Miyako-jima (aka Miyakojima / Miyako Island) is the biggest and the most populous of Miyako Islands (Japan's Okinawa Prefecture) located east of Yaeyama Islands, and between Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan. Miyako Island is administered as part of Miyakojima City which includes Miyako-jima together with 5 other populated isles. Miyakojima City was established in 2005 after the merger of Hirara City with four smaller towns (Gusukube, Irabu, Shimoji, Ueno).
Japan's other similarly named cruise destination is Miyako-Iwate (Honshu Island). Miyakojima is located approx 300 km (190 mi) southwest of Okinawa Island and approx 400 km (250 mi) east of Taipei (Taiwan). Miyako Island covers a total area of approx 159 km2 (61 mi2), ranking it the 4th-largest in the Okinawa prefecture. The island is subject to drought and often struck by typhoons.
The island has population around 56,000. A bridge connects Miyako and Ikema Island (population around 1,000). Miyakojima is most famous with its Eastern Cape, considered one of Japan's most beautiful sites. Other popular tourist locations are Painagama Beach, Maehama Beach, German Cultural Center. There are 3 islands connected via bridges to Miyakojima - Irabujima, Ikemajima and Kurimajima.
Miyakojima is a center of sugarcane cultivation and brown sugar producer. "Miyako Jofu" is a hand-woven, locally produced textile made from ramie fiber (flowering plant). Miyako-jima is home to the unique festival Paantu, which occurs in the 9th month of the lunar calendar. Three men dressed in mud, grass and leaves go walk around the town smearing the mud on people, houses and cars. They carry sticks in one hand and expressionless masks in the other. According to a legend, those who have been muddied by Pantu will have a year of good fortune and protection. Owners of new homes invite Pantu to give his muddy 'blessing' to their houses.
On January 31, 2017, Miyakojima was selected as one of all 6 Japanese ports to receive private funding for structural upgrades of their cruise terminal facilities.
- The project aimed to attract more cruise ships and to increase the number of visiting international passengers. The other ports in that list were Yokohama, Shimizu, Sasebo, Yatsushiro-Kumamoto City and Motobu.
- At the above-listed ports, cruise companies will build passenger terminals and other port facilities using their own funds. Other companies and lines / operators will be also allowed to use these facilities. However, the cruise ship companies that will build the new port facilities will be given priority to use the wharves.
- The companies involved in the port building project are NYK Cruises (subsidiary of the Japanese cargo shipping corporation Nippon Yusen Kaisha / NYK Line) and RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd).
- In 2016, the number of cruise ship visitors to Japan reached 1,9 million. In comparison, the 2013 season's statistics showed only 174,000 passengers.
Miyakojima Island cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Miyako Island dock (anchor) at Hirara - the port of Miyakojima City, located on the north-western coast.
Port Miyakojima Island cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Miyakojima Island, Hirara, Japan Okinawa. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|9 October, 2021|
|National Geographic Orion|