This stunning Japanese island you’ve probably never heard of is the top trending travel destination for 2018

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  • TripAdvisor has released its annual Travellers’ Choice awards for "Destinations on the Rise."
  • Japan’s Ishigaki was crowned the top trending destination in the world for 2018.
  • The sandy white island is popular among snorkellers and foodies.

Ishigaki, a stunning white island in Japan’s Okinawa archipelago, is the top trending travel destination for 2018 on TripAdvisor — but you’d be forgiven for never having heard of it.

The Japanese island has topped TripAdvisor’s "Destinations on the Rise" list, which, as part of its sixth annual Travellers’ Choice awards, used an algorithm that measured the year-on-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveller feadback around accommodation, restaurants, and attractions, as well as increased booking interest.

Ishigaki is the largest of the Yaeyama Islands in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture and is home to many sandy white beaches, rare coral, mountains, and mangrove forests. 

It’s a popular destination with snorkellers and foodies, and is known for its speciality Yaeyama soba noodles, which are made of flour instead of the more traditional buckwheat, according to TripAdvisor.

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The average price for a night’s stay in a hotel on the island is £114· One of TripAdvisor’s best-rated value hotels is the Art Hotel Ishigaki, which costs from £87 per night in June.

Okinawa has been tipped as the new Bali or Hawaii, and international tourism is growing fast. Bloomberg previously reported that the number of visitors to Okinawa rose 10.5% to 8.77 million in 2016, according to Okinawa prefecture data. This compares to the 8.93 million visitors that went to Hawaii that year, representing an increase of 2.9% comparatively.

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Here are the top 10 "Destinations on the Rise" in 2018, according to TripAdvisor:

1. Ishigaki, Japan.

2. Kapaa, Hawaii.

3. Nairobi, Kenya.

4. Halifax, Canada.

5. Gdańsk, Poland.

6. San Jose, Costa Rica.

7. Riga, Latvia.

8. Rovinj, Croatia.

9. Nerja, Spain.

10. Casablanca, Morocco.

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SEE ALSO: The 23 best cities to move to if you’re a broke millennial in search of an adventure in 2018

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from SAI