Great Miyakojima Weather Means Fun, Sun and Seasonal Events
27 January 2017

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.

Miyakojima ocean

Miyakojima Weather and Climate

As in the rest of the Okinawan archipelago, Miyakojima weather and climate conditions remain ideal throughout the year. The seasons do change, but the transitions between them are blurred. Besides the temperature variance, what differentiates the seasons is primarily the change in humidity, with summer remaining upwards of 90 percent relative humidity and winter dipping to a more comfortable 50 percent. Cloud cover also varies throughout the seasons, with the median ranging from 90 percent in January to 55 percent in July. Rainfall, similarly, is heaviest in winter and lightest in summer. Prevailing winds tend to be strong and most often come from the north, but the wind shifts direction rather frequently, affecting wave height and frequency, which in turn determine what kinds of activities can be best experienced on which coast.

White beach

The Best Season to Go Depends on You

The best season to visit the island depends less on particular Miyakojima weather conditions and more on if you like the heat and what kind of activities you are interested in. Summer is the ideal time to go swimming, snorkeling and engage in other marine sports, while golfers will prefer the time from mid fall until early spring, in which the sun is not so powerful and the humidity not as great. 

Generally speaking, the weather in Okinawa and its island chain is unlikely to let you down. If there is a time not to visit Okinawa, it is probably Golden Week, which takes place around the end of April beginning of May. During this week of holidays celebrated all across the country, Okinawa becomes a prime travel destination and is suddenly jam-packed with tourists from the mainland. Another time to be careful of would be typhoon season, which occurs between June to November. Typhoons are a relatively unpredictable feature of Okinawa weather, but they are by no means impossible to deal with. In fact, especially if you decide to stay on Miyakojima, there are actually plenty of fun ways to keep yourself occupied while you wait for a typhoon to blow over! As long as you take precautions, there is no need to skip this season--which actually encompasses most of the summer on the islands. 

Women in the Miyakojima

What to Wear According to Okinawa Weather Conditions

While the weather in Okinawa is warm, you will notice that Miyakojima weather is slightly warmer than on the main island. This meaning that short pants, t-shirts (or the ever popular kariyushi collared shirts worn by Okinawans) will be an option for longer into the fall. In summer, the heat persists all through the night, so if you have evening plans you won’t want to burden yourselves with sweaters or jackets. In the months between mid-October to late March, however, the air is noticeably cooler once the sun goes down. Especially if you plan to be out all day and night, you should consider a light jacket worn around the waist. This is particularly true when the winds are strong, which can be rather often on a small subtropical island, so please do be prepared.

Although you may be tempted to bring a raincoat in the rainy season stretching from January to May, keep in mind that wearing it in the high humidity will lead to excessive perspiration, so travelers who feel the need to cover up in the rain are advised to bring something breathable and absorbent.

As for footwear, most of the Okinawa travel guides will tell you that sandals or flip-flops will be a bit too cool in the winter. If you are sensitive to cold, this is certainly true, since cold feet seldom contribute to happy outings, but travelers visiting the beach or enjoying water sports are well advised to take flip flops that can tolerate getting wet and allow their feet to dry quickly. If possible, take socks and comfortable running shoes to change into once you are back on dry land and away from the sand.


Seasonal Events

While the fabulous Miyakojima weather means that most activities can be enjoyed throughout the whole year, there are a few decidedly seasonal events that you can experience with the right timing. Starting in January, the first is the celebration of the New Year, which may begin with hatsuhinode, the year’s first sunrise. One of the best places for this is the breathtakingly beautiful Higashi Henna Zaki, a lighthouse bearing rocky outcropping on Miyakojima’s east coast. Follow that with hatsumode, the first New Year’s prayer, which you can offer up at the recently reconstructed Miyako Jinja in Hirara district.

In Okinawa, the end of January is the beginning of cherry blossom season and while you can certainly see cherry blossoms on Miyakojima, it is close enough to the main island that a flight to Naha and an easy drive to Nago City is also worth considering.

April brings with it the annual beach opening festival, which involves many local customs, from solemn prayers to eel catching contests and of course local foods and music. There is an Orion Beer festival in August and in September, the rather unique Shimajiri Pantu festival in which local volunteers playing the roles of three gods from a sacred spring chase villagers, splashing them with holy mud thought to bring good fortune.


Year-Round Activities

There are many activities that can be enjoyed year round as long as you pay attention to temperature and weather conditions. For example, while the ocean is always inviting, water temperatures can drop to as low as 20 degrees celsius in February and March, so swimmers and snorkelers may want to consider some exposure protection in the winter. While scuba divers can enjoy beautiful coral and swim with reef fish all year, the main attraction is sea turtles and the peak time for seeing them is nesting season between May to August. One of the easiest places to spot a turtle is the picturesque lagoon at the Shigira Resort. Resort guides offer many different tours and can advise visitors as to the best places to go scuba diving around Miyakojima.

Of course, scuba diving is not the only water sport in Miyakojima. Sea Kayaking is popular, as is paddle boarding and even surfing when the waves are just right. Travelers looking to enjoy activities away from the water can go golfing on some great courses, take a scenic wagon tour of some lesser known spots like Nakahara Limestone Cave, visit some of the island’s older grave sites (which are a very important symbol of Okinawan culture) and see trees and other plants which can only be found on Miyakojima. If you prefer to explore at your own pace you can rent a bicycle, allowing them to navigate the many narrow alleys and laneways and feel closer to the sights, sounds and scents of the island.

Shigira Resort

Miyakojima Weather the Key to Paradise

The diverse activities available on the island, made possible largely thanks to the gorgeous Miyakojima weather, continue to make it a popular destination within Japan’s archipelago. If you happen to be staying at Shigira Resort, besides vacationing in the very lap of luxury, you can get a memorable taste of the local food and culture without even leaving the complex. Whatever your desires, come and experience the sunny skies and gentle winds that Miyakojima is known for.


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