Saturday, May 10, 2014

Miyako revisited!

....This time, with a car! And, boy, what a difference it makes!

I can now tell you all the beaches on the island and few other spots to see too!
(Two years ago, this is what I wrote..)

On  the way to Maehama beach

2014 yields this....

Clockwise around the island starting from the
Tokyu Resort Hotel.

Maehama beach and the bridge to Kurimajima in the distance

The Tokyu Resort is very nice and recommended, but by certainly no means essential to making your stay on the island awesome. (While the rooms overlook Maehama Beach, which is owned and joined by  a walkway to the hotel, visitors outside of the hotel may of course come and enjoy Japan's best beach ever¬!

In season, the beach caters for many activities, there is a pedal boat, a safe, cordoned off area for families to swim and play as well as the entire ocean for snorkeling!

The path towards Yonohama Bay
 Follow this path and head north along the west coast and enjoy a pathway around to 
Yonohama Bay

Yonaha Bay &
                                  Yonohama Beach which was shallow enough to wade far out.  

Following the coast line further north and the signs will direct you to Sunset beach
Painagama Beach ...
Painagahama Beach

Quirky little shop at the parking lof by Sunayama Beach
and Sunayama Beach
All important map at Sunayama Beach

The sandy path to Sunayama Beach

As we drove around the island, we were fortunate to be able to find the Yuki Shio Saltworks 

( It's the salt mill but the salt is something else - it contains the most minerals in the world (!) and a place in the Guinness world of records as a result. It looks like snow and tastes pure and fresh and...salty!!! It was on the list of recommendations, and you might not consider it on a vacation to miyako, but actually, it was worth it! We ate ice cream and tried ALL the flavours of salt as topping!!

Ikema Island
Ikema island cafe
 We drove around the island; there was not a lot to see save some houses, a school, a small park. It made for a pleasant drive and at the end of which, we stopped for some tea and cake and a view of the island opposite (Ogami Island) and the Ikema bridge.

Sea Grapes, Umi Budou, 海ぶどう

We chanced upon this amazing sea grape farm. It was just before the Ikema bridge, on the left, signposted, but a little too late so it was easy to miss the turn. Equally, prepare for a quick right just as soon as you come back from Ikema island and off the bridge.

My husband loves sea grapes more than me, I am sure, so he was super overjoyed to have found this farm. The freshest and most amazing experience ever. You can buy a massive box for 400yen, which by far beats the small souvenirs ones in Naha shopping street!

I strongly recommend this as a stop on the island. (There are no doubt a few more farms, this was just the one that we found and easily!)

Shimajiri Mangroves, Batarazu Bay
Follow the boardwalk and enjoy the tranquility of the nature around. Mangroves are swampy marshes of tropical fun! This is more of a must-see than the tropical garden! It is far more unique to observe the ground and the creatures popping up and down and scampering around.

We saw butterflies and small lizards, but it was the small red crabs and their amazing beady eyes that won the show! You gotta stand still though!!

Check out his black eyes!

Miyakojima Botanical Gardens

The thing is that we are on a tropical island surrounded by nature anyway, but this beautiful inland park is free to enter and is just  lovely place to be!

Aragusuku Coast

The pictures speak for much sea waste washed up on the shore...but I get the impression the beaches are cleaned before the summer season hits...
perhaps fugu - puffer fish!

Seems like a touristy area, so the clean-up should start soon, I guess?

Yoshino coast
Last time, we were able to do a fair bit of snorkelling on this beach. This time round, it was earlier in the month of March plus it was later in the day and the tide was out. Still, there were many things to find on this beautiful beach....

Bora beach para
There is a restaurant and parking here, so I imagine the beach is (or will be) clean and popular. We didn;t have the time to explore this one so no pictures. Sorry!

Cape Higashi Hennazaki
This cape is a lovely stretch of path that takes you out to the edge to really appreciate the views around you.

Mamuya's tombstone

Ingya Marine Park

German Culture Village

                          I have no pictures of this save these from the last visit -
even from a German person's perspective who might be yearning for a bit of homegrown culture, this is a peculiar place. Still, it is a novelty for those never to set foot in Deutschland. These police figures can be found around the island in connection with the Deutsch theme park; yes, it really is quite amusing!

Kurima Island
The bridge to Kurima island

Our path leads us back to the Tokyu resort, but not without a quick detour over another bridge. Last time, we tried to cycle over the bridge but got quickly lay and tired half way. We learnt this time that we didn't miss much at all!
There is next to NOTHING on the island, even less than Ikema, which is rather lively in comparison!
We drove around the island, stopped to admire a dirty beach on which someone had been playing around with the rocks and built endless cairns!
The view of Tokyu from Kurima

What's this? Sea cucumber? なまこ?

There is a wonderful pottery shop adjoining a coffee snack place, run by the same family at the beginning of the island. Strongly recommend a visit!

Plus, there is a food place opposite, but off-season, so much is shut!


Miyakojima, Miyako island or even 'paradise' is worth a visit from Japan / Okinawa mainland.