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Miyako (宮古, Miyako-shi) is a city located in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 June 2019, the city had an estimated population of 52,782, and a population density of 42 persons per km². The total area of the city is 1,259.15 square kilometres (486.16 sq mi).[1]


Top left: Cape Todo and lighthouse, Top right: Miyako Bay from satellite, 2nd row: Mount Hayachine, lower left: Jyodo Beach, lower right: Sano Rock, Bottom left: Tago Port, Bottom right: Rosoku (Candle)
Top left: Cape Todo and lighthouse, Top right: Miyako Bay from satellite, 2nd row: Mount Hayachine, lower left: Jyodo Beach, lower right: Sano Rock, Bottom left: Tago Port, Bottom right: Rosoku (Candle)
Flag of Miyako
Official seal of Miyako
Location of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture
Location of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture
Miyako is located in Japan
Coordinates: 39°38′29.1″N 141°57′25.7″E / 39.641417°N 141.957139°E / 39.641417; 141.957139Coordinates: 39°38′29.1″N 141°57′25.7″E / 39.641417°N 141.957139°E / 39.641417; 141.957139
 • -MayorMasanori Yamamoto (since 2009)
 • Total1,259.15 km2 (486.16 sq mi)
 (June 1, 2019)
 • Total52,782
 • Density42/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (Japan Standard Time)
City symbols 
- TreeJapanese red pine
- FlowerMontauk daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum)
- BirdBlack-tailed gull
- FishChum salmon
Phone number0193-62-2111
Address2-1 Shinkawachō, Miyako-shi, Iwate-ken 027-8501


Miyako is located in central Iwate Prefecture, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, with the main urban area fronting on Miyako Bay. It is connected to Morioka by an east-west train line and highway and the coastal highway also goes through the town. The city has a small port but much of the shipping traffic is taken by larger cities along the coast. Parts of the coastal area of the city are within the borders of the Sanriku Fukkō National Park, and part of the mountainous interior is within Hayachine Quasi-National Park. Over 80% of the city area is covered by mountains and forest. The easternmost point of Honshu island is at Cape Todo (魹ヶ崎, Todogasaki) in Miyako.

Downtown of Miyako

Neighboring municipalitiesEdit


Miyako has a humid climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) characterized by mild summers and cold winters. The average annual temperature in Miyako is 10.9 °C. The average annual rainfall is 1282 mm with September as the wettest month and February as the driest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 22.9 °C, and lowest in January, at around 0.2 °C.[2]


Per Japanese census data,[3] the population of Miyako has declined over the past 40 years.

Census Year Population
1970 79,805
1980 78,617
1990 72,538
2000 66,986
2010 59,442


The area of present-day Miyako was part of ancient Mutsu Province, and has been settled since at least the Jōmon period. The area was inhabited by the Emishi people, and came under the control of the Yamato dynasty during the early Heian period with the construction a fortified settlement on the coast. During the Muromachi period, the area came under the control of the Nambu clan, and was the main seaport for Morioka Domain during the Edo period under the Tokugawa shogunate.

On 27 January 1700, the coast of Miyako was hit by a 3 metres (9.8 ft) tsunami that was a product of the 1700 Cascadia earthquake, destroying 20 homes. The record from Miyako helped provide an exact date for the earthquake.[4]

During the Boshin War of the Meiji restoration, the Battle of Miyako Bay was one of the major naval engagements of the war.

Under the Meiji period establishment of the modern municipalities system, the towns of Miyako and Kuwagasaki were established within Higashihei District. The area was devastated by a 18.9 metres (62 ft) tsunami in 1896, which killed 1859 inhabitants. Higashihei District became part of Shimohei District on April 1, 1897. Miyako and Kuwagasaki merged on April 1, 1924. On March 3, 1933, much of the town was destroyed by the 1933 Sanriku earthquake, which killed 911 people and destroyed over 98% of the buildings in the town. Miyako attained city status on June 20, 1940.

On June 6, 2005, Miyako absorbed the town of Tarō, and village of Niisato, more than doubling the old city's size. On January 1, 2010, Miyaki absorbed the village of Kawai (also from Shimohei District).

2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunamiEdit

On March 11, 2011, Miyako was devastated by a tsunami caused by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.[5] Only about 30–60 boats survived from the town's 960 ship fishing fleet.[6][7] A subsequent field study by the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute revealed that the waters had reached at least 37.9 metres (124 ft) above sea level, almost equaling the 38.2 metres (125 ft) meter record of the 1896 Sanriku earthquake tsunami.[8] The final reported death toll from the disaster was 420 confirmed dead, 92 missing, and 4005 buildings destroyed.[9]

Some of the most iconic footage of the tsunami, repeatedly broadcast worldwide, was shot in Miyako. It shows a dark black wave cresting and overflowing a floodwall and tossing cars, followed by a fishing ship capsizing as it hit the submerged floodwall and then crushed as it was forced beneath a bridge.[10][11]


Miyako City Hall

Miyako has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city legislature of 28 members.


The local economy of Miyako is based heavily on commercial fishing and food processing.



Primary and secondary educationEdit

  • Miyako has 21 public elementary schools and 11 public junior high schools operated by the city government. The city has five public high schools operated by the Iwate Prefectural Board of Education and one private high school. Iwate Prefecture also operates one special education school.


Local attractionsEdit

International relationsEdit

Noted people from MiyakoEdit

In popular mediaEdit


  1. ^ "Minako City official home page".
  2. ^ Miyako climate data
  3. ^ Miyako population statistics
  4. ^ Kenji Satake; Kunihiko Shimazaki; Yoshinobu Tsuji; Kazue Ueda (18 January 1996). "Time and size of a giant earthquake in Cascadia inferred from Japanese tsunami records of January 1700". Nature. 379 (6562): 246–249. Bibcode:1996Natur.379..246S. doi:10.1038/379246a0.
  5. ^ Kyodo News, "Deaths, people missing set to top 1,600: Edano", The Japan Times, 13 March 2011.
  6. ^ Agence France-Presse/Jiji Press, "Fishermen who lost livelihoods determined to return to cruel sea", The Japan Times, 4 April 2011, p. 2.
  7. ^ Fukada, Takahiro, "Iwate fisheries continue struggle to recover", The Japan Times, 21 September 2011, p. 3.
  8. ^ Iwate saw wave test 38 meters, The Japan Times (Kyodo News), 4 April 2011
  9. ^ 岩手県発行 岩手県東日本大震災津波の記録 p43
  10. ^ "東北・関東地震 宮古市の港に到達した津波". 39°38′28″N 141°57′26″E / 39.6412°N 141.9573°E / 39.6412; 141.9573 (location where video was shot, ±10 meters): YouTube. 2011-03-11. Archived from the original (video) on 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2011-04-25.
  11. ^ "When Tsunami hit Miyako" (photo). Panoramio. 39°38′28.54″N 141°57′26.85″E / 39.6412611°N 141.9574583°E / 39.6412611; 141.9574583. Retrieved 2011-04-25.[dead link]
  12. ^ a b "International Exchange". List of Affiliation Partners within Prefectures. Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Miyako, Iwate at Wikimedia Commons