Shigira beach
Have you ever dreamed of a tropical paradise where you can forget your worries to the lullaby of the gentle surf as the stresses of daily life in the city melt away? Dream no more! A mere three-hour flight from Tokyo, the white sandy beaches and azure sparkling waters of Miyakojima await.

With a yearly average temperature of 23 degrees(about 73 degrees), balmy Miyakojima is recognized as one of Japan’s most idyllic tropical resort locales. But for those not familiar with Japan’s southern island chain beyond the main island of Okinawa, it is also one of the world’s best-kept beach resort secrets. Whether your pastime is swimming, diving, kayaking, sunbathing or simply collecting shells in the warm Pacific breeze, you’ll find much to enjoy on these nine Miyakojima beaches.



 
Souvenir shop
When travelers visit exotic locales, they are seldom content to leave without a physical token by which to remember their journeys. While some are content with generic fare, most people search for items that reflect the cultural and historical uniqueness of the places they visit. When considering what to buy in Okinawa, remember that the richness of this island chain extends beyond the main one. Miyakojima, for example, has a rich heritage and thriving local crafts scene that provides travelers with a wide variety of choices. Here are some suggestions for souvenirs available on Miyakojima.


 
Miyakojima

One of the great things about being on a subtropical island is that visitors get to enjoy nearly perfect weather year round. Whether you want to go golfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking or simply wish to relax, you will likely be comfortable whatever the season. With that said, it pays to keep in mind that with a blazing hot summer where temperatures soar to the mid 30s and a winter that settles as low as a fairly gentle 14 degrees, some events and attractions are distinctly seasonal. Keeping Miyakojima weather in mind as we go, we will highlight some of the many activities that can be enjoyed throughout each season on the island.



 
Hatsuhinode
New year in Okinawa and the surrounding islands is no less important than it is for mainland Japan. Stretching from December 28th to January 3rd, it is Japan’s longest holiday and is generally seen as a time to be spent with family. In that respect Okinawa is no different. What sets Okinawa apart from the mainland, besides its mild sub-tropical climate, are the unique trappings of Okinawan culture that find their way into the various celebrations. Let’s take a look at some of these Okinawa New Year traditions to find out what makes them so special.


 
Ishigakijima
When most people think of Okinawa, the main island (Okinawa Honto) is what comes to mind. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Okinawa is actually an extended archipelago, with numerous island gems glittering in the Pacific, each with their own local cultures, customs and even languages. Of the southern islands, the most widely known are the seven main islands of the Yaeyama group (and of course Miyakojima, which is part of its own group). The Yaeyama islands are all accessible either by ferry or airplane, each offering the visitor its own brand of sub-tropical charm.



 

7 Yaeyama Islands from Ishigakijima to Taketomijima

Photo by nachans on flickr

A land of wondrous natural scenery and impressive biological diversity, the sub-tropical islands of Okinawa are home to a dazzling array of rare and beautiful wildlife. Though world-renown for its bountiful coral reefs and abundant sea life, the natural diversity of Okinawa wildlife goes far beyond fish. In fact, the islands are teeming with wildlife just waiting to be discovered, as long as you know what to look for and where to look. If ever you do decide to make the journey, here are some of the unique and magnificent Okinawa animals you might find.




 

Okinawa Wildlife Beyond Fish: 6 Animals to Look For

Ryuso
When somebody says the words “Okinawan fashion,” most people automatically think about kariyushi, the colorful Hawaiian-like shirts worn as business casual in the sweltering months from May to October. However, while kariyushi wear is the most popular daily business attire for both men and women, it is not generally worn on ceremonial occasions such a school graduation or coming-of-age ceremonies. On such momentous days, Okinawans regale themselves in much more formal and traditional Okinawan clothing, kimono-style robes known around the world as Ryusou (“clothing of Ryukyu,” the original name of the Okinawan islands and the kingdom that ruled over them). Learn how they are different from traditional Japanese kimono, what kinds of designs and material you can expect to see, how to accessorize, and even where to try one on yourself!


 
Hikanzakura

While the springtime beauty of Japanese cherry blossom trees is already world-renowned, few people know that in Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, explosions of pink sakura can be seen as early as January. Even more special than the timing is the fast-blooming Okinawa cherry blossom that comes with it, a type that stands breathtakingly apart from its mainland cousins. Find out what makes Okinawa sakura so unique—and explore the rugged pleasures of cherry blossom season in the tropics of Japan.


 
Okinawa beach image
It would be wonderful if everyone could live right by the ocean, a few steps away from golden sands and resplendent turquoise waters--but alas, most of us live in places all too far from the sea. Perhaps that explains the popularity of beach movies, which offer an escape from reality, magically transporting us to places where we can just about smell the sea salt and feel the sand between our toes. If you find yourself stuck in the city or need a break from suburbia, why not take an instant holiday in the tropics with some of the best beach movies around—including two new animated ones for the kids.

 
Okinawa Golf Courses
Without a doubt, golf is a spectacularly popular pastime in Japan. With a greater number of golf courses than all other Asian countries combined, the land of the rising sun has become a favored destination for golfers in search of well-designed and beautifully kept facilities. What relatively few people know is that Japan’s southernmost prefecture is home to more than 30 golf courses, some of them truly world-class, and that long after a blanket of snow has settled over the mainland, golfers in Okinawa can enjoy leisurely days out on the fairway under the warm sub-tropical sun. If golf is your sport, be sure to check out these first-rate Okinawa golf courses.



 

6 Okinawa Golf Courses Offering Breathtaking Views and Challenging Holes

Best Okinawa Diving Spots
The breathtaking Japanese island chain of Okinawa is known as one of the greatest scuba diving destinations on earth. With underwater horizons featuring pristine coral reefs and countless other tropical wonders, the chain of islands stretching from Okinawa Honto to Yonagunijima boasts a tremendous diversity of dive sites suitable for divers of all levels of skill and experience. So throw on your scuba gear, jump in, and discover the best Okinawa diving spots for yourself.

 

Best Okinawa Diving from the Main Island to Miyakojima

Okinawa festivals
If there is one thing that characterizes Okinawan life more than any other, it is the many different festivals that take place annually throughout the islands. Featuring rousing music, sports competitions and ancient cultural rites ranging from opulent to mysterious and even strange, here are 5 important and fun Okinawa festivals that everyone traveling to the islands should mark on their calendars.



 
Okinawa Food
For many epicurean travelers, no excursion is complete without the chance to seek out and sample the local cuisine. In Okinawa this is not merely an option, it’s an absolute must! While there is an incredible assortment of traditional dishes, each with its own local flavor, there are a few staples of Okinawa food culture that simply should not be missed. Discover these 9 unforgettable favorites during your next island excursion.



 
Best Beaches in Okinawa
The islands of Okinawa offer a diverse variety of breathtaking beaches, each providing opportunities for leisure and relaxation that are second to none. Many sandy beaches with gentle slopes and shallow water are easily accessible to children and families, while other rougher, deep-water beaches are better suited for intrepid marine adventurers. Some beaches are available for both public and private use, and most are perfect for BBQ events and parties. Here are 5 of the best beaches in Okinawa, each with an enchanting promise for everyone.


 

5 Best Beaches in Okinawa

 

Renaissance Beach (Okinawa Main Island)

Ueno German Culture Village
 

Okinawa Theme Park Parade: 4 Great Spots in Miyakojima

When thinking about how to take advantage of Miyakojima’s stunning natural bounty, activities such as snorkeling, diving, watersports, and island tours immediately come to mind. While Miyakojima certainly offers these opportunities in abundance, some may want to break from traditional tourist options and take a more “local” approach, learning about the island’s deep cultural heritage, cuisine and crafts while thoroughly enjoying themselves. Okinawa theme park options are surprising, not least on Miyakojima—simply get off the beach, get out of the water, and head to one of the island’s 4 theme parks and cultural facilities for a change!

 
Miyakojima Restaurants and Bars
From tours on land and sea to water sports, golfing, diving and much more, the daytime leisure possibilities on the breathtaking island of Miyakojima are endless--less easy is discovering what to do when the sun goes down. To truly savor the tastes and nightlife of Miyakojima, having the most up-to-date Information about high-quality eateries and watering holes is a must. These 7 Miyakojima restaurants and bars, culled from the finest the island has to offer, will each give you a great reason to stay up for the sunset--and toast to the night.
 
Miyakojima Shigira Resort
Most everyone has probably heard of Okinawa, an idyllic island located southwest of the southernmost tip of Japan’s mainland. What most probably do not know is that Okinawa is actually made up of a chain of islands, each offering their own version of Shangri-La for anyone who might be searching for it. Here are three best Okinawa resort islands for your next getaway!
 
Resort Golf in Miyakojima, Okinawa
With its plethora of nature and marine activities, fabulous local delicacies and wonderful hospitality, the island of Miyakojima embodies the splendor of Okinawa. But while the taste of Miyako steak and the views from Cape Hennazaki are increasingly coveted by adventurers and leisure-seekers alike, Miyako golf is also a burgeoning pastime that is more than worth the price of plane and hotel fare to the island. From stunning scenery to tantalizing tastes and amenities, here are 7 reasons why Miyako golf is great.
 
Miyako Airport
If you are reading this article, you probably already know at least a little bit about Miyakojima, a heavenly tropical paradise that is part of Okinawa’s island chain; you may even be planning a visit! What you may not know is how easily accessible it actually is from Japan’s bustling Tokyo capitol, or how easy it is to get around once you arrive. From flying into Miyako Airport to shuttle, bus, bicycle and Miyakojima car rental services, we have the information to help you navigate smoothly during your trip.

 

Kurima Bridge
During your luxurious holiday on the Okinawan island of Miyakojima, you will surely want a snapshot (or one hundred!) for each of your happy memories. This heavenly setting will afford you many a stunning photographic opportunity, but if time is limited, you are going to want to know exactly where to go and when. Below we have chosen six sensational places, including Sunayama Beach, Maehama Beach and beyond, that are more than just favorites of Okinawa photography buffs; rather, they are wholly unique to Miyakojima itself.


 

#1: Imugya Marine Park (“Ingya”)

Standup Paddleboarding
While most people come to Miyakojima to relax, it would be a shame to spend an entire trip just sipping cocktails. Shimmering seas and precious coral reefs await you—what better way to explore them then by jumping headlong into some marine sports? From Miyakojima diving to paddleboarding and even a few more extreme options like jetboat rides, here are some of the best sports that the island has to offer.
 
Miyakojima fruits
Okinawa fruit is a natural gift to anyone who eats it, no more so than on the southern island of Miyakojima. It may surprise you to know that, when it comes to the thing most locals love about living there, the stunning ocean beauty actually comes second to the gorgeous fruit. While mangoes are most notable, even bananas can be grown on Miyakojima; in fact, the subtropical climate makes it ideal for the cultivation of a virtual cornucopia of fruits. We would like to introduce just a few of the abundant options available on the island, in hopes that you’ll one day decide to taste the bounty of Okinawa fruit for yourself.
 
Cloudy sky
The island of Miyakojima, lying southwest of Okinawa, Japan, is a hidden treasure that is being uncovered by more and more curious tourists and adventurers every year. All of the island’s nature-kissed ingredients—sub-tropical weather, lounging, swimming and diving, golf and exotic island getaways both on and offshore—usually combine to create the perfect vacation. That said, occasionally Mother Nature tries to bring the best-laid plans to ruin—usually in the form of a typhoon! In this article we will illuminate the mystery surrounding typhoon risk and show you that it’s mostly nothing more than a myth—regardless of what the Miyakojima weather forecast has in store, you can follow our simple tips below and have your day in paradise.
 
Miyakojima Awamori
Anyone who takes a trip to Miyakojima, an island in southern Okinawa, can’t help but remember the breathtaking sights and sounds, not to mention the wonderful food. But while pictures can fade and sounds can become faint echoes, we can bring the tastes of our travels with us wherever we go; we just need that one small reminder, the perfect ingredient, to bring our culinary journeys to life once again. 

Let us explore the plethora of flavorful Okinawa souvenirs available in Miyakojima, which is rich in the blessings of nature and sea, from delectable local snacks to special tropical fruits and heavenly libations that you simply can’t get outside of Okinawa.
 
Snorkeling
From tours featuring kayaking and snorkeling to island exploration or even leisurely cycling, our diverse island excursions and guided tours offer many ways to unlock the wonders of Miyakojima paradise. Our knowledgeable staff also instructs tour participants on equipment use and also offer various recommendations, ensuring that even those on their very first visit to Miyakojima will have a thoroughly enjoyable time.
 
Ryukyu no Kaze
Ryukyu no Kaze "Paikaji"(meaning "warm southerly winds" in the Okinawan dialect) located within the premises of Miyakojima Shigira Resort, is an open-air dining area with a distinctly Asian flavor. The high and elegant wooden ceilings will protect you from rain or sun while you savor a variety of Asian dishes, including the specialties of Miyakojima, in an open food-court style. Paikaji’s diverse menu, a highlight of the dining area, offers authentic dishes of Okinawa and Miyakojima such as Mozuku (seaweed vinegar), sea grapes, and Goya Chanpuru (Bitter Melon Stir Fry with Tofu and Egg). Ryukyu no Kaze “Paikaji” is a mecca of Miyakojima Cuisine and souvenirs that is sure to satisfy the senses.
 
Miyakojima Keats Mango
Even among the many famous Okinawa mango varieties produced in Miyakojima, the Keats mango stands out above all the rest not only for its size and sweet, succulent flavor, but also for just how rare it is. Due both to its short harvesting period and the limited quantity available, this variety of Japanese mango is highly coveted and considered something of a “phantom” for mango lovers. Let's take a look at the Keats mango and discover just what makes it special.
 
Miyakojima’s Okinawa Beef
While Japan is certainly famous for sushi and other seafood, many parts of the country feature a delicacy that was often overlooked until recently: Premium Japanese beef. With its rich flavor that seems to charm the tongue, it is often given as a high-end present. Brand beef, highly prized locally for many years, has recently begun gaining an international following.

The prominence of Japanese beef has its origins with cattle raised in Kobe and Matsuzaka. Starting with the Kobe, Matsuzaka, and Omi brands, which are referred to as the three big brands of Japanese beef, over 200 brands of beef have been developed within Japan so far. The production of Japanese beef continues today in regions all over the country, with each taking advantage of local characteristics. Distinct types of beef have been created even in places where most people would least expect it, even Japan’s southernmost islands!

For example, this kind of brand beef is also the main local specialty in Okinawa. Having attained popularity after the Okinawa Summit in 2000, Ishigaki beef is already famous—but Miyako beef, which is the pride of Miyakojima, is also becoming more and more popular especially among tourists, who appreciate this fine meat for its combination of high-grade protein and surprisingly light and subtle flavor.
 
Higashi Henna Zaki
The cape of Higashi Henna Zaki is a long, narrow protrusion extending from Miyakojima, where the waves crash dramatically against the steep, jagged limestone cliffs. The ocean sparkles blue in contrast with the lush greenery of the cape and the limestone. At the tip of the cape is a picturesque white lighthouse, perfect for viewing the coral-dotted ocean panorama below. Smelling the salt-tang of the sea’s breeze and hearing the ocean waves bat against the cliffs like so much natural music, we think you’ll agree that just walking the cape is a feast for the senses. With its secluded location, captivating ocean views, and striking solitary lighthouse, Miyakojima’s Higashi Henna Zaki is a place not only to be seen, but to be fully experienced in all its wonder.

 
Swim with Sea Turtles in Miyakojima
Have you ever wanted to swim alongside a gentle sea turtle in pristine waters? If so, you should try snorkeling or diving in Okinawa. There are seven species of sea turtles in the world; of these, three nest in Okinawa and two more pass through Okinawan waters during their migrations. Furthermore, the water visibility in Okinawa is excellent, and there are many easy entry points for beginning snorkelers. These features, combined with shallow, temperate waters, make Okinawa one of the best places in the world for a chance to swim with sea turtles.

 

“Miyakojima Paradise” Is more than Just a Phrase

Away from the hustle and bustle of major Okinawan cities, a visit to Miyakojima is a pleasant taste of paradise. A short hop away from the main Okinawa Island by plane, Miyakojima offers a relaxing escape amidst breathtaking scenery. Miyakojima’s pristine white beaches can be easily reached within 20 minutes of the airport, making it the clear choice for diving and snorkeling near Okinawa. Here are just a few things you can do to more fully enjoy your stay.
(Photo: Shigira beach)
 

When you think of a tropical island, it’s fair to say that steaming hot food isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. But on Miyakojima, one of the quintessential island dishes that simply cannot be missed when visiting is the freshly made, delectable Miyako Soba, or “Suba” as you are more likely to hear due to the island’s southern dialect.

There’s something quite remarkable about the taste of Miyako Soba even on a warm sunny day. Very similar to other island fare throughout the Pacific, locals swear that the added heat from the chili sauce helps keep the body cool in the summer. The simple, clean flavors are a genuine treat to the palate, and during your stay on Miyakojima, it may become an obsession to try as many bowls as you can, given the endless variations you will encounter as you crisscross your way through this wonderful little island.

 
Shigira beach
Have you ever dreamed of an idyllic paradise where your worries are forgotten with the lulling sound of crystal clear waters, and the stresses of the working day melt away as white sand trickles through your toes? What if you were to learn that such a heavenly paradise awaits with just a short plane ride away from Tokyo?