One has to feel sorry for the MIYAKO ISLANDS. Centred around Miyako-jima (宮古島), this small cluster boasts some of the best beaches in all Japan, but these are graced by precious few international visitors. Long overshadowed by Zamami-jima and the Yaeyama group, its appeal took another knock with the closure of ferry services to Naha and Ishigaki, making Miyako an expensive add-on to an Okinawan tour. However, it remains a time-out favourite with mainland Japanese, some of whom stay for weeks or months on end, chalking off beach after beach and dive after dive.

The flat, triangular-shaped island of Miyako-jima is roughly 35km from tip to tip – its most immediately notable aspect is field after field of sugar cane. HIRARA (平良), the main town, lies on the island’s northwest coast, from where roads fan out through the fields.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Japan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A taste of Tokyo: the city’s best food experiences

A taste of Tokyo: the city’s best food experiences

If you really want to get to the heart of Tokyo's culinary scene, you'll need to go beyond the city's bustling restaurants and best-loved drinking dens. Rebecc…

21 Jul 2017 • Rebecca Hallett local_activity Special feature
11 tips for backpacking Japan

11 tips for backpacking Japan

With its tech-centric entertainment, ancient temples, lightning fast rail system and traditional art forms, Japan offers a fascinating mix of the new and the o…

07 Jul 2017 • Tamatha Roman insert_drive_file Article
Staying in a Japanese ryokan: a first-timer's guide

Staying in a Japanese ryokan: a first-timer's guide

It’s a cliché to say that Japan is a land of contrasts – but, in terms of accommodation, it really is. There are some weird and many wonderful places to s…

12 Jun 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month