Zamami Island – Top 10+ Things to Do During Your Okinawa Trip

If you’ve decided to visit Okinawa but don’t know where to go, how about hopping over to the nearby island of Zamami?

In less than an hour (on the high-speed boat), you’ll be transported from the fairly touristy area of Naha to the slow and relaxing atmosphere Zamami has to offer.

If you seek sparkling blue waters, amazing snorkeling spots, and some special island fare, Zamami might be the island for you!

Even though the island is small, plan to spend at least a night or two so you can experience the different water activities and beaches available.

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Table of Contents

Check out the Zamami Island vlog here!

Getting to Zamami Island

Ferry and Boat Reservations

In order to get to Zamami Island, you will need to take a boat from Tomari Port. There are two options, the ferry (Ferry Zamami) and the high-speed boat (Queen Zamami). The Queen Zamami is more than twice as fast as the ferry, so if you aren’t traveling with a car, it is a good option to spend more time on the island and less time en route.

Reservations for both of these boats can be made on the reservation website here. The website is a bit archaic, but after making an account and logging in, you will be able to view and make your reservations.

While tickets can be purchased at Tomari Port, seats fill up especially during high season (May to October), so advance reservations are recommended.

Zamami Ferry

  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • Transport service: passengers, cargo, vehicles
  • 2,250 yen* (One way)/ 4,190 yen* (Round trip)

Queen Zamami (High-speed boat)

  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • Transport service: Passengers only
  • 3,300 yen* (One way) / 6,180 yen* (Round trip)

Reservations notes (from the website): *Prices include 100 yen Environmental Protection Tax and are accurate as of July 2023. Reservations made with credit cards issued outside of Japan are only accepted 23 days prior to departure. Children under 13 years old and disabled persons can ride free of charge. To make reservations by phone or to contact for inquiries, call: 098-868-4567. You can make reservations for up to 5 passengers at a time. To make reservations for parties of 6 or more, call the above phone number.

You can begin to board 30 minutes before departure. Show the QR code on your reservation ticket and you are good to go!

Tomari Port

Whether you take the Ferry Zamami or the Queen Zamami, you will be leaving from Tomari Port. (There is a bit of distance between the Queen Zamami boat departure point and the Ferry Zamami departure point but posted signs will guide you.)

Lockers are available at the Port for 300-600 yen depending on the size.

From Naha Airport, there are several ways to get to Tomari Port:

If you get to Tomari Port early and have a bit of time to spare, you can head over to the nearby Tomari Fish Market. It’s about 15 minutes walk from the port.

The market itself is a bit small with only two rows of sellers, but here you’ll find fresh seafood – a good meal before the trip if needed.

Even if you are not into seafood, the AC in the market is great for escaping the summer heat.

Boat Ride to Zamami Island

Once you are on the boat you can sit back for the 1-2 hour ride. The Queen Zamami has free Wifi, AC, outlets, a large TV screen in front, and a vending machine.

I wasn’t expecting the boat to go so fast, but it ZOOMS. Prepare yourself for a bouncy ride and water spraying on the windows. It’s a bit like a rollercoaster.

When riding the Queen Zamami, there is a stop at Aka Port before reaching Zamami.

The blueness of the water is breathtaking!

What to Do on Zamami Island

Now that you’ve made it, what should you do on Zamami Island? Here are over 10 top things to do on Zamami to make the most of your trip!

Fun Fact: There is only one stoplight intersection on the island. Don’t be surprised if locals use this as a point of reference when giving directions!

Sunset Snorkeling and Boat Cruise

Zamami’s crystal blue waters, warm temperatures, and abundance of sea life make for the perfect snorkeling environment. I went on a trip with Full Sail Zamami and LOVED it.

It was my first time snorkeling right before sunset, but it was so peaceful and there were so many fish and turtles to see. We went to two different spots and I couldn’t believe how beautiful life was below the surface.

There was so much coral, and we even got to see turtles chomping on their evening meal.

Sitting on the boat and seeing the sunset afterward was the icing on the cake. A must-do experience for those wanting to see the sealife Zamami has to offer!

Dive into the Sea with Blue Marine

If you want to go deeper into the ocean and snorkeling just doesn’t cut it, try a diving experience instead! Although I didn’t go diving myself, my friend who lived in Zamami for four years was a diving instructor for this company and her stories (and photos) are fantastic.

Check out Blue Marine for diving tours around Zamami! (You can also book your accommodations through Blue Marine too).

Bike Around the Island

If biking is your thing, you’re in luck! While hilly around some parts, Zamami Island is small enough so adventurous visitors can enjoy exploring the island by bike. You can rent a pair of wheels near the port at Rental Miyamura or Rental Charinko Bike Ishikawa.

Cool off with Blue Seal Ice Cream

While visiting Okinawa, trying a scoop (a day) of Blue Seal ice cream is a must!

There are many flavors to choose from with one of my favorites being shiquasa. (A zangy citrus that is so refreshing!) Another good flavor is Okinawan Salt Cookie shown here. You can find Blue Seal at various places around the island including at Parlor Magi (パーラー・マギイ) and at the Furuzamami Beach rental store.

Slurp Down Chewy Seaweed Noodles

Japan is famous for noodles such as ramen and udon, but in Okinawa, you can get a very special type of dish called mozuku soba. For this dish, mozuku seaweed is incorporated into the noodles making them extra chewy.

On a hot day, chilled mozuku soba is the best! (The texture might not fit all palates, but it is a unique island dish to try.)

A popular place to taste these seaweed noodles is Wayama Mozuku. Come early as they can run out of noodles! (I know from experience) ????.

Not only does Wayama Mozuku serve noodles in their restaurant, but they also run snorkel and boat tours. Learn more about these activities here.

Bask on a Two- Star Michelin Beach

Guests who are looking for a top-notch beach experience should make their way to Furuzamami Beach on the eastern side of the island. This beach was awarded two stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan for good reason.

The beach is quite large and the waters sparkle beautiful blue. The only downside I found was that instead of soft beach sand, the ground is made up of coral which is a little rougher on the feet.

You can walk to the beach from the middle of town, but it is a bit far and requires some uphill trekking. Unless you are looking for exercise, I would recommend taking the bus which will get you there much quicker and with much less effort for 300 yen.

You can bring snacks to the beach if you prepare beforehand, or you can stop by the nearby Marine Store for food and ice cream.

The day I visited was beautiful and sunny, it was hard to believe how clear the water was and the vibrancy of its blueness. Swimming in the sea, I saw many fish hanging out in the coral. (This is a better beach for seeing fish than Ama Beach listed below).

You can stay by the main area or walk further down the beach to the right for a more peaceful and isolated space.

There is no natural shade on the beach butparasols and seats are available for rent if you don’t pack your own.

Other rentals include huge inflatables, floaty tubes, and snorkels. Make yourself at home, slap on the sunscreen, and enjoy a day at Furuzamami Beach!

Note: There are no real convenis on the island. If you want quick snacks or food, you can stop by 105 Grocery Store. Here they sell bentos, rice balls, drinks, snacks, and most daily necessities.

Swim with Sea Turtles at Ama Beach

Ama Beach is located on the south side of the island and is just a 20-minute walk from Zamami Port. You can rent a bicycle to get there faster or enjoy a nice walk along the sea.

While this beach is not as large or sprawling as Furuzamami Beach, it offers a better chance for seeing sea turtles and has much fewer people.

Halfway from Zamami Port to Ama Beach you can also see the island’s famous dog statue.

The Statue of Marilyn is of Marilyn the dog and was created in honor of a story about Marilyn and another dog name Shiro. It is said that Marilyn and Shiro both lived on Zamami and often played together. However, one day Shiro’s owner moved to neighboring Aka Island, taking Shiro with him thus separating the two dogs.

After noticing that Shiro would go missing during the day, the owner found out that his dog would leave home and swim about 3 km back to Zamami where Marilyn waited. Together the dogs would play before Shiro returned back to Aka. This story of friendship and loyalty prompted the building of statues of both dogs. The statue of Shiro can be found on Aka Island, facing toward the Statue of Marilyn.

Take in the Sea View from Up High

For a great view of the water and island below, head to Kami-no-hama Observation Deck. You can reach here by walking uphill about 20 minutes from Ama Beach.

There is a beautiful terrace space you can watch the sunset from, but be aware that the sun beats down quite harshly here.

For those who want another view, there is another observation deck 6 minutes walk further up the hill called Unaji-no-sachi observation deck.

Watch the Sunset by the Water

Another great place to watch the sunset is right by the water near the Marilyn Dog Statue. Here you have a great view of the sun before it dips behind the mountain and rocks.

Sunset Stand-up Paddle Board

When I was watching the sunset, I noticed a lot of stand-up paddle boarders. What a fun idea! While I didn’t get to try this activity myself, it looked like another great sunset activity by the water. The people I saw were part of a tour organized by GOODDAYS STANDUP who offers offers sunset SUP and other experiences.

Relax with a Drink at the Sandbar

The Sandbar is a stylish bar in the middle of town with welcoming, friendly staff. A long bartending space and counter seats occupy the middle, while small tables are situated by the window.

Unwind from the day with refreshing drinks like their yummy Shiquasa Daquai or Yuzu Paloma.

Try Bitter Melon and Other Okinawan Specialities

Due to Okinawa’s climate and history of interacting with many different cultures, unique island fare has developed.

One such food is called goya or bitter melon. This bumpy green gourd is long and resembles a cucumber. Don’t be fooled, though, one bite and you’ll understand why it is called bitter melon.

The most popular dish that uses goya is called champuru and consists of tofu, egg, and pork all stir-fried together with the bitter vegetable. While the taste might not be for everyone, it is a local specialty that should be tried at least once.

Head to Marumiya to taste fresh goya champuru as well as other dishes such as jimami tofu agedashi (a smooth peanut-tasting tofu), and rafute, an Okinawa braised pork dish topped with sweet sauce.

At Marumiya, you’ll find English menus so even those who don’t know Japanese can still try many items.

Another tasty Okinawan dish is tofuyou which I tried at the Little Kitchen. This appetizer came served as a small reddish cube and I was told to eat it using a toothpick.

The insides were soft and creamy and it had a nice smoky flavor. It was hard to believe it was tofu, but I liked it!

Sip Indigenous Okinawan Awamori

If you’re into trying different spirits, then you have to try Awamori when in Okinawa. This is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is made from long-grain Indica rice.

It is quite strong, but the most popular way to drink Awamori is by diluting it with water and ice. You’ll find Awamori at most restaurants. I enjoyed a glass each at the Little Kitchen and Marumiya listed above.

Hotels and Lodging on Zamami Island

If you are coming to Zamami in the summer (peak season), you will need to plan your accommodations in advance if you want a convenient place near the port.

During my trip to Zamami, I stayed two nights at Pension Takatsuki. This place is both a dive shop that offers different water activities like whale watching, diving, and snorkeling, as well as an accommodation facility.

It is located close to the port and by most of the restaurants and bars so it is a super convenient place to stay! I booked online using their stay reservation form.

The staff at Pension Takatsuki welcomed me after I got off the boat and drove me a couple of minutes to the hotel. After checking in, I got a map of the island and some recommendations.

The room was simple but had all I needed.

A large Japanse-style breakfast was included in the morning so it was easy to fill up before the day of activities.

For other hotels, you can check availability on Booking.com and Agoda.

Final Thoughts

After a blissful three days on Zamami, I was sad to be leaving such a beautiful place. After being able to relax so leisurely and have such fun on the walks and snorkeling trip, it was hard to think about returning to “normal life”.

That being said, I eagerly look forward to my next visit!

Want to know what else to do in Okinawa? Check out the video below!

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