A dream come true, an ocean paradise, Heaven on Earth, finally our Miyakojima trip became reality!
My wife is a frequent-flyer program master, so, the ANA plane tickets were basically free. LUCKY!
We left Kansai Airport at 3:15 PM on Sunday, August 9, and returned on Friday, August 15. at 3:30PM.
It’s about a 2-hour 15 minute direct flight to Miyako.
After landing in Miyako, we took a free shuttle van to the car rental office, maybe a 10-minute drive!
We got a great red Honda Fit, about ¥4000/day, and then drove about five minutes to our rental house.
We had a great house: 2 BR, tatami room, living room, dining room, big kitchen, big bathroom, washing machine, very spacious, lots of windows, thick concrete walls, nice backyard with barbecue, and some mango trees!
The owner was even nice enough to greet us with free mangoes!
Our first day we went to possibly Miyako’s best beach-access snorkeling spot: Nakanoshima beach. Very rugged, small beach area, maybe 100 m wide, sandwiched between large rock outcroppings which extended into the ocean at least 1 to 200 m.
The coral here was amazing. Huge brain coral was the highlight with classic staghorns and others. 2 families of Clark’s Anemonefish, and I saw the biggest Moorish Idol of my life here, at least 4 to 5x bigger than I had previously seen!
After the massive snorkeling session we went to one of the famous sunset beaches: Sawada Beach. Very nice indeed!
Our next day we decided to try Yoshino Kaigan on the SE corner of Miyako, about a 20-minute drive from our house. Yoshino is a very long beach, beautiful white sand, lots of coral, although the water is very shallow, about 2 m, so about 50% of the coral has been damaged by ignorant people who think that standing on the coral is a nice resting area. Standing on coral, or even touching it, will easily break the coral and it will possibly also die.
We saw a wonderful family of Clark’s Anemone fish, and, with incredibly lucky timing, we actually saw a few baby turtles suddenly appear, sprinting to the ocean. Very very rare!
Our third day was a marathon beach adventure, visiting four different beaches in 1 day. Imgya Marine Garden has a sheltered lagoon, perfect for kids and super-beginner snorkelers who want to practice a bit. A five-minute hike up a small cliff yielded this view:
Toguchihama had excellent surfing waves and is more popular with locals. After body-surfing a few waves I felt pure joy when a hard-core local smiled, and gave me the hang-loose sign, yes!
We were lucky to catch another gorgeous sunset.
Our fourth full day was an epic 45-minute boat trip off the north coast of Miyako to Yabiji, a massive barrier reef almost 20 km long. I’ve never seen coral like this before, fish were everywhere, and thank God we saw two huge clown triggerfish relaxing about 4 m deep.
The one-day tour was around ¥13,000 for three different snorkeling spots, and we had a fantastic time. The captain OK’d boat jumps, so, of course, we had to grab a little air.