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10 Fun Things to Do in the Miyako Islands - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips for Miyakojima

10 Fun Things to Do in the Miyako Islands - Places to Go, Local Food & Sightseeing Tips for Miyakojima

Last updated: 16 May 2023

Discover the hidden gem of the Miyako Islands, located in the beautiful region of Okinawa. With its pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and delicious local cuisine, the Miyako Islands offer a plethora of exciting experiences for travelers seeking a unique tropical getaway.

Here, we'll explore the top 10 fun-filled activities, must-visit places, mouthwatering local dishes, and invaluable sightseeing tips to help you make the most of your unforgettable adventure in the Miyako Islands.

About Miyakojima

Miyakojima, also known as Miyako Island, is a captivating destination nestled within the breathtaking Miyako Islands archipelago in Okinawa, Japan. Renowned for its pristine white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and abundant marine life, Miyakojima attracts nature enthusiasts, beach lovers, and adventure seekers alike.

The island's natural beauty extends beyond its beaches, encompassing lush greenery, stunning coral reefs, and captivating underwater landscapes. Miyakojima is a paradise for snorkelers and divers, offering a vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful coral formations and diverse marine species.

Beyond its natural wonders, Miyakojima embraces a rich cultural heritage, evident in its traditional Ryukyuan architecture, distinctive local festivals, and warm hospitality. Exploring the island allows visitors to immerse themselves in the unique blend of traditions, history, and customs that define Miyakojima's cultural fabric.

In addition to its natural and cultural attractions, Miyakojima offers a range of exciting activities and experiences. From thrilling water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet-skiing, to serene nature hikes and scenic cycling routes, there is something to suit every adventurer's preference.

Moreover, Miyakojima boasts a delectable culinary scene, showcasing Okinawan specialties and fresh seafood. Indulge in local delicacies like Ishigaki beef, goya champuru (stir-fried bitter melon), and Okinawan soba, complemented by the island's tropical fruits and refreshing awamori, a unique Okinawan distilled spirit.

Whether you're seeking relaxation on picturesque beaches, immersing in cultural treasures, exploring underwater wonders, or savoring mouthwatering cuisine, Miyakojima offers an unforgettable vacation experience for travelers of all interests and ages.

1. Enjoy tranquility at Kayaffa Beach, Shimoji Island

1. Enjoy tranquility at Kayaffa Beach, Shimoji Island

Nestled on Shimoji Island, Kayaffa Beach, also known locally as Kayaffa Beach, is a hidden gem awaiting exploration. This natural beach offers a serene and unspoiled environment, embraced by a sprawling reef that acts as a protective barrier against large waves, creating a calm bay for visitors to enjoy.

One of the highlights of Kayaffa Beach is its remarkably tranquil and crystal-clear waters. The pristine conditions make it an ideal location for observing the vibrant coral formations and a diverse array of tropical fish that call the area home. Snorkeling enthusiasts will be delighted by the opportunity to immerse themselves in the underwater wonders that abound.

It's important to note that Kayaffa Beach does not have lifeguard supervision. As such, visitors are responsible for their own safety while enjoying the beach. It is recommended to exercise caution and be mindful of the surroundings to ensure a pleasant and secure experience.

Whether you're seeking a peaceful escape or a chance to witness the captivating marine life beneath the surface, Kayaffa Beach on Shimoji Island promises an unforgettable adventure filled with natural beauty and tranquility.

  • Nakanoshima Beach
    カヤッファ(中の島ビーチ)
    • Address Irabu, Miyakojima City, Okinawa Prefecture, 906-0504

2. Uncover the enchanting Toriike Ponds: A hidden aquatic wonder

2. Uncover the enchanting Toriike Ponds: A hidden aquatic wonder

Nestled within the captivating landscapes of Shimoji Island, the Toriike Ponds present a mesmerizing natural wonder waiting to be explored. These two interconnected ponds, linked underwater, offer a unique and enchanting experience for visitors.

One of the remarkable features of the Toriike Ponds is the presence of an underwater tunnel connecting one of the ponds to the ocean. This underwater passage serves as an enticing challenge for experienced divers who can venture through its depths, unveiling a captivating world beneath the surface.

The Toriike Ponds are renowned for their distinct water characteristics, with notable variations in depth, salt concentration, and temperature. These factors contribute to an incredibly diverse ecosystem, fostering a rich array of marine life within the ponds. From vibrant fish species to intriguing aquatic creatures, the biodiversity within the ponds is a sight to behold.

Beyond their natural allure, the Toriike Ponds hold a sense of mystique that has woven itself into local legends. The enigmatic appearance of these ponds has inspired captivating tales and folklore, adding an extra layer of fascination to their already compelling presence. As a result, the ponds have become a popular destination for sightseers and curious explorers seeking to immerse themselves in the allure of Shimoji Island.

  • Toriike Ponds
    通り池
    • Address Sawada Irabu, Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0507

3. Bask in paradise at Yonaha Maehama Beach

3. Bask in paradise at Yonaha Maehama Beach

Prepare to be mesmerized by the sheer beauty of Yonaha Maehama Beach, a true gem nestled on Miyako Island. With its pristine white sands and breathtaking turquoise waters extending towards the distant Kurima Island, this beach is a testament to natural splendor and has rightfully earned the reputation as the most beautiful beach in the Far East.

Stretching over a considerable distance, Yonaha Maehama Beach is not only renowned for its picturesque scenery but also for being one of the longest beaches on Miyako Island. It offers an array of thrilling marine sports and exciting activities to cater to every adventure seeker's desires. From the exhilaration of riding jet skis and banana boats to the awe-inspiring experience of parasailing, there's no shortage of opportunities to embrace the beach's vibrant energy.

However, Yonaha Maehama Beach isn't just about adrenaline-pumping activities. It also provides a tranquil atmosphere for those seeking relaxation and a chance to unwind amidst idyllic surroundings. Whether you choose to lounge on the soft sands, soak up the sun, or take leisurely strolls along the shoreline, Yonaha Maehama Beach offers the perfect setting to rejuvenate your mind and soul.

No matter your preference—whether it's thrilling water sports or tranquil moments of serenity—Yonaha Maehama Beach guarantees an unforgettable experience. Indulge in the sheer beauty of this paradise on Miyako Island, and let its captivating charm wash over you, leaving behind memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Yonaha Maehama Beach
    与那覇前浜
    • Address 1199 Shimoji Yonaha, Miyakojima City, Okinawa 906-0000

4. Embark on a scenic drive across the magnificent Irabu Bridge

4. Embark on a scenic drive across the magnificent Irabu Bridge

Enjoy a delightful journey as you traverse the Irabu Bridge, holding the esteemed title of being the longest toll-free bridge in all of Japan. Connecting Miyako and Irabu Islands, this architectural marvel not only serves as a convenient passage but also offers an awe-inspiring experience that should not be missed.

As you embark on this scenic drive, you'll be treated to an ever-changing spectacle of panoramic views. The beauty of the surroundings unfolds before your eyes, transforming with the ebb and flow of the tide and the gentle dance of sunlight. Each moment presents a new perspective, painting a breathtaking tableau that showcases the inherent charm of the region.

The drive across the Irabu Bridge is a feast for the senses, immersing you in the natural wonders that surround the islands. As you traverse this architectural marvel, take the time to appreciate the vastness of the ocean, the mesmerizing hues of the sky, and the rugged coastal landscapes that stretch into the horizon. The harmonious convergence of nature and engineering creates a truly unforgettable experience.

  • Irabu Ohashi Bridge
    伊良部大橋
    • Address Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0000

5. Explore the breathtaking East Henna Cape

5. Explore the breathtaking East Henna Cape

The mesmerizing East Henna Cape is a slender and windswept promontory extending two kilometers into the Pacific Ocean, with the majestic East China Sea to the north and the tranquil Philippine Sea to the south. This natural wonder invites you to immerse yourself in its awe-inspiring landscapes and indulge in captivating ocean views.

As you traverse along the cape, prepare to be enchanted by the sheer beauty that surrounds you. The vistas offered by the coastline are nothing short of remarkable, displaying the vast expanse of the ocean in all its glory. However, to witness the most breathtaking panorama, make sure to visit the lighthouse located at the cape's end. From this vantage point, you'll be treated to an unparalleled view that will leave an indelible impression on your senses.

Timing your visit during spring brings an extra dimension of beauty to the East Henna Cape. The arrival of Easter lilies adds a delightful touch to the already captivating scenery, enhancing the allure of this picturesque destination. The vibrant colors and delicate fragrance of these flowers create a harmonious blend with the coastal landscape, further accentuating the cape's natural splendor.

  • East Henna Cape
    東平安名崎
    • Address Bora-1221-14 Gusukube, Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0000

6. Explore Irabu Island (Toguchi no Hama Beach, Sawada no Hama Beach)

6. Explore Irabu Island (Toguchi no Hama Beach, Sawada no Hama Beach)

Irabu Island, the second-largest island in the Miyako Islands, beckons with its thriving fishing port and picturesque sandy beaches. This charming island is connected to Miyako-jima by the elegant and expansive Irabu Ohashi Bridge, an engineering marvel that seamlessly unites the two islands.

Strolling through the fishing port area, you'll be captivated by the vibrant ambiance that permeates the surroundings. The colorful houses lining the port lend a touch of foreign charm, creating a unique atmosphere that sets Irabu Island apart. As you explore, immerse yourself in the rich fishing traditions that have shaped the island's identity for generations.

Irabu Island boasts a selection of stunning beaches that epitomize tropical paradise. Among the top choices is Toguchi no Hama, featuring a remarkable stretch of 800 meters of pristine white sand. This beach offers an idyllic setting for sunbathing, leisurely walks along the shoreline, and immersing yourself in the soothing sounds of the ocean.

Another notable beach on Irabu Island is Sawada no Hama, recognized as one of Japan's Top 100 Beaches. This beach's inclusion on this prestigious list is a testament to its exceptional beauty and allure. Here, you can revel in the tranquility of the surroundings, unwind on the soft sands, and soak up the natural splendor that abounds.

Indulge in the treasures of Irabu Island, where fishing traditions mingle with stunning coastal landscapes and pristine beaches. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the fishing port, unwind on the shores of Toguchi no Hama, and experience the renowned beauty of Sawada no Hama. Irabu Island promises a captivating journey filled with cultural insights and moments of pure relaxation in an unspoiled paradise.

  • Toguchi no Hama Beach
    渡口の浜
    • Address Irabu, Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0000
  • Sawada no Hama
    佐和田の浜
    • Address Sawada-1725 Irabu, Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0000

7. Miyako-jima Beach Season Opening Festival (Early April)

7. Miyako-jima Beach Season Opening Festival (Early April)

Marking the joyous arrival of the summer season, the Miyako-jima Beach Season Opening Festival is a lively celebration that sets the stage for unforgettable beach experiences. This vibrant event features an array of music performances, spirited dancing, and a myriad of fun-filled activities for all to enjoy.

Taking place on the first Sunday of April each year, the festival unfolds at the renowned Yonaha Maehama Beach. This popular beach is widely recognized for its exceptionally clear waters, even surpassing the clarity found at other beaches in Okinawa Prefecture. It serves as the perfect backdrop for the festivities, adding an extra touch of natural beauty to the vibrant atmosphere.

Both locals and visitors eagerly flock to the festival, drawn by the enticing blend of food, fun, and the welcoming beach ambiance. Indulge in a delectable array of culinary delights, savoring the flavors of local delicacies and refreshing treats. Immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere as you partake in exciting beach games, engage in lively dancing, and revel in the shared spirit of celebration.

The Miyako-jima Beach Season Opening Festival serves as a joyous occasion to embrace the summer season and the enchantment of Miyako Island. Come together with fellow festival-goers, create lasting memories, and immerse yourself in the friendly beach atmosphere that defines this fun event.

8. Dive into an underwater paradise: Miyako-jima Diving

8. Dive into an underwater paradise: Miyako-jima Diving

The Miyako Islands are a haven for diving enthusiasts, offering a plethora of exceptional dive spots catering to divers of all skill levels. From exhilarating sites that challenge even the most advanced divers to accessible locations suitable for beginners, the underwater wonders of Miyako Islands promise unforgettable experiences for all.

One of the sought-after dive locations is the Yabiji coral reef area, renowned for its captivating beauty and diverse marine life. This underwater realm presents a mesmerizing tapestry of colorful corals and an array of fascinating marine species. Experienced divers will revel in the opportunity to explore the depths and discover the secrets that lie beneath the surface.

Surrounding Shimoji and Irabu Islands, you'll find a treasure trove of reefs that are sure to leave a lasting impression. These locations boast thriving ecosystems and offer a chance to encounter a wide variety of marine creatures. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned diver, there are options to suit your comfort level and allow you to witness the vibrant marine life that inhabits these pristine waters.

In addition to diving, many tour operators provide opportunities for snorkeling and other marine activities. Whether you prefer to explore the surface waters or venture into the depths, these operators cater to diverse interests, ensuring that everyone can partake in the beauty of the Miyako Islands' marine environment.

9. Indulge in culinary delight: Miyako Beef

9. Indulge in culinary delight: Miyako Beef

Prepare your taste buds for a remarkable culinary experience with Miyako Beef, an esteemed variety of Japanese wagyu beef renowned for its exceptional quality. This gourmet delicacy has garnered a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest examples of wagyu beef available.

The secret behind the exquisite taste and texture of Miyako Beef lies in the meticulous rearing process. The cows responsible for this delectable meat are raised on picturesque island pastures, surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of Miyako.

When visiting the Miyako Islands, indulging in a Miyako Beef dining experience is a must for any food enthusiast. Sample the succulent cuts of beef prepared to perfection, savoring the unique flavors that have earned this meat its esteemed reputation. Whether enjoyed in a traditional steakhouse or through a culinary creation at a local restaurant, Miyako Beef promises an unforgettable gastronomic journey.

10. Discover tranquility on the picturesque Kurima Island (Nagamahama Beach Coast)

10. Discover tranquility on the picturesque Kurima Island (Nagamahama Beach Coast)

Located southwest of the Miyako mainland and just across the serene Yonaha Maehama Beach, lies the charming Kurimajima Island, easily accessible via the Kurima Bridge. This small island, predominantly dedicated to agriculture, offers visitors a delightful escape with its breathtaking ocean views and unique attractions.

One of the highlights of Kurimajima is the Ryugujo Observatory, a three-story building designed to resemble the fabled undersea palace of Ryugujo from Japanese folklore. From this observatory, visitors are treated to awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding ocean, creating a sense of tranquility and connection with nature.

Nagamahama Beach, situated on the northwest coast of the island, is a true gem waiting to be explored. Its powdery white sand invites you to sink your feet into its softness, providing a pure sensory delight. This beach offers a natural setting devoid of facilities, allowing travelers to fully immerse themselves in the peaceful atmosphere and witness breathtaking sunsets in their unadulterated beauty.

Kurimajima's simplicity and natural charm make it an ideal destination for those seeking serenity and a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Immerse yourself in the gorgeous ocean views, explore the mythical world of Ryugujo, and embrace the tranquility of Nagamahama Beach. Kurimajima promises a blissful escape where you can unwind, connect with nature, and create cherished memories in a pristine and untouched setting.

  • Nagamahama Beach
    長間浜
    • Address 484-1, Aza Raima, Shimoji, Miyakojima City, Okinawa 906-0306

Recommended hotels on Miyakojima Island

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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