We had half a day to spend in Ishigaki before catching our plane to Tokyo. We probably could have taken the bus out of town to visit some of the other amazing beach locations, but we didn’t want to risk anything going wrong and getting stranded! So instead we spent the day shopping for souvenirs and generally taking it easy.
For lunch we decided it was time that we try some of the authentic Ishigaki beef the the island is famous for. The catch? It’s bloody expensive!!
But there’s a good reason why it’s so expensive, the marbling of fat through this wagyu (‘wa’ = from Japan, ‘gyu’ = beef) is sensational and gives the meat such a tenderness that it just melts in the mouth. I’d never tried anything like it either at home or in Argentina. You have to make sure you get the official Ishigaki beef though (look for the logo), as they also import quite a bit from NZ and Australia.
The Japanese also eat their beef quite differently to most other countries. Instead of serving up a 300g (or more) slab of beef on your plate, cooked to your liking by the chef, in Japan you are served raw slices of 180g of beef about 1cm thick which you cook yourself on your own grill at your table (not very child friendly!). The meal we ordered also came with some side dishes and an assortment of vegetables that you also cook on the grill. Of course we had a couple of local beers to go with it as well!
So how much did this set us back..??
Well, if it was dinner time it would have been around AU$300 all up!!!
Instead, as it was lunch time we got it cheaper…but just a little bit. I think it ended up costing around AU$110.
Was it worth it? Definitely, if only for the experience of tasting one of the premium foods of Japan.
Would we do it again? To be honest, probably not. I much rather the Aussie way where you can order a thick steak that you can get cooked rare or medium rare.
After lunch we we picked up a couple of awesome gelatos from the Ishigaki gelato company, and caught the bus over to Maezato beach out the front of the ANA Intercontinental Hotel.
It was rubbish.
We then said goodbye to our little hotel that had served us so well, and caught the plane back to Tokyo via Okinawa (free business class upgrade thank you very much!!).