Escape to a peaceful island in the sun for golf, cycling and diving among coral reefs
Far from bustling shopping streets and neon nightlife, Miyako Island is a peaceful getaway where hitting the beach is the number one pastime.
Expect your visit to be full of sunbathing and staring wistfully out to sea as the strains of daily life ebb away. Explore on foot or by bike and find peace of mind on Miyako Island.
- Sparkling beaches and emerald sea
- The lighthouse at Higashi-Hennazaki
- The botanical garden, home to more than 1,600 types of plants and trees
How to Get There
The only way to get to Miyako Island is by plane.
For getting around the island, some hotels organize shuttle buses for their guests, but the local bus service is not easy to access. The best way to get around is by rented car or taxi. It's possible to drive around the whole island in an hour. You can also find bicycles and scooters for rent.
There are nine inhabited islands that make up the Miyako Islands
Miyako Island, the biggest, is almost as close to Taiwan as it is to Okinawa itself
White sand beaches and coral reefs
Miyako Island is the fourth largest of the Okinawan islands. Most of the island's population is to be found in the north coast town of Hirara.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs and an emerald sea. The southern coast is mainly made up of cliffs but you'll find many white sandy beaches to the north, east, and west.
There are three islands connected to Miyako Island by bridge, Irabu and Shimojiji to the west and Ikema to the north. Each boasts miles of white sandy beaches and clear blue water.
Exploring the interior of Miyako Island
The sun-drenched beaches are certainly the main attraction for visitors to Miyako Island, but if you take the time to explore, you'll find plenty more to spark your interest.
Higashi-Hennazaki is the most southeastern point of Miyako Island. At the tip of the two-kilometer-long peninsula stands a handsome white lighthouse. From here, you have a magnificent view of the emerald Pacific Ocean.
In the center of Hirara near the port, you'll find the Tuyumya Grave. This is the shrine of Nakasone Tuyumya, the ruler of Miyako in the 16th century.
A taxing monument
There is a tropical botanical garden in Hirara with more than 1,600 varieties of plants and trees. It's a great place to spend a relaxing hour and enjoy the refreshments on offer.
Also, look out for the Nintozei-ishi, the Tax Stone. It stands 1.4 meters tall and in ancient times it was used by the tax collector. If you were taller than the stone, you were old enough to pay tax.
Things to do on Miyako Island
In addition to the gorgeous beaches, there are many activities to enjoy. Snorkeling and diving in the coral reefs is extremely popular. In recent years, swimming with sea turtles while snorkeling has gained traction.
Activities you can enjoy here include golf, cycling and fishing. Fishing is particularly celebrated because of the variety and quantity of fish that you can catch.
The seafood of Miyako Island is extremely famous, including its sashimi. The island's tradition is to eat sashimi with hot "island pepper" in the soy sauce.