Top 3 Okinawa Resort Islands: Escaping to the Jewels of Japan
25 December 2015
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!

#1 Miyako Island

From its gleaming beaches and iconic rock formations, not to mention the narrowly elegant allure of Cape Hennazaki and the many luxuries afforded by Shigira Resort itself, Miyako Island offers plenty to experience on land—but the true appeal of the island begins in the water. Coral reefs surround the island like majestic undersea castles, hidden limestone caves wait to be discovered and even the denizens of the ocean—thousands of colorful fish and sea turtles among them—create portraits of stunning natural beauty that you can swim alongside during one of many tours. Stay on Miyako Island, and learn the true meaning of paradise.
Higashi Henna Zaki

Miyako Island Cuisine

Miyako Island is a veritable cornucopia of delectable natural foods from treasured Keats Mangoes and other splendid fruits to coveted Miyako Beef, one type of island-raised wagyu Japanese beef that has recently been making its mark even on mainland Japan. There are also delicious staples of Okinawan cuisine including Goya Chanpuru, one of many dishes featuring the bitter melon that just may be the secret to Okinawan longevity. Mainland Japanese dishes and even some European fare top the list of possibilities.

Famous Spots on Miyako Island

That Miyako Island possesses breathtaking beaches should come as no surprise—but did you know that Maehama Beach is consistently ranked as one of Asia’s best beaches? With its pristine flat sand and towering rock formation, an arch through which photos can be exquisitely framed, Sunayama (“Sand Mountain) beach also deserves a mention. There are also the tranquil walking paths of Imugya Marine Park, among many places on the island where snorkeling and diving can all be enjoyed, as well as an experience above the water at the historied cape of Higashi Henna Zaki. Those who witness the sunrise from the top of the lighthouse there will see why the cape has been ranked as one of Okinawa’s 13 most beautiful locales.

Miyako Island Tours

While conventional snorkeling tours are certainly offered around the island, Shigira Resort has something extra: A combined snorkeling and sea kayaking package tour! As our seasoned veterans will be on hand to teach you step-by-step kayak basics, even beginners can enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the ocean as they paddle around on the surface. After taking in the gorgeous vista above, experience the awesome panorama below experts take you snorkeling, pointing out fish, coral and other sea creatures you may never see anywhere else. When you have had your fill of the water, travel overland to discover some of Miyako Island’s most treasured spots—and photo opportunities—along the way.

Getting to Miyako Island

If you are flying to Miyako Island from mainland Japan, you have two options from Haneda Airport: You may either fly directly, or choose to fly indirect and make a stop in the Okinawan capitol of Naha, the recommended course for adventurers.

#2 Iriomote Island

Iriomote Island is known as a natural miracle, a place largely untouched by humans since ancient times. Almost entirely blanketed by subtropical virgin forests, teeming with an abundance of clear waterfalls and dotted by shining alabaster beaches, this mysterious hideaway is sure to move your heart. The symbol of this island, the Iriomote wild cat, is perhaps meant to invoke an image as untamed as the island itself.
clear waterfall

Iriomote Island Cuisine

Iriomote Island is blessed with many wonders, specific to southern countries. The “Shima Pine,” or Island Pineapple, is the island's representative fruit. Local fish and Irabucha fish prepared as sashimi (raw slices of fish), along with stewed giant swimming crabs, are two other local delicacies that you should be sure to try during your trip. Finally there is Iriomote mozuku (seaweed), a healthy supplementary dish produced mostly in this area which is now found on dining tables all over the world.

Famous Spots on Iriomote Island

The jungle spreading out from within Urauchi basin is the largest subtropical virgin forest in Japan, covering more than 90% of the land. Upon reaching Mariudo waterfall, you will feel as if transported into a dreamlike Amazonian landscape. Admire the sunset, feel the smooth white sand beneath your feet and take in mangrove forest all from Todomari Beach.

Iriomote Island Tours

Get the most out of your island stay by indulging in one of many sightseeing cruises or taking the time to explore remote corners of the island. We also recommend going downstream with a quiet kayak or completing your day with a snorkeling foray into the sea, where you can encounter as many as five types of clown fish.

Getting to Iriomote Island

A regular high-speed boat leaves from Ishigaki airport to Iriomote Island. You will have to take a plane to reach Ishigaki airport. After you reached Ishigaki Island, take a taxi to Ishigaki Port Ritoh Terminal.

#3 Manza Beach on the Main Island of Okinawa

Manzamo sightseeing area is the largest resort in the main Island of Okinawa, featuring a cliff that resembles a giant elephant, trunk and all, floating calmly in the azure sea. The most famous spot on the wonderful Manza beach is Manza Cape Lighthouse, which affords a splendid view of the wide sea. Just sitting upon the palisade that starts at the lighthouse, you cannot help but feel the charm of the landscape, capped off by emerald seas and white beaches that sparkle in the sun.

(Photo by Travis on Flickr)

Famous Spots in Manza

Those who visit Okinawa’s main island should not miss viewing the landscapes of Manzamo. The king of Ryukyu Kingdom was so taken by the immense beauty of this place that he glorified it by commenting that at least 10,000 people could sit down in the vast open field. From the cliff, which has the shape of an elephant head, up to the cape, you will see only the shiny white sand of Manza beach.  Nearby you can also visit the most famous Japanese submarine limestone cave, with lots of toads and marine activity, and its famous blue tint.

Manza Tours

You can have a complete marine experience for both children and adults, from a standard snorkeling and Jet Ski program to row boating, windsurfing, sea kayaking trawling and even some underwater trips.

Getting to Manza

We recommend you to take a taxi or a rent-car from Naha airport. You will reach the area in 50 minutes if you take the highway, or 1 hour and 20 minutes by local streets.

3 Okinawa Resort Islands, Endless Opportunities

Each one of these Okinawa resort islands offers a tranquil respite from bustling city life, a tropical wonderland combining all the best of nature—from vast coral reefs teeming with exotic sea life to perfect white beaches and fantastic natural rock formations—to the best of humanity’s bounty, including unforgettable food,  entertainment such as golf and dancing, and of course, souvenirs. Wherever you choose to stay, we hope that you can find a place that combines the these qualities with the peerless hospitality one has come to expect from Japan, embodied by island getaways like Miyakojima’s Shigira Resort.


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