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Michelin stars shine on Ishigaki Island

Date Posted: 2009-02-05

The world will learn much more about Okinawa next month as Michelin publishes its new restaurant guide lauding Ishigaki Island and Kabira Bay.

The French tire company is awarding Kabira By three stars in its new guide to be released March 16th, while Ishigaki Island itself has been recognized with two stars, firsts for the southern island. A Japan government tourism spokesman says “staff from Michelin visited Okinawa in 2008, and was impressed with the beauty of Ishigaki Island and Kabira Bay. The 12-member team spent a year travelling around Japan, visiting and researching 200 famous sightseeing spots.

Michelin looks at first impressions of tourists, how famous the spots are, special memorial buildings and cultural assets, World Heritage evaluation and a set of five basic research checkpoints. Okinawa was first introduced by Michelin in its 2007 guide, but teams did not visit spots other than Ishigaki. This time, the team travelled around the entire prefecture, elling in detail how great Okinawa is.

The book includes a map of Ishigaki Island and chronicles its hotels and restaurants. It goes on sale next month in French, in European countries. More than 147,600 French travelers, says the Japan National Tourism Office, visited Japan in 2008, a 7% increase over 2007. The book will be published in English in September.

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