Miyako Island (宮古島, Miyako-jima, Miyako: Myaaku (ミャーク); Okinawan: Naaku (ナーク)) is the largest and the most populous island among the Miyako Islands of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. Miyako Island is administered as part of the City of Miyakojima, which includes not only Miyako Island, but also five other populated islands.[2]

Miyako Island
Native name:
Miyako-jima (宮古島)
Miyako map.jpg
Miyako Island is the largest of the Miyako Islands
Miyako Island is located in Okinawa Prefecture
Miyako Island
Miyako Island
Location of Miyako within Okinawa Prefecture
Miyako Island is located in Japan
Miyako Island
Miyako Island
Location of Miyako within Japan
Miyako Island is located in East China Sea
Miyako Island
Miyako Island
Location of Miyako Islands within the East China Sea
Geography
LocationOkinawa Prefecture
Coordinates24°46′N 125°19′E / 24.767°N 125.317°E / 24.767; 125.317
ArchipelagoMiyako Islands
Adjacent bodies of waterEast China Sea
Area158.87 km2 (61.34 sq mi)[1]
Highest elevation114.8 m (376.6 ft)
Highest pointNakao (ナカオ嶺)
Administration
PrefectureOkinawa Prefecture
Demographics
Population45,625 (2015 national census)[1]
Pop. density275.4/km2 (713.3/sq mi)
Ethnic groupsRyukyuan, Japanese
Aerial view of Miyako Island from northwest.

GeographyEdit

Miyako-jima lies approximately 300 kilometres (186 mi) southwest of Okinawa Island.[2] With an area of 158.70 square kilometres (61.27 sq mi), Miyako is the fourth-largest island in Okinawa Prefecture.[3] The island is triangular in shape and is composed of limestone.[2] Miyako-jima is subject to drought and is frequently struck by typhoons.[2]

Miyako-jima is well known for its beauty, particularly the Eastern Cape (東平安名岬, Higashi-hennazaki), a nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty at the southeasternmost point of Miyako-jima. It is considered by many as one of the most beautiful spots in Japan. Other notable locations include Yonaha Maehama beach, Sunayama beach, Painagama Beach and the sights on Irabu-jima. There are three islands nearby which are connected by bridges to Miyako-jima, Irabujima (as of early 2015), Ikema Island (池間島, Ikema-jima), and Kurima Island (来間島, Kurima-jima).[citation needed]

Ikema Bridge connects Miyako Island and Ikema Island. It is 1,425 metres (4,675 ft)-long and was completed in February 1992.[4] Yonaha Maehama beach can be viewed from the opposite side on Kurima Island. The Miyako language, one of several Ryukyuan languages spoken there to some degree.[citation needed]

GalleryEdit

ClimateEdit

Climate data for Miyakojima (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1937−present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27.0
(80.6)
27.6
(81.7)
28.6
(83.5)
30.7
(87.3)
33.3
(91.9)
35.1
(95.2)
35.3
(95.5)
34.2
(93.6)
34.2
(93.6)
32.5
(90.5)
30.9
(87.6)
28.8
(83.8)
35.3
(95.5)
Average high °C (°F) 20.6
(69.1)
21.1
(70.0)
22.8
(73.0)
25.1
(77.2)
27.7
(81.9)
30.3
(86.5)
31.7
(89.1)
31.3
(88.3)
30.1
(86.2)
27.8
(82.0)
25.3
(77.5)
22.2
(72.0)
26.4
(79.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.3
(64.9)
18.6
(65.5)
20.1
(68.2)
22.5
(72.5)
25.0
(77.0)
27.7
(81.9)
28.9
(84.0)
28.6
(83.5)
27.6
(81.7)
25.5
(77.9)
23.1
(73.6)
20.0
(68.0)
23.8
(74.8)
Average low °C (°F) 16.3
(61.3)
16.6
(61.9)
17.9
(64.2)
20.4
(68.7)
23.0
(73.4)
25.7
(78.3)
26.8
(80.2)
26.5
(79.7)
25.6
(78.1)
23.8
(74.8)
21.3
(70.3)
18.2
(64.8)
21.9
(71.4)
Record low °C (°F) 6.9
(44.4)
7.3
(45.1)
8.6
(47.5)
11.4
(52.5)
15.2
(59.4)
17.4
(63.3)
21.4
(70.5)
21.2
(70.2)
19.7
(67.5)
17.2
(63.0)
12.9
(55.2)
9.6
(49.3)
6.9
(44.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 138.8
(5.46)
119.8
(4.72)
138.7
(5.46)
148.7
(5.85)
222.3
(8.75)
194.7
(7.67)
151.6
(5.97)
257.4
(10.13)
259.3
(10.21)
157.9
(6.22)
139.8
(5.50)
147.2
(5.80)
2,076
(81.73)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.5 mm) 14.3 12.0 12.4 11.3 11.7 11.0 10.6 14.0 13.2 11.2 12.5 13.9 148.2
Average relative humidity (%) 72 74 76 79 82 84 80 81 79 75 74 71 77
Mean monthly sunshine hours 85.5 90.3 116.0 122.9 149.3 191.9 241.0 210.9 179.3 151.9 112.3 92.7 1,743.9
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency[5]

CultureEdit

In Miyako Island, Miruku-potoke (the local name for the Maitreya Buddha) is traditionally believed to be an ugly god who arrives from China to create humans, animals, and crops. The handsome god Saku-potoke (the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, founder of Buddhism) then challenges him to a flower contest and steals the flower while the other sleeps. Miruku-potoke is thus defeated and forced to return to China, which is why China is a prosperous country while Miyako is not. Nearly identical creation myths are found in Korea.[6]

Miyako is home to a unique festival called Paantu (パーントゥ), which occurs in the ninth month of the cultural (lunar) calendar. Three men dressed in grass, leaves and mud walk around town smearing the mud on houses, cars and people. They carry sticks in one hand and an expressionless mask in the other. Legend holds that those who have been muddied by the Pantu will have a year of protection and good fortune. Owners of new homes will also invite Pantu to give a muddy 'blessing' to their homes.[citation needed]

Miyako has its own version of soba. Otōri is a custom of drinking awamori, a distilled beverage native to Okinawa, Japan. It is performed by people sitting (usually around a table). One offers a toast, drinks from a small glass, and then offers some to each person at the table making a round, and usually going to the right. When the toaster makes their way back to their spot, the person who passed the otori before pours them another glass. They then announce "tsunagimasu" and drink their second glass. After a brief interval, it is then the turn of the next person to pass the otori, which continues until the celebration is ended.[citation needed]

EconomyEdit

Miyako is home to sugarcane cultivation, and produces brown sugar.[2] Miyako jōfu is a locally produced hand-woven textile made from ramie fiber. It was formerly known as Satsuma jōfu. The textile traces its production to the Tensho period, 1573–92.[3][7][8]

A large tourism boom in Miyako, starting with locals and Taiwanese visitors in the early 2010s, has been steadily growing with the annual number of tourists reaching over 1 million in both 2018 and 2019.[9] The city has been struggling to cope with cruise megaships from mainland China– currently, the central port in Hirara can only handle ships as large as 50,000 tons but port officials hope to service ships as large as 200,000 tons.[10] The effects of this growing tourist industry may change the character of the island as its population is small and rural.[citation needed]

DefenseEdit

The Miyako Strait has strategic significance. Chinese warships' passage through the straits is monitored by Japanese forces.[11]

In late April 2015, it was confirmed that the Japanese Ministry of Defense was in advanced planning regarding the permanent deployment of a GSDF security unit to Miyakojima, to begin sometime in fiscal year 2016. This is part of ongoing efforts to improve the defenses of the Nansei Islands. A GSDF security unit is a battalion sized force, of up to 500 personnel, whose role on Miyakojima will include providing the initial response to large-scale disasters in the area as well as acting as a rapid response force to counterattacks on remote islands within its area of responsibility.[12][13]

The Miyakojima security unit's exact composition is unclear as of April 2015, though given its known taskings, it is likely that the TOE will include both the Komatsu LAV and soft skinned vehicles with all terrain capability.[citation needed]

Consideration is also currently being given to deploying GSDF units equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to the island.[12][13]

Tokyo has currently earmarked ¥21.2 billion yen ($205 million USD) in FY2021 to build new Japan Coast Guard patrol boats and helicopters for the region, with plans to assign 22 ships of over 1,000 tons in the region by 2024. Miyako-jima's Coast Guard station is home to 9 Shimoji-class small patrol vessels and a Tokara-class medium patrol vessel.[14]

Positioned in between the larger commercial ports of Ishigaki and Naha, Coast Guard facilities on Miyako's neighbor islands can provide 3 Tsugarus, a Kunigami, and a Hateruma class patrol vessel based at the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha and 11 Kunigami-class patrol vessels and 2 Hateruma-class patrol vessels homeported at Ishigaki should the need arise. Along with facilities for housing up to 600 crew, Ishigaki is now JCG's largest base, surpassing even that of Yokohama.[15]

Points of interestEdit

TransportationEdit

AirlinesEdit

LanesEdit

BusesEdit

TrainsEdit

  • The only railway on this island is operated in Shigira Resort, and conformed as a Chairlift, which connects the westernmost with the southernmost points of railway in Japan.
    • Stations : Shigira-ue - the westernmost railway station in Japan. Shigira-shita - the southernmost railway station in Japan.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Remote island related materials (離 島 関 係 資 料)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 February 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Miyakojima". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b "宮古島" [Miyako-jima]. Dijitaru Daijisen (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  4. ^ "Ikema Ohashi", 池間ねっと, 2018. Retrieved on 13 January 2018.
  5. ^ 気象庁 / 平年値(年・月ごとの値). Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  6. ^ Waida, Manabu (1991). "The Flower Contest between Two Divine Rivals. A Study in Central and East Asian Mythology". Anthropos. 86 (1/3): 89–90. ISSN 0257-9774. JSTOR 40462392. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  7. ^ "宮古上布" [Miyako jōfu]. Dijitaru Daijisen (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 56431036. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  8. ^ "宮古上布" [Miyako jōfu]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 153301537. Archived from the original on 25 August 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2012.
  9. ^ "入域観光客数について|行政情報|宮古島市". www.city.miyakojima.lg.jp. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Cruise liner influx overwhelming Miyakojima's economy". 9 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Chinese aircraft carrier sails near Okinawa islands". Japan Times. 18 December 2021.
  12. ^ a b "GSDF unit to deploy on Miyakojima". The Yomiuri Shimbun. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b "GSDF may permanently station hundreds of troops on Okinawan island". The Asahi Shimbun. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  14. ^ Saitō, Katsuhisa (26 April 2021). "The Senkaku Confrontation: Japan's Coast Guard Faces Chinese "Patrol Ships"". Nippon Communications Foundation. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  15. ^ Kanaya, Shohei (23 December 2020). "Japan to bulk up Senkaku patrols as more Chinese ships enter area". Nikkei, Inc. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  16. ^ "JAL Group Offices Information." Japan Airlines. Retrieved on 22 July 2011. "MIYAKO Only Domestic Ticketing Available Address 223 Nishizato Hirara Miyako City, 906-0012" Map
  17. ^ 宮古島100kmワイドーマラソン <1月> Retrieved 20 September 2015 (in Japanese)

External linksEdit