Miyako-Jima

CONTRIBUTED BY LEAH MAGID

Miyako View
Miyako View by Stephanie Magid
Miyako Beach
Miyako Beach

Mid-October, my little family and I took a much-needed vacation to the small island of Miyako (Jima is “island”). I had been looking for a quiet, close place to visit for a while, and a few months ago I found Miyako. Just a 45 minute flight from Naha, Miyako is part of the Okinawa Prefecture. There are several, smaller islands surrounding Miyako, including Kurima and Ikema, both of which are linked by bridges. Irabu is currently receiving a bridge from Miyako, and we are told it will be finished in two years.

So, do the Magids book in at an all-inclusive? Do we desire a stay in the tourist area? Do we want a high-rise hotel with daily maid visits, room service and a spa? Heck to the no. We want a little place, out of the way, with a view of the ocean and a lot of privacy. Pai Base Resort delivered, and they exceeded our expectations. Our hosts picked us up at the airport in an enormous (for Japan) van and drove us the 20 minute to their resort. They pointed out grocery stores and “konbini” on the way, along with the closest gas station.

After hurtling down a road lined with sugarcane and construction vehicles, we arrived at a one-story, stone house. The rental cars (only Y1,000 per day extra for insurance) were parked across the tiny country road. We were greeted by a rather large gecko when we entered the common area which was furnished with gorgeous, immovable Thai furniture. A bug of undisclosed identity also attempted to greet the back of my neck. I don’t even want to know.

Miyako Room
Miyako Room

After we signed in (no passports needed), we were shown to our gorgeous room. Words just don’t describe it, so I have included some iPhone snaps.

We got our belongings stashed away in the giant closet, selected our beds (a roll-away for The Girl) and settled in to a night of acclimation. At about 11:30, we heard a rapping, tapping, tapping on our chamber door…OK, it was the sliding glass door, but whatever. It was our generous hosts with three giant Orion draft beers. (He thought The Girl was old enough; She did not). We accepted all three beers with a raucous “KAMPAI” and followed the pair out to the yard. It was pitch black outside, and we could hear the rushing of the waves on the shore that they referred to as “our ocean,” which they indicated we could get to by using stairs.

Miyako Orion
Miyako Orion

Why were we outside? That is where bugs live. Perhaps snakes. We looked up to where our host was pointing and shut our collective face. With my family by my side, a cold local beer in my hand and three full days of relaxation ahead of me, I stared up at the most stars I have seen in over 20 years. The night view beat the sky of Houghton Lake, Lake Superior, the Mediterranean Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean near Cambria. There, in the middle of the sky, plain as the pointy nose on my face, was the Milky Way. I would be fibbing if I said I didn’t tear up a little as we showed Steph her first true glimpse of the universe. I have always wanted to give my child the world, and now I have given her the Galaxy.

Hotel Website:  http://paibase.com/index_en.php

Room Charge: Yen 15,000 for one room per day (Maximum 2 person)
Extra bed can be arranged by paying Yen 2,000 per nigh t(Maximum 2 extra bed per room)
Baby bed , Yen 2,000 per night.
※ The room rates above exclude consumption tax per room.
※ If you wish to stay 3-4 people in a room, please request extra bed.
※ Sharing a bed with infant can be accepted.
They will pick you up at the airport, and a rental car is Y1,000 per day (for insurance).

Airline Website:  Skymark —  http://www.skymark.jp/en/
Depending on how far in advance (max 60 days), web specials, etc., it is between $36 and $76 each way.  There are several flights each day, ranging from 0800 to 1900 departure.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Does anyone have any info on the haunted abandoned tea house in Miyako? Interested in visiting sometime due to supposed “rampant” paranormal activity that goes on there, but no idea where it is. I’ve gotten extremely limited (almost zero) info from Google searching.

  2. We are heading to Miyako in 2 weeks time. Can’t wait. I am really hoping to share the stargazing experience with my 6 year old. Growing up in Africa we were spoilt as far as starscapes are concerned. 🙂 One thing I have read is that Miyako is the only Okinawan Island that doesn’t have Habu snakes. (But apparently big spiders instead. :-))

  3. Miyako Island and Pai Base Resort were truly amazing. As a single traveler I spent 3 nights/4 days exploring the island and relaxing at the resort. Even with half of it being a bit rainy it was still so nice. Yoriko and Kiyotaka were wonderful. I def recommend for family, couples, or even friends…if you just want to get away and relax Pai Base is the place. Even more so as I checked out some of the other places while touring the island. Can’t beat it! I look forward to going back with someone special.

  4. Thank you for the great post!!! I am currently planning a short vacation for my husband and I. We are planning on going somewhere for a week or less in July (a babymoon vacation… I will be 6 months pregnant). I am debating now between Miyako Island and Ishigaki Island. I loved your info about Miyako and the wonderful sounding Pai Based Resort. Pai sounds like just what we want!! We do not want busy, tour-isty, high rise hotel or all inclusive resort. We want a place to relax and connect before the baby comes and we officially stop sleeping for a year! I was wondering what type of activities and attractions you experinced on the island? Obviously, I will not be doing Scuba or kayak tours but I do love beaches, the ocean, and will still be able to snorkel. What is there to see on the island? What was your experience with food and dining? Was there a good mix of local (Okinawan) food as well as other options? Did Pai Base Resort have a bar/cafe/restraunt?? Did you explore either of the neighboring islands (Kurima and Ikema) via bridge?
    Sorry for all of the questions but there is a lot more info out there about Ishigaki Island (and other Yaeyama Islands) so I thought I would ask someone with personal experience of Miyako.
    Thanks so much!

    • Amber, I just came from Miyako and can answer some of your questions.
      1. Plenty of sites to see (they will give you an english sightseeing guide with highlights and maps. Too much to list in this message.
      2. I actually didn’t eat at any resturants (you have a kitchen so I cooked or got bento boxes from Max Value). Pai Base doesn’t have any food options…you’ll have to drive about 10 minutes to the nearest place).
      3. Kurima and Ikema were fairly small and a pretty quick tour, but worth it (I think). You can catch a ferry to Irabu Island (I didn’t explore that this time around).
      4. I’ve been to Ie, Kudka, and Yoron Islands. All are beutiful if you just want to relax then all are fairly good options. Some with more things to do than others, but all relaxing.

      Hope this helps. Have fun exploring!!

  5. We traveled to Miyako-jima with our then 17-yr. old daughter, she won an essay contest and they flew all 3 of us for free, free rental car, and 1 night hotel free. It was cooler than we had hoped for weather-wise, because as I recall, we had to travel before a certain date in March. The island is very rural with beautiful views, lots of sugar cane fields and lilies. The hotel was older but comfortable, the pool was FREEZING, there was a glass bottom boat tour nearby. The old German-style resort area was next door and there was one good restaurant there which had live music at night. The food was o.k. but otherwise, we were starving! They were building many golf courses there. We chose to drive around the perimeter of the island on our last day, and finally we found a potter’s residence and studio we had been looking for. He did not speak any English but the pottery was beautiful, we bought 2 pieces, very expensive but unusual. I saved his card but cannot read it – it is in kanji. Not an exciting place to visit with a teen but I think she will remember its beauty and a snapshot of a much slower pace of life, plus she had that wonderful exploration experience with Mom and Dad!!!

  6. Miyako is a nice place. But that is also the place I saw the largest spiders I have ever seen in my life. They were those bird-catching spiders – each leg (I swear) was at least 8-10 inches long, if not longer. Big, fat, and hairy.

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