Misaki 8-12, Ishigaki, Japan; +81 980 82 3674