Miyako Island (Miyakojima) is one of the most beautiful islands in Japan. It is located about 300km south-west of Okinawa Main Island. The population of Miyakojima City (including Miyako Island, Ikema Island, Kurima Island, Irabu Island, Shimoji Island, and Ogami Island) is around 54,000 as of 2016.
Access to Miyako Island
There are direct flights by ANA from Osaka (Kansai International Airport) and Tokyo (Haneda Airport). It takes 2 hours and 45 minutes from Osaka and 3 hours and 25 minutes from Tokyo.
Beaches in Miyako Island
Miyako Island is surrounded by abundant coral reefs and is famous for its beautiful sea and beaches. There is a famous beach called Yonaha Maehama Beach in the south-west of Miyako Island. The total length of the beach is around 7km, and it has white powder-fine sand and emerald green water. It is called “the most beautiful beach in the Orient.” I don’t know exactly which countries do they mean by “the Orient, “ but actually this beach is the most beautiful beach among the beaches I have visited so far.
Foods and drinks in Miyako Island
Miyako Island is part of Okinawa, so the foods in Miyako Island are not so different from other Okinawan cuisine. Goya (bitter gourd) is one of the most famous foods from Okinawa, and local people generally eat goya by frying it together with pork, eggs, tofu (bean curd), and vegetables such as onions and bean sprouts. Another famous food is Miyako soba noodle. Basically Japanese soba is made from buckwheat, however, Miyako soba noodle and other Okinawa soba noodles are made from wheat flour like Japanese udon noodle. And also, as Miyako Island is surrounded by coral reefs, fish and other seafood are popular as well.
As for drinks, Orion beer is the most popular beer from Okinawa. And also, people in Okinawa often drink Awamori, which is a kind of shochu (distilled spirit). It is said that the way of making Awamori was introduced by Siam (present Thailand) to the Ryukyu Kingdom (present Okinawa) around the 14th to 15th century, and Awamori is still made from Thai rice.
There are many restaurants and bars in the city center of Miyako Island, so you can easily enjoy these foods and drinks if you go to the city center.
There are many foreigners visiting Japanese cities such as Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto, but please also visit the small islands of Okinawa, where you can enjoy beautiful beaches and delicious local foods, and meet friendly local people. Maybe you can experience the real Japan in the small islands of Okinawa, which you can never experience in big cities such as Tokyo or Osaka!