Speaking of Miyakojima Island (宮古島), it is a destination filled with amazing beaches! In fact, whenever TripAdvisor announces Japan’s top 10 beaches, Miyako-jima often fills up most of their list! The beaches are also one of the main reasons the Japanese relocate to the enchanting island. So if you plan on visiting Okinawa soon or are keen on doing some watersports on your next Japan trip, Miyako Island should be your must-visit destination!
Below is a list of beaches on Miyako-jima Island. While they are all stunning, each has its uniqueness.
Enjoy Miyakojima With a Guided Tour
If you prefer a guide to introduce you to the charms of Miyakojima and the surrounding destinations, how about joining one of the below tours?
- Snorkeling Tour to see the Sea turtle
- Pumpkin Hall Limestone Cave Tour
- Pumpkin Hall Limestone Cave + Snorkeling Tour
- Beach SUP + Tropical Snorkeling + Pumpkin Hall Limestone Cave Canoe Tour
- Starry Sky & Subtropical Jungle Night Tour
- One-Day SUP/Canoe and Snorkeling Tour
- Half-Day SUP/Canoe and Snorkeling Tour
- 2-Hour SUP/Canoe Tour
- Sunrise SUP/Canoe Tour
- Sunset SUP/Canoe Tour
- Sunset Kayak Tour
- Nighttime Canoe Tour
Miyako Island’s Beaches in Category
- The beach with the highest chance of meeting sea turtles:
- The beach with many coral reefs and activities for shell-picking:
- The beach with many amenities:
- The beach/spot that is popular with tours:
How to Get to Miyako-jima Island
Because no ferry services depart for Miyako Island, you can only access the island by airplane.
- The fight takes around 50 minutes from Naha Airport. From 7 am to 6 pm, flights will depart almost every hour.
- The number of services from Tokyo/Haneda Airport is limited, sometimes only one flight per day!
- The flight takes around 170 to 180 minutes.
- If you are on a budget and are traveling from Tokyo or other cities in Japan, it might be cheaper to fly to Naha first.
If you don’t plan to drive on Miyako Island, Miyako Kyōei Bus (宮古協栄バス) has service lines covering almost the entire island. So whilst it isn’t possible to fully enjoy Miyako-jima without a car, you will still need to keep an eye on the next service as the number of services can be limited on some of these lines.
While in Japanese only, refer to HERE for the route map and timetable. You can match the Japanese characters of the bus stop we mentioned in the access information of the attractions below to read. Or you can contact us HERE, and we will be happy to assist you!
What You Must Know About the Beaches on Miyako-jima Island
No lifeguards are stationed at most of Miyako Island’s beaches. The only two beaches on the island with lifeguards stationed are Yonaha Maehama Beach at the island’s southwest and Shigira Beach at Miyako-jima’s south. So if you plan to enjoy the beaches and even water sports, try to go with others and watch out for rips. For water sports, it is best if an instructor can accompany you.
Dangerous marine life, such as the lionfish and Portuguese Man O’War, reside here. Avoid getting close to them at all costs so you don’t end up in the hospital!
☛ If you need someone to guard your valuables, check with the shops on the shore. Many of them offer this service for a small fee.
☛ Early morning is the best time to visit any of the beaches on Miyako Island. Car parks are most likely full from late morning onwards, especially on weekends and public holidays.
☛ Refer to the Japan Meteorological Agency’s website HERE for Miyako Island’s high/low tide information. It is best to snorkel or dive during high tide.
Miyako-jima Island’s Beach Ecosystem Conservation Manners
- Avoid touching the coral reefs
- Don’t feed fishes
- Don’t enter the coral reef conservation zone
- Don’t take any shells or seaweed when you dive/snorkel
Yonaha Maehama Beach (与那覇前浜)
Yonaha Maehama Beach is the most beautiful beach on Miyako Island or even the entire Okinawa! The beach stretches about 7km southwest of the island and is formed with fine powder-snow-like white sand. With the sandy beach together and the highly transparent aqua ocean, no one spot at Yonaha Maehama Beach isn’t stunning.
For more information, refer to our Yonaha Maehama Beach article!
Painagama Beach (パイナガマビーチ)
Painagama Beach is a lot closer to the island’s town center. The beach that is within walking distance from Nishizato Ōdōri Street (西里大通り) is also known as a barrier-free beach equipped with an ambulant toilet and shower facility.
The waves at Painagama Beach are calm. During the peak swimming season, safety nets are set up so children can safely swim in the sea. There are also showers and toilets available for you to use.
From Painagama Beach, you can see Irabu Island (伊良部島) across the sea. Of course, a bridge was built to connect the islands. The ocean view with the 3,540-meter-long Irabu Ōhashi (伊良部大橋) is another scenery that you must check out!
The sunset from Painagama Beach is also quite popular amongst tourists. The view of the sun setting down the Irabu Island is what attracts many to gather at this gorgeous beach in the late afternoon!
☛ If you get tired of the beach, take a stroll on the promenade next to the beach, where you will be surrounded by tropical plants!
☛ A jellyfish prevention net is set up during the peak jellyfish season for your safety at Painagama Beach. But this also means you won’t be able to see many fishes when diving.
☛ The swimming season at Painagama Beach is from April to October.
The beach is called Painagama because, in Miyako Island’s dialect, Pai means south. Nagama was abbreviated from Nagai Hama, meaning ‘long beach’.
If you plan to take a bus, get off at Jitsugyō Kōkō-mae (実業高校前).
Sweets Cafe Ri Chan House (Sweets Cafe りーちゃん家)
While there are a couple of restaurants and cafes around Painagama Beach, the most popular cafe is Sweets Cafe Ri Chan House. The cafe, which the locals also love, is owned and operated by a former hotel chef. With the training and experience that Ri Chan has gotten from her previous position, it is no wonder she has so many returning customers!
The cafe has a calming and relaxing atmosphere. Although you can only choose from omelette rice or udon for lunch, according to the reviews, they are all delicious regardless of which one you choose!
Please note that we haven’t been able to confirm if the cafe can cater to a vegetarian diet. But the udon dishes certainly appear to be simple enough that they should be able to customize to a certain degree. When you get there, utilize the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans article to check with Ri Chan.
Each of the lunch menus comes with a drink and a dessert. If that isn’t enough for you, their dessert menu has much more variety! If you come in the afternoon, you can order their sweets plate with a bit of everything that Ri Chan recommends for the day! Also, the mango-based desserts are a must-try too!
Sweets Cafe Ri Chan House’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Sweets Cafe Ri Chan House is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm except for Sundays.
- The last order is taken at 4:30 pm.
- The cafe is located at the back of Painagama Beach.
Sunayama Beach (砂山ビーチ)
On the north of Miyako-jima Island, Sunayama Beach is known for the coral reef arch at the southern end. The white sand at this pleasant compacted beach is also very fine, making it really comfortable to walk on. Of course, the coral reef didn’t initially have a hole. The arch was formed by continuous erosion by the waves over the centuries.
This hidden gem ranked second on Japan’s Top 10 Beaches in 2019 by Tripadvisor. However, to get to this astonishing beach, you will need to hike up and down a sand dune. Once you get to the top, the effort of climbing up will be worth it as you will get this amazing view in front of you!
Sunayama Beach is also equipped with toilet and shower facilities.
☛ If you plan to swim there, make sure there are no signs of sharks nearby. No lifeguards are stationed at Sunayama Beach, so it is best not to proceed too far from the shore if the waves seem high on the day.
☛ The arch has become a forbidden area since October 2018 due to the risk of a rock fall or the coral reef collapsing.
☛ It can be tiring to climb the sand dune with sandals on. A pair of good-quality sneakers are highly recommended.
☛ For an easier hike, walk where people have stepped on (i.e. follow the footprints).
☛ Arrive early as the car park can be full around lunchtime.
How to Get to Sunayama Beach
- Sunayama Beach is around a 20-minute drive from Miyako Airport (宮古空港) and a 10-minute drive from Hirara Port (平良港).
- Sunayama Beach’s car park is located down on the other side of the sand dune.
Aragusuku Beach (新城海岸)
For snorkeling, Aragusuku Beach at Miyako-jima Island‘s west is recommended. If you don’t have the necessary equipment, rental shops are around the shore. Compared to Yoshino Kaigan Beach (吉野海岸), you can expect fewer crowds at Aragusuku Beach. The shower, changing room, and toilet facilities are free of charge. The same goes for the parking lot!
The water at Aragusuku Beach is calm, shallow, and clear. You can see the coral reefs spread out under the water and tropical fishes without needing to dive down. And if you are lucky, you can meet a sea turtle too!
Important: Please keep in mind that no lifeguards are stationed at Aragusuku Beach. So paying attention to the instructions provided by the equipment rental shops is vital. They will also tell you what not to do while snorkeling to protect the precious corals (basically, don’t stand on or kick them).
☛ For snorkeling, head to Aragusuku Beach before noon, as Aragusuku Beach doesn’t receive much sunlight during the afternoon.
☛ Your chances of encountering a sea turtle increase during high tide. Based on eyewitness information, sea turtles are more likely to appear at the left part of Aragusuku Beach.
☛ For watersports such as SUP, head to Umi no Ie Wa~Ra (海の家わ〜ら) for equipment rental. You can also apply to join various watersports tours with instructors with lifeguard certificates. For more information, refer to their website HERE and translate the webpage to English using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.
Moreover, because there is a sea turtle colony around Aragusuku Beach, there is a high chance that you will spot a few of them while snorkeling. The sea turtles here are used to humans. So they don’t tend to run away even if you get close to them.
Obviously, it is fine to observe, but touching them is forbidden.
Other Recommended Spots Close to Aragusuku Beach
- Consider making a detour to Cape Higashi-Hennazaki (東平安名崎). It is the easternmost cape of Miyako-jima, with a total length of about 2km. The stunning cape is perfect for sunrise viewing and star gazing.
- Cape Higashi-Hennazaki is around a 10-minute drive from Aragusuku Beach.
- Higa Road Park (比嘉ロードパーク) is renowned for its superb scenery and is situated at the highest point of Miyako Island at 100 meters. The panoramic view from the observatory is a must-see on Miyako-jima.
- Higa Road Park is around an 8-minute drive from Aragusuku Beach.
How to Get to Aragusuku Beach
- Aragusuku Beach is around a 25-minute drive from Miyako Airport (宮古空港) and a 35-minute drive from Hirara Port (平良港).
- From Miyakojima City Hall (宮古島市役所), take Miyako Kyōei Bus’ (宮古協栄バス) Aragasuku Boraga Line (新城吉野保良線) and get off at Aragasuku (新城). The beach is a 20-minute walk.
Yoshino Kaigan Beach (吉野海岸)
Traveling further southeast from Aragusuku Beach, Yoshino Kaigan Beach is another beach on Miyako-jima Island that is perfect for snorkeling. As soon as you enter the highly transparent sea, the colorful coral reefs will be right in front of you. As you swim, various types of tropical fish may surround you! Due to the many species of tropical fishes, Yoshino Kaigan Beach’s nickname is Swimmable Aquarium (泳げる水族館)!
Coral reefs spread out immediately from the shallow areas where many types and numbers of tropical fish reside. At high tide, you may encounter shoals of fish. But be careful not to step on or damage the corals while snorkeling. The 500-meter-long beach is also known for its spawning ground for sea turtles.
Shower and toilet facilities, as well as changing rooms, are installed at Yoshino Kaigan Beach.
Tip: Utilize the pick-up and drop-off services between the paid car park and the beach to avoid the need to hike the steep hill between the beach and the parking lot. Note that while the beach has a small free car park, the paid car park is far closer to the facilities.
☛ It is best to snorkel during high tide as the coral can be accidentally damaged during low tide.
☛ The hub jellyfish season at Yoshino Kaigan Beach is between June and September.
☛ There are no lifeguards stationed at Yoshino Kaigan Beach. Please watch out for rips.
☛ There are only two showers and two toilet cubicles at Yoshino Kaigan Beach, one for each gender.
☛ You will need to call the number on the parking ticket to be picked up from the beach (if you parked at the paid car park).
How to Get to Yoshino Kaigan Beach
- Yoshino Kaigan Beach is a 35-minute drive from Miyako Airport (宮古空港) and a 40-minute drive from Hirara Port (平良港).
- Parking costs 500 yen, which includes facility usage fees and pick-up and drop-off between the car park and Yoshino Kaigan Beach.
- The parking lot and shops’ opening hours are from 8:30 am to 6 pm.
- From Miyakojima City Hall (宮古島市役所), take Miyako Kyōei Bus’ (宮古協栄バス) Aragasuku Boraga Line (新城吉野保良線) and get off at Yoshino (吉野). The beach is a 20-minute walk.
Tip: There is an artisan cheese factory called Miyakojima Cheese Kōbō (宮古島チーズ工房) around a 10-minute drive away from Yoshino Kaigan Beach. The yogurt and camembert cheese there are amazing! It has a small bakery attached too!
Boraga Beach (保良泉ビーチ)
If you are after a beach where you can swim anytime during the year, Boraga Beach would be your ideal beach. It is also a beach that has a swimming pool attached.
Another special thing about this pool is that it sources water from underground water instead of seawater. In addition, because Boraga Beach is located just underneath a cliff, you can kayak your way into the Pumpkin Limestone Cave (パンプキン鍾乳洞)!
Another reason Boraga Beach is becoming more popular is the number of facilities. All the facilities and services you need to enjoy a relaxing morning or afternoon are provided by Boraga Beach Park. The beach is basically maintained by the park, which is why you can swim at Boraga Beach all year round.
The park also offers a range of adventure tours for anyone interested, including the tour to the limestone cave.
A List of Watersports You Can Enjoy at Boraga Beach
- Snorkeling; and
For a list of equipment you can rent from Boraga Beach Park, refer to their website HERE and translate it to English using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.
Boraga Beach Tours
Here are a list of tours that you can join to explore Boraga Beach and the Limstone Cave, Pumpkin Hall, which can only be accessed by joning a guided tour.
- Pumpkin Hall Limestone Cave Tour
- Pumpkin Hall Limestone Cave + Snorkeling Tour
- Beach SUP + Tropical Snorkeling + Pumpkin Hall Limestone Cave Canoe Tour
Limestone Cave Pumpkin Hall (パンプキンホール)
Limestone Cave Pumpkin Hall, or just Pumpkin, is the most famous attraction at Boraga Beach. It isn’t because pumpkins grow inside the limestone cave that got its name, but because of the 3-meter-tall pumpkin-shaped stalactite.
So even if you don’t consider exploring a limestone cave interesting in general, this one is not to be missed! Plus, it is only accessible by kayaking, and to proceed further, you need to climb up that huge pumpkin!
Pumpkin Hall is also a spot to make a wish. It is said that if you pray before you jump from the pumpkin into the pool of water, your wish will come true. Although it does sound like nothing, wait until you are atop that pumpkin. It is almost like jumping down from a second floor!
Important: Pumpkin Hall can only be accessed by joining a guided tour.
Things to Watch out for at Boraga Beach
- Boraga Beach is easily affected by the wind. When the south wind is strong, the waves become rough. The rip regularly occurs.
- Usually, a ‘no swimming’ sign (遊泳禁止) is put out when it is dangerous to swim. But do practice common sense if you don’t see one.
- There are many rocky surfaces at the beach, so wearing beach sandals or water shoes is highly recommended.
- Before you swim or snorkel, check with the staff/lifeguard for areas to avoid.
How to Get to Boraga Beach and Boraga Beach Park
- Boraga Beach is a 35-minute drive from Miyako Airport (宮古空港) and a 40-minute drive from Hirara Port (平良港).
- From Miyakojima City Hall (宮古島市役所), take Miyako Kyōei Bus’ (宮古協栄バス) Aragasuku Boraga Line (新城吉野保良線) and get off at Bora (保良). The beach is less than a 20-minute walk.
Important: Drive carefully when you go down the steep hill towards the beach, especially during the wet weather.
Shigira Beach (シギラビーチ)
Shigira Beach is a beach located in Shigira Resort at Miyako-jima Island‘s south end. The beach is known as the spot where you can swim with sea turtles more than 80% of the time. Because of its bay shape, the waves are relatively calm, making it a great spot for kayaking, SUP, and SUP yoga.
Shigira Beach, which has more than 100 kinds of tropical fish, is also a great place for snorkeling and diving. You can rent everything you need from Shigira Beach House (シギラビーチハウス).
Furthermore, Shigira Beach is another beach on Miyako-jima Island where you can swim throughout the year with lifeguards stationed. Note the lifeguards are only stationed from 9 am to 5 pm. From July to September, the lifeguards will patrol the beach until 6 pm.
Important: Shigira Beach is another beach on Miyako-jima Island that has a jellyfish colony. So watch out for them during the peak season from June to September.
☛ If you really want to see sea turtles or tropical fishes, joining a tour will be the best option.
☛ After a snorkeling session, you can enjoy the hot spring at Shigira Hot Spring (シギラ黄金温泉). There is even a swimming space in the hot spring pool!
How to Get to Shigira Beach
- Shigira Beach is a 15-drive from Miyako Airport (宮古空港) and a 50-minute drive from Miyako Shimojishima Airport (下地島空港).
- If you stay overnight at one of the hotels in Shigira Resort, you can take the resort’s shuttle bus to your hotel.
- For your return trip to the airport, please book with your hotel at least three days in advance.
- You can also take Miyako Kyōei Bus’ (宮古協栄バス) Shinzato Miyaguni Line (新里宮国線) and get off at Shigira Beach Iriguchi (シギラビーチ入口).
Imugya Marine Garden (イムギャーマリンガーデン)
Imugya Marine Garden is a seaside park by the natural rocky cove. While the beach isn’t very large, it is calm and perfect for children to swim in. It is also another beach on Miyako Island that is popular for snorkeling.
Even if you don’t want to get wet, the seafront trail leading to the observation deck atop a hill can be another reason to visit this astonishing cove. Although the staircase to the lookout is long, you will be greeted by a cow statue and spectacular scenery!
If you arrive at the beach in the afternoon, instead of departing Imugya Marine Garden after you had your fill, stay for the beautiful sunset!
Imugya Marine Garden is also known as Ingya Marine Garden. Imu means sea, and Gya means spring in Miyako-jima’s language. So together, Imugya means sea’s spring water (海の湧水), which is a perfect description of a cove that has spring water gushing out from the bottom of the sea.
Imugya Marine Garden’s Observatory
From the small beach, there is a small stone pavement along the coastline. As you follow this small road, you will eventually get to the Ingya Bridge (インギャー橋). The observatory atop the stairs on the other side of the bridge is a must-visit spot at Imugya Marine Garden.
A black Miyako cow statue marks the white wooden observatory at the end of the staircases. Although the structure may seem somewhat shabby, it is still sturdy and offers the best view of the East China Sea in the area!
The good thing about this observatory is that there is another promenade on the other side leading back to the coastline, which means that you don’t need to see the same scenery twice!
A return trip from Ingya Bridge to the observatory takes around an hour.
Tip: As there are only a few resting spots along the promenade with shade, remember to bring enough water with you. This is especially important in summer!
Snorkeling at Imugya Marine Garden
Around the Ingya Bridge is where the coral reefs spread out in the sea. It is also where many clownfish live. But just note that the water there can be as deep as 15 meters, so be sure to wear proper equipment to ensure your safety.
Another thing to keep in mind when you swim is that there are no lifeguards stationed at Imugya Marine Garden.
If you need to wash the sand off you, there is a paid shower facility at the side of the beach.
Tip: For diving and snorkeling equipment, you can rent them from DIVE Miyakojima (DIVE宮古島) or the hotels close by. Note that DIVE Miyakojima’s staff only speaks Japanese.
Nariyama Ayagu Monument (なりやまあやぐ発祥の地)
Close to the car park is a stone monument. It is to commemorate that the Tomori Village (友利) near Imugya Marine Garden is the place of origin of Miyako-jima‘s folk song, Nariyama Ayagu.
In October, a Nariyama Ayagu festival is held to enable folk songs to be passed down to the next generation.
Imugya Marine Garden
- Imugya Marine Garden has a free car park with around a capacity of 50 cars.
- You can also take Miyako Kyōei Bus’ (宮古協栄バス) Tomori Line (友利線) and get off at Tomori (友利). Ingya Marine Garden is then a 15-minute walk away.
Important: Imgya Marine Garden is a rocky place. So there is a risk of suffering an injury if you walk barefoot. Instead of beach sandals, water shoes are probably a better option.
Discover Other Awesome Attractions on Miyako Island
On top of the breathtaking beaches, Miyako Island also has a couple of attractions in other categories. There are, of course, farmers’ markets and food-related spots on the island that awaits your visit!
For more information, refer to our article on Miyako Island (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.