Miyakojima – 宮古島
If we talk about the sea in Southern Japan, Okinawa comes to our minds, but there are other fascinating islands besides the main one:
that’s why this time we are going to introduce Miyako-jima, close to Yonaguni Island (the southernmost territory of Japan)!
What’s special about Miyako-jima?
Miyako-jima is located about 290 km south from Okinawa main island.
Among its neighbors we can find Ikema, Oogami, Shimoji and Kurima islands.
The latter one and Ikema Island are connected to Miyako-jima by a bridge.
Miyako-jima has a tropical climate, it is therefore possible to enjoy the sea charm from February to November (beware of typhoons during the rainy season).
In Miyako-jima some of the beautiful beaches of Ryūkyū Islands are located.
Yonaha-mae Beach is probably the most popular one in the Island.
You can relax and have fun strolling on the white sand and do some snorkeling.
This has been chosen as number one on Tripadvisor’s “Top 20 beaches of Japan” for two consecutive years, 2010 and 2011.
Sunayama Beach is a gorgeous place too: located on the western coast of Miyako-jima, its name is thought to come from the white sand laying on the shore.
Here you can see a natural stone arch.
Painagama Beach is the easiest to reach bathing spot from Miyako City.
There are several lodging structures and restaurants a few steps from Hirara town central area, so it’s a place where tourist and locals come to take a break.
The name “Painagama” doesn’t sound Japanese, it is Miyako-jima dialect indeed:
it is thought that “pai” indicates “south” while “nagama” comes from “naga”, “long”, and “ma” (hama) means “beach”.
Very close to the Yoshino Coast, in the Southern part of the Island, there is a coral reef, therefore you can enjoy snorkeling here.
By swimming only 5 meters from the coast you can already see coral!
Many tropical fishes swim in the water, like Chaetodon Auripes, Chromis Notata, and Zanculus Cornutus.
Not far from here there is a place called “Agari-Hennazaki” if you read in Okinawan, or “Agari-Byaunazaki” according to Miyako-jima dialect.
You can learn much from the top of the light house with a panoramic view of 320 degrees around the island and the sea.
Thanks to this view this spot is famous to behold the rising sun and it’s on the “best 100 city parks of Japan” list.
How to reach the island
For more information about the access to Miyako-jima, click here!
I arrived in Miyako-jima on a mid-September day, when the weather was incredibly nice, coming from my trip in Okinawa main island.
I got here of course by plane: during the landing I remember I got excited when I saw the transparent sea and the coral reef from the windowpane.
At Miyako Airport I took a taxi to the city: I rented a bike in a shop and headed to the lodge I had reserved in advance (actually I was supposed to reach the island two days before, but I couldn’t as air was suspended due to the typhoon). I left there my luggage and went straight to the first beach!
There is not much uphill and downhill in Miyako-jima so I could ride with no struggle:
I noticed that the atmosphere was changed from mainland Japan, where I was used to see rice fields all around, while here canes were scattered here and there.
Also, while I was cycling, along the paths close to the sea some spectacular landscapes were showing.
The first beach where I arrived was Yonoha-mae Beach: the sky was a bit cloudy, but then it got totally blue: that sky and the sun watching the beach created a wonderful scene!
I took some rest on the beach and then started strolling on the foreshore.
Right in front of Yonoha-mae the big bridge connecting Miyako-jima and Kuri-jima sets its basis.
After this day spent on the beach I cycled on the bridge.
On the second day I woke up early and headed to Sunayama Beach, in the Northern part of the island.
To get there is a path through the plants. I stepped on the soft sand and finally reached the beach, where a breathtaking landscaped showed!
The blue of the sky and the sea, the golden beach and the vegetation green game me the feeling of being in a postcard.
On the left there was the stone arch and, looking at the see through it I felt like being in paradise.
Unfortunately, due to a typhoon the sea was still rough and I couldn’t swim.
As last, I went on a walk in the city’s heart, in the area called Hirara: there were many houses painted white, and a shop with an old fashioned sign took my attention:
I had a delicious Okinawa-soba there, which is a famous product in Okinawa.
Miyako-jima is one of the gorgeous Islands of Okinawa Prefecture:
there is not only a wonderful sea here, but also an idyllic countryside where you can find some peace and a full environment to enjoy.
Visit this island and enjoy it fully!