【2018 Edition】Full Guide to Enjoying the Remote Island of Miyako-jima, Surrounded by the Blue Sea
Miyakojima, which is a remote island in Okinawa, has such a beautiful sea that it is proclaimed as number one in the Pacific. Here is a guide that introduces the charms of this island. Please check this out before heading to visit.
What kind of place is Miyako-jima?
The Miyako Islands are located at the southwest, about 300km from Naha, Okinawa. Among these big and small islands, you will find the Miyako-jima, where the climate is warm throughout the year. This area is surrounded by the blue sea, beautiful scenery, and marine leisure. There are direct flights from Naha, Tokyo, and Osaka.
From July 2018, efforts will be put into ensuring that almost all taxis, as well as facilities like selected eating and drinking establishments, lodgings, tours, and hospitals will be able to handle credit cards. Credit card holders can finally go sightseeing as soon as they land, rather than stopping at the bank to exchange money!
Enjoy the View at Higashi-hennazaki
One place you should definitely check out is Higashi-hennazaki, a cape about 2km long, at the eastern side of the island.
The lighthouse at the very tip gives an almost 360 degree panorama of the area. Here you may view the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. The waves that crash by the cliffs are also very strong. You may also find a variety of flowers such as the Emperor Plum, which is designated as a natural monument of the prefecture, and the eastern lily, among others that bloom in the spring.
Swim at Sunayama Beach
If you are looking for a beach, you may want to try visiting Sunayama, which is known for its impressionable arch-shaped rock made with coral reefs. Just as its name implies, Sunayama (suna = sand, yama = mountain) is a beach that can be found beyond the small and high mountains of sand.
You will find white sand and blue waters beyond Sunayama, which will give you a breathtaking view. The shops by the beach have parasols, swimming tubes, and snorkeling items for rent. You may also purchase drinks and light snacks.
Join in Paantu Punaha, Traditional Festival
The Paantu Punaha is a traditional custom carried out at the Shimajiri District in the northern part of the island. This is a unique festival where children to adults all run around in mud.
A "Paantu" makes its appearance on the day of the festival, which is a 3-bodied man. This would be the physical form of the god from the sacred well of "nmaringa," who has covered his body with mud and wears vine grass. This festival is where the Paantu paints mud on the locals to exorcise evil and to pray for health and safety. On this day, the whole of the Shimajiri District is full of mud, as well as the houses and cars. This includes tourists!
The official date of the festival is not made public until last minute, but it is usually held within a few days of the "tsuchinoe" (near autumnal equinox) in September. Last year, the festival was held from the 25th to 26th of October, 2017.
Check Out Other Tourist Spots
The Imgya Marine Garden at the southern part of the island is a sea park with a natural inlet. This garden is known for its beach surrounded by rocks, where you may enjoy swimming and snorkeling at a quiet, isolated environment at the outskirts of the sea. You may also find a threading path and an observatory space where you can look over the East China Sea.
Miyako-jima Kaichu Park is a hotspot at the north of the island. Here you may look forward to seeing the inside of the ocean (1,000 JPY for adults, 800 for high school students, 500 JPY for elementary and middle school students) from the acrylic panels, where you can see the living creatures of the waters.
Imgya Marine Garden
Look for Souvenirs at the Public Market in Miyakojima
It would be a good idea to visit the Public Market in Miyakojima if you are looking for souvenirs. This market has been well-loved by locals since olden times.
This market offers local agriculture, marine products, and mountainous vegetables. You may also find shops that sell preserved goods so that you may enjoy the taste of the island from your home, confectionery, cosmetics made with Okinawan herbs and shell jelly, among others which are all suitable as souvenirs. The first floor of this market comes with a tourism office, while the 2nd floor has restaurants that sell dishes and sweets that make use of ingredients from the island.
Please try to enjoy the view and the activities at Miyakojima, which is unique for its extremely clear waters.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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