Three Days Exploring Around Okinawa’s Miyako Island
Escape to the subtropical haven of Miyako Island, where beautiful nature, crystal clear waters, and rich cultural history await you
Welcome to a paradise of clear waters, sandy beaches, and breathtaking natural beauty. Miyako Island is a stunning tropical destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in its laid-back vibe. Go on outdoor excursions that highlight the island's natural beauty, partake in activities that represent the uniqueness of Okinawan culture, and taste the soulful mouthwatering local cuisine. Driving around the island is a convenient way to discover its charms without worrying about transport schedules. This three-day Miyako Island itinerary by car introduces the main highlights that Miyako Island is known for.
*Driving times may change due to traffic, road conditions, and other factors.
Miyako Airport is the island’s main gateway, connecting Miyako with the Yaeyama Islands, as well as Naha and the main hub airports in Japan. Its facilities include an observation deck, a few restaurants and several souvenir stores for some last-minute shopping. It is located close to the city center of Miyako Island, and several rental car companies are available nearby for the convenience of tourists.
Cafe nuis offers a relaxed and picturesque setting that invites visitors to slow down and contemplate the grasslands of Miyako Island while enjoying a delicious meal made with local ingredients. Some of the menu highlights include their own original curry made with pork belly, fermented with spices and homemade amazake, a traditional drink made of fermented rice, or light meals such as juicy meat or vegetable sandwiches.
Ocean’s Vista is located inside Ocean’s Resort Miyakojima, perched on a cliff amidst lush greenery. As the name suggests, the panoramic ocean view from the restaurant is spectacular. The Original Miyako Miso Soba is the popular house specialty.
Sea View restaurant
Sea View restaurant specializes in classics of Okinawan cuisine, such as Miyako soba or the soft simmered pork rafte gozen lunch set. It is located on the second floor of Kaihoukan next to Boraga Beach, offering panoramic views of the coastline.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of Cape Higashi-Hennazaki, a scenic spot designated as a national Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty. The cape stretches 2 kilometers out into the ocean on a seaside strip, leading to a walking trail lined with blooming flowers. The 24.5-meter-tall lighthouse at the end offers a towering perspective over the Pacific and East China Seas.
A variety of experiences await you at Kaihoukan. Visitors can explore the natural surroundings while kayaking, diving, cave exploring, or visit their Shell Museum and learn how to make whimsical souvenirs by crafting with shells.
Hotel Breeze Bay Marina
Hotel Breeze Bay Marina offers you the best of Miyako Island’s tropical paradise. Its seaside location gives you immediate access to white sand beaches, as well as poolside relaxation, sweeping ocean views, and delicious local seafood. All kinds of guests like families, couples or friends can enjoy a leisurely holiday in this spacious resort. Long-term stays are also available.
Shigira Gold Onsen
Escape to Shigira Gold Onsen, where nature meets luxury in the heart of Miyako Island’s beautiful surroundings. Soak and unwind with family or friends in the naturally warm spring water of the Jungle Pool, amidst a lush green landscape. Or opt for the outdoor hot spring baths, where you can be at ease during the day or even at night, with private options available. Facilities also include a variety of spa treatments for the ultimate relaxation.
Underwater Sightseeing Boat “SEASKY HAKUAI”
Dive into the enchanting underwater world aboard a semi-submersible boat. Miyako Island's stunning underwater scenery will be revealed in full color as you sail up close to the island's thriving coral reef, tropical fish, and the rare sighting of sea turtles.
The Shigira Lift “OCEAN SKY”
Reach new heights at Okinawa's first and only pair lift, across 283 meters between the sea and a nearby hill. Take in the island's breathtaking aerial views of the vibrant green and blue coastline as you sail through the air as if floating.
Hotel Breeze Bay Marina
Miyakojima Traditional Crafts Village
Miyakojima Traditional Crafts Village invites you to immerse yourself in local crafts. Experience the thrill of watching skilled local artisans at work and the excitement of trying your own hand at some of the available crafts. From pottery workshops to sandal workshops, the wide range of activities has something to delight any visitor. There is also friendly English-speaking staff to lend a helping hand on your crafting experience.
Weaving and Dyeing Studio
Make delicate fabrics with hand-woven striped patterns using natural raw materials. The fabrics can also be dyed with indigo for overlapping shades of blue, where you can use traditional techniques to create your own personal design.
Folk Tool Making Studio
Miyako Island’s native palm, chigaya, is a very durable raw material that, when dried, can be woven into many useful or decorative items. In this experience, you can learn how to create these objects yourself, and take home a unique souvenir filled with fun memories!
Miyakojima City Botanical Garden
Miyakojima City Botanical Garden is one of Okinawa’s largest biodiversity areas, with several walking courses that take you to attractive viewing points among its lush forests full of native Okinawan wildlife, lovely ponds, and resting spots.
Kurima Island, located southwest of Miyako Island, is easily accessible by Kurima Bridge. The small island, with a circumference of 9 kilometers, is brimming with fashionable cafes, stores, and the beautiful Nagamahama Beach, where you can relax and enjoy the picturesque village and sunset scenery. You can enjoy looking for local handicrafts and other souvenirs that can only be found here.
Rakuen no Kajitsu
This restaurant’s recommended dishes include the Miyako Island wagyu beef rice bowl as well as mangoes and other seasonally available organic fruits from Kurima Island, Miyako Island, and Okinawa, are popular.
Japanese Dining Kissho
On Kurima Island, Kissho is the Miyako Island branch of the long-established restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Their changing seasonal menu also uses fresh ingredients from Miyako Island and Okinawa, such as the sashimi gozen lunch set.
Climb to the top of the three-story Ryugujo Observatory for an rewarding panoramic view of the surrounding sea, all the way to Yonaha Maehama Beach or Irabu Island. The tower is inspired by the dragon's palace of a popular folktale, set on a hilltop.
Ryukyu Zakka Aosora
Ryukyu Zakka Aosora is a shop that specializes in Okinawan crafts such as yachimun pottery, Ryukyu glass, bingata dyed fabrics. All the items were personally selected by the shop owner during his visits to artists’ workshops across the islands.
Miyakojima Tokyu Hotel & Resorts
On the southwestern coast of Miyako Island, Miyakojima Tokyu Hotel & Resorts has a privileged location right next to Yonaha Maehama Beach, considered one of Japan’s top beaches. The resort itself also offers plenty of leisure options, such as marine activities, relaxing by the pool, playing golf or renting a bicycle to explore the gorgeous surroundings. Don't forget to check out the many on-site dining options.
Alternative Farm Miyako
Learn about the traditional practice of brown sugar production from an organic sugarcane and banana farmer. After you harvest the sugarcane, squeeze it to taste 100% of its fresh juices. Then, cook the brown sugar, which you can take home as a souvenir. After a tour of the banana fields, combine the two delicious Okinawan products to make a tasty dessert of caramelized banana with brown sugar and banana ice cream.
Bask in the soft light of the sunset’s golden hour with privileged views of the endless ocean and sky, while cruising the sea of Miyakojima. Then, sip on your drink provided by the cruise and contemplate the radiant views on this enchanting ride through the sea.
Yonaha Maehama Beach
While there’s no shortage of beautiful beaches in Okinawa, Yonaha Maehama Beach stands above them all with some of the most idyllic sights that keep attracting travelers from around the world. A must-visit to wander or just relax lying on the white sand.
Miyakojima Tokyu Hotel & Resorts
Irabu Bridge is Japan's longest toll-free bridge, which you can drive across as you admire sweeping views of the turquoise sea on your way from Miyako Island to Irabu Island and back. For an even more spectacular view, head to Makiyama Observatory. Then satisfy your hunger with a variety of lunch options at Sarahama Port, which has plenty of restaurants and shops where you can refuel and stock up before continuing your journey.
Irabuohashi Bridge Seaside Station
This seaside station offers a wide variety of local products, from fresh seafood and locally grown vegetables to casual dining and crafty souvenirs. It’s the perfect stop to eat and shop, while gazing at the majestically snaking Irabu Bridge.
Built in 1982, Makiyama Observatory is one of the symbols of Irabu Island, loosely shaped like a buzzard taking off from the island’s highest point. Visitors can take in panoramic views of neighboring islands, and enjoy forest bathing below.
Shimoji Island, located southwest of Irabu Island, is a small but much-coveted destination for beach-lovers, cave-divers and sunset admirers, as a peaceful playground for aquatic activities, particularly underwater cave exploration. Shimoji island is compact and easily accessible by car from Irabu Island. It is also where you will find Shimojishima Airport, and direct flights to other locations around Okinawa and even Tokyo.
Tooriike Pond is a natural treasure and a popular diving spot on the west coast of Shimoji Island. It consists of two small, deep blue ponds formed by limestone erosion, separated by a natural stone bridge and connected to the sea through an underwater cave.
Nakanoshima Beach (kayaffa)
Discover the natural aquarium on Shimoji Island's southwestern side. Beneath this beach’s white sand and crystal clear turquoise water is a rich and extensive coral ecosystem teeming with marine life, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.
DOUG’S BURGER places great emphasis in avoiding artificial coloring, preservatives or seasonings. The burger joint’s signature menu items are the juicy Tuna Burger made from Miyako Island yellow-fin tuna, and the Tarama Burger, made with premium wagyu beef from Tarama Island, just 65 kilometers southwest of Miyako. All burgers come with colorful options such as cheese “lava”, guacamole, and more.
This local soba shop was established in 1932 and still makes its signature noodles using old-school methods. You can enjoy their Miyako soba or soki soba, topped with spare ribs, while surrounded by the nostalgic atmosphere under red roof tiles.
This popular ramen and soba shop serves homemade chewy noodles made daily with whole wheat flour in a salt broth. The menu features local Miyako tiger prawns and Miyako beef, carefully seasoned to bring out the best possible taste.