Take an Okinawa Diving Holiday at Miyako, a Diver’s Shangri-La
29 June 2015

“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)

Dive into Miyakojima’s Pure Water

Because Miyakojima is mainly flatland, soil impurities don’t flow out to the sea—Miyakojima’s water is some of the purest to be found anywhere. In fact, the ocean off Miyakojima is known as the most beautiful ocean in Japan, and its mild climate allows you can enjoy a refreshing dip. Swimming is only recommended from April to October, but if you want to explore these oceans for yourself year-round, all you really need is a snorkel and some diving shoes or flippers. Miyakojima is a coral Shangri-La that’s easy for even snorkeling beginners to discover. There are also many companies that offer snorkeling and diving tours with convenient hotel pick-up included. Some companies even have introductory scuba dives for those aspiring deep-sea adventurers who want to do more than just get their feet wet.


Explore the Wonders of the Surrounding Coral Reefs

To access the wonders of the coral reef around the island, simply walk straight into the ocean. As you step in, you are almost immediately surrounded by fish, some of which are native only to the South Seas. Fully submerged in your own personal paradise with nothing but the sound of the water to cushion your dreamy musings, you may think that you are alone. But the ocean is home to a shimmering kaleidoscope of goatfish, unicorn fish, box fish, puffer fish, butterfly fish, clown fish, and parrot fish. Whether darting fast away from you or staring from behind a cluster of gently swaying sea anemones, some sea creatures may be shy, while others will treat you as a regular denizen of their heavenly ocean. If you love the water, this is may be merely your first step into a much grander marine experience.
(Photo: Shigira beach)


Swim Alongside Sea Turtles

During your stay at the Shigira Resort, the concierge will direct you to the beach house where you can easily rent a pair of flippers and a snorkel set and wade out into even farther into the inviting waters. Shigira Beach offers a unique opportunity to swim alongside sea turtles in their natural habitat. Because it is protected from the harsher conditions of the open sea by a cove, this beach offers a tantalizing glimpse of yet more amazing creatures.


Relax on Japan’s Most Popular Beach

There are many other stunning beaches on Miyakojima within 30 minutes of the Shigira Resort. The coastline of Miyako affords exceptional places for coral spotting, with gorgeous reefs just off the shore. In fact, Japan’s largest coral reef, the Yabiji, is right off the coast of Miyakojima. Just to the west of the Shigira Resort is Maehama Beach. Maehama is the island’s most popular beach and consistently ranked the best in Japan. It is especially suitable for families who want to snorkel together in shallow waters, savoring the plentiful sea life and lively atmosphere. The beach extends for 7 kilometers along the coastline, so it’s rarely over-crowded. In addition to snorkeling, boating and jet-skiing are popular. All equipment can be rented on-site.


Hike Up (and Down!) “Sand Mountain”

Head north from there and you will reach the iconic Sunayama, or “Sand Mountain” Beach. The name fits perfectly, as interested explorers must climb down (and later, up!) a shining sand dune to reach the sparkling beach, itself well worth the trek. It features postcard-perfect white sands, lush greenery, and a natural rock formation in the shape of a huge gate. The swimming is great but there’s no reef there, so save the diving for some of the other beautiful beaches.


Glimpse an Underwater Panorama

If you go even further north you’ll hit the inlet of Ikemajima. In addition to great snorkeling and diving, you can take a ride in a glass-bottomed boat on the Ikemajima side of the bridge for an exclusive view of the underwater panorama below. The bridge itself makes for an exquisite drive with clear, emerald and sapphire waters on both sides.


Discover an Enchanted Castle

On the south-east end of the island is Aragusuku Beach, a great spot for easy snorkeling in the coral reefs. At low tide the coral sometimes emerges from the water like an enchanted island, complimented by an abundant rainbow of sea life that can be seen even in shallow waters.


Touch Marine Biodiversity

Yoshino Beach, located on the very south-east end tip of Miyakojima, is considered by many to be the best place for snorkeling on Miyakojima. You don’t need a guide; just rent your gear right on the beach and swim a few meters out into the ocean!  With friendly locals and vibrant biodiversity, Yoshino’s coral reef is not to be missed.


Be an Explorer, Have an Okinawa Diving Holiday

Finally, aspiring explorers should head to Kurima Island and enjoy the beach at its tip. Whether you are a keen diver or a newbie snorkeler, there are a plethora of caves and underwater arches just waiting to be discovered; the Boraga Limestone Cave is a popular destination and a real treat! Of course, what you unearth depends on choosing the best boat tour. The boat tours might take you out as far as Irabu, one of the smaller Miyakojima, or perhaps to a spot right in the middle of the ocean. Whatever your desire, your concierge is more than happy to help.


Find your Own Piece of Paradise, with Us

There is definitely something for everyone in Miyakojima’s luxurious white beaches, statuesque natural rock formations, and teeming undersea menageries. Whether you are looking for a luxurious retreat from hectic city life, a romantic getaway, or a taste of unforgettable adventure, Miyakojima is a little piece of paradise you just have to experience for yourself.

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