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Sunayama Beach on Miyako Island

The Miyako Islands (宮古列島 Miyako-rettō) are in Okinawa prefecture, Japan.


Map of Miyako Islands

The eight islands of Miyako can be divided into two groups. Miyakojima City covers six of them:

  • 1 Miyako - by far the largest of the three main islands that make up the group, linked by bridges to the small islands of Kurima and Ikema. Tiny Ogami, not graced with a bridge yet, is covered here as well.
  • 2 Irabu - Miyako's other island, linked by a large bridge. Adjacent Shimoji with its airport is covered here as well.

The other two form Tarama Village and are separated by a two-hour boat ride or short flight:

  • 3 Tarama - flat as a pancake, known for its August festival, with the island of Minna a short hop away


Miyako, while being a high traffic tourist destination for Japanese tourists, is farther off the radar from the international traveler. It has good diving and excellent beaches, local Okinawan cuisine, and culture. These islands have truly embraced the Okinawan slow, relaxed lifestyle. In Miyako you can do everything from lounge on Maehama beach, play beach volleyball, play golf, make your own shisa, listen to the sanshin, or, if you're feeling very competitive, participate in the local Strongman Triathlon, held every April.


While most of the people in Miyako are friendly, Japanese is the main language, followed by the local Miyako language and its local dialects of each individual town as well as island. While finding English speakers is possible, consider it rare.

Get in[edit]

Most visitors arrive at Miyako Airport (MMY IATA) in Hirara, Miyako. JAL, ANA and RAC have frequent services to Naha and daily services to major mainland cities including Tokyo and Osaka.

In 2019, Shimojishima Airport (SHI  IATA) opened on the island of Shimoji, linked to Miyako and Irabu by a series of bridges. This is the main low-cost carrier airport in the islands, with services to major Japanese cities on Skymark and Jetstar as well as flights from Seoul, Korea on Jin Air, the islands' only direct international connection.

Scheduled ferry service to the rest of Okinawa was discontinued in 2008.

Get around[edit]

The main island of Miyako, Miyako, is only about 81 square miles, but even so it's fairly sizable considering the main attractions for the island are on its outer edges. Car, motorbikes, and bicycle rentals are available, as well as a periodic bus and numerous taxis. Bridges connect Miyako to both Irabu and Kurema Islands, and a ferry travels to Irabu almost every half hour.

The far-flung island of Tarama can be reached from Miyako by both plane (20 min) and ferry (2 hours).



Maehama beach on the south west corner of the island is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Japan. White sandy beaches, warm, aqua blue, calm water, and an excellent view of Kurema Island are only a few reasons this is one of the top spots to get some sun. Beach volleyball is an excellent way to spend some time at this excellent, flat, beach.



Stay safe[edit]

While theft does occasionally occur, it is not uncommon to see a business man sleeping on the side of Nishizato Street, his head on his wallet. So long as travelers aren't foolish, there shouldn't be any problems here. Travelers are more at risk in their rental cars, as people pull out into traffic with little warning, than anything else on the islands.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Miyako Islands is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!