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Three Reasons to Visit Miyakojima (Miyako Island)
post : 2019.05.26 08:00
[Reason #1: The Fantastic Ocean!]
First and foremost, the most attractive thing about Miyako Island is the spectacular ocean! The seas are beautiful to see from land as well as under water. You can reach the ocean from wherever you are on the island.
My favorite place to gaze out to the sea on Miyako Island is Sunayama Beach, with its brilliant white sand and cobalt-blue waters. I always find it hard to leave because I enjoy it there so much. Because it’s convenient and easy to reach from the center of town, on clear, sunny days, I go there twice a day! Once during the day to enjoy the bright blue sky and the second time to enjoy the hours at sunset.
If it’s your first time on Miyakojima Island, be sure to visit the cape at Higashihenna. It’s a spectacular sight, and many of you may have seen calendars and postcards of the beautiful scenery there.
Above is the settlement of Tomori, the birthplace of Nariyama-amagu, one of Miyako’s famous folk songs.
If you’re looking to enjoy snorkeling in Miyako, I recommend the waters off Tomori, where the corals are vibrant with life. You may losえ track of time in the paradise under the sea.
[Reason #2: The Easy Access to Surrounding Islands!]
Easily accessible from Miyako are the islands of Ikema, Kurima, and Irabu/Shimoji islands, all connected by bridges. You’ll often hear island-hopping people saying, “I went to the fishing port on Irabu Island to buy some fresh fish.”
One of the greatest attractions of Miyako Island is its great access to its surrounding islands by car.
To enjoy gazing or swimming in the waters, Ikizu on Ikema Island is another one of my favorite spots. Just past Ikizu, there’s a wonderful coral reef which is also highly recommended.
Shimoji Island is connected by bridge with Irabu Island. Behind the Shimoji Airport is a popular spot to take photographs, which is definitely worth a visit.
Approximately 15 minutes by boat departing from Shimajiri Fishing Port on Miyako Island is the calm and peaceful island of Ogami. You can take a short day trip there if you have time, and it’s well worth a visit.
The island located between Miyako and Ishigaki is Tarama Island. You can access Tarama from Miyako by boat or by plane. During the season of Hachigatsu Odori (August dance) which is nationally designated as an important intangible cultural heritage, the island is alive with many visitors. During the other months, the island is calm, quiet, and laid back, just what you would expect on a small isolated island. A visit to Tarama Island is also recommended.
[Reason #3: The Fun Otori Experience that Naturally Brings People Together!]
Otori is a famous drinking game that originated in Miyako Island. To explain Otori, I can say that “it’s a fun, traditional Miyako style of drinking Awamori where you can enjoy drinking and talking with everyone.” Otori with one person who leads, called Oya, who begins by speaking in front of the group and then goes around pouring Awamori to each person. This naturally invites conversation and a cheerful drink with every single person in the group, whether they’re old friends or someone they just met. This action brings a comfortable sense of oneness with everyone in the group. Many non-drinkers these days also enjoy this game, so whether you’re enjoying Awamori or other alcohol, or even alcohol-free drinks, if you get a chance, join in a circle of Otori. (*Usually, Otori is enjoyed with Awamori and water, but some groups may be passing different alcoholic drinks, so make sure you ask!)
Through Otori, you’ll enjoy getting to know the islanders and maybe discover other great things about Miyako Island. “Nmyaachi! (Welcome!)” to Miyako Island this summer!
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, who loves Otori ☆ Mika Asaka