9 Breathtaking Miyakojima Beaches You Should Experience
2 March 2017
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.



 

Miyakojima Beaches from Shigira to Toguchinohama

Shigira Beach

With so many pristine Miyakojima beaches to choose from, you may be asking yourself where to begin--the answer is Shigira Beach. Privately owned but open to the public, the beach itself lies hidden away in an alcove on the southern side of the island. With luxurious resting bays and sun lounger day rentals available, you can relax, sip on a freshly made fruit drink from the beach house and put the stresses of the urban sprawl out of your mind. Shigira Beach is also the island’s premier spot to interact with wild sea turtles in their natural setting.
 
Getting there:
Island visitors staying at one of the Shigara Resort’s four hotels have easy access to many Miyakojima beaches thanks to the bus service, which is free both ways. Enjoy the scenic view outside, then arrive at the beach and plunge in—there’s much more to see underwater!
 

 

The Aragusuku Coastline

Families looking to make treasured memories should head to the island’s east side and the Aragusuku coastline, home to gorgeous Miyakojima beach vistas that will take your breath away. Help your children build a castle or dig a tunnel out to sea, then swim a short way out from shore on the gently sloping sand to find coral mounds teeming with colorful fish. Those less inclined to enter the water can take a glass bottom boat excursion to find Nemo frolicking around the reefs, or munch on a light snack at an outdoor oceanfront cafe. Aragusuku Beach itself is less crowded that other options and seems more popular with locals than tourists.
 
Getting there:
Aragusuku beach is a 30-minute drive from the Shigira Resort and offers free parking.
 

 

Yohana-Maehama Beach

With seven kilometers of turquoise waters and gleaming white sand, Yohana-Maehama Beach, known to the locals as Maibama, is one beach on Miyakojima that seems perfectly designed for the sports enthusiast hiding within. Rent sea-kayaks or jet-skis, play beach volleyball, go snorkeling or just wade in the cobalt blue ocean. While the view of Kurima island across shimmering waters is awesome at any time of day, sunsets are especially spectacular. With numerous washrooms, shower facilities, restaurants and shops, Yohana-Maehama Beach is a great family destination with plenty of activities for all ages.
 
Getting there:
This expansive stretch of Miyakojima beach is just 15 minutes (by car) west of the Shigira Resort.
 

 

Miyako’s West Side: Sunayama Beach & Beyond

 

Sunset Beach

Named for its magnificent late day views, Subset beach in Turiba district is another excellent Miyakojima beach. Looking out over the water to the Irabu Bridge, the beach is open most of the year, but closes between July 1 and Sept 30, dates which correspond to the peak of jellyfish season. The beach is supervised by lifeguards and features a jellyfish net to keep swimmers safe for the rest of the year (and jellyfish stings are exceedingly rare). 
 
Getting there:
Just North of the Irabu Bridge on Route 252, the beach is easily accessible by car. Parking is free but limited




 

Painagama Beach

Located a few minutes drive north of Sunset Beach and only a short walking distance from the downtown center of Miyakojima, Painagama beach is remarkably quiet. In addition to the white sands characteristic of all Miyakojima beaches, it also offers barbecue pavilions which you can use free of charge as long as you bring your own food.  At 300m in length, this beach offers enough space to spread out and have some fun, but owing to its proximity to the downtown area, it can get crowded particularly during peak season.



 

Sunayama Beach

Sunayama Beach is home to a natural limestone arch sculpted by swirling waves over countless years, the image of which has become almost synonymous with Miyakojima beaches. Famous for its powdery white sand, the beach’s name translates as “sand mountain,” and with its emerald green waters and abundant plant life, the beach is stunningly beautiful even by Miyakojima’s high standards. Yet, travelers are pleasantly surprised to discover that it is rarely crowded. Kayaks and other gear can be rented from nearby shops, but most visitors tend to just stand in awe of the natural splendor of this magnificent beach.

 
Getting there:
Located only 4 km from the main city of Hirara on Miyakojima, the beach is easily accessible by rental car and parking is free.


 

Irabujima and Shimojijima

 

Sawada Beach

Listed as one of the 100 most beautiful beaches in Japan, Sawada Beach offers truly breathtaking views of the setting sun. When the ocean retreats at low tide, the beach transforms into a treasured scene for photographers who time their visits to coincide with low tide, when the ocean settles back to reveal a rough landscape scattered with large boulders deposited when a powerful tsunami struck in 1771.

 
Getting there:
Located in the bay formed by Irabujima and Shimojijima Islands, Sawada beach is on the northwest coast of Irabujima, just a short drive across the Irabu bridge, which is visible from Sunset Beach.



 

Nakanoshima Beach

Nakanoshima Beach is an excellent spot for snorkeling or even scuba diving thanks to its bountiful reef life and schools of tropical fish. Swimming without exposure protection is not recommended because the jagged coral beginning right at the water’s edge. Being somewhat remote, there are no rental shops so you are advised to bring whatever equipment you wish to use. There are also no nearby washrooms, no showers very few places to get out of the sun, so despite its natural beauty, Nakanoshima Beach may not necessarily the best spot for a family outing. Whoever you go with, please do remember to be safe.
 
Getting there:
After crossing the Irabu bridge by car, turn left onto the first main road, which will take you along Route 204 to a small bridge leading to Shimojijima. There is no direct road to the beach, so be prepared to pay close attention to your navigation system as you weave through narrow backstreets, taking care to avoid the goats that occasionally find their way onto the roads.



 

Toguchinohama Beach



Located between Irabu and Shimoji islands, Toguchinohama Beach is less remote than Nakanoshima Beach, and features a well-stocked rental shop, toilets and pay showers, though it still lacks a full-service store. The white sand on the beach is so fine that visitors compare it to walking on sifted flour.  The water is crystal clear like at other beaches on Miyakojima and tropical fish are numerous, though not as varied as at Nakanoshima. Toguchinohama Beach is also on the list of the top 100 beaches in Japan and seems to be more popular with the locals.  The beach is located on the same main road that leads to Nakanoshima Beach.



 

The Miyakojima Beach Experience is Like no Other

Whether you visit the isolated beaches found throughout its coastline or spend time at the more luxurious resorts such as Shigira, there is a subtleness of spirit and appreciation of nature on Miyakojima that makes the island seem like it belongs to another era. Quite unlike the leading beaches found on other islands, Miyakojima beaches offer a sense of calm even during the high season. However you choose to experience the beaches of Miyakojima, you will return home with a feeling of peace and cherished memories that will last you a lifetime! 

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