In May 2013, we started our honeymoon in Tokyo then travelled our way to Kyoto and then Osaka. Each city has been so incredible and so different from each other, and after packing in as much as we could in each place, we are more than ready to relax on a beach for the final leg of our journey in Miyako, Okinawa.
Okinawa is known as the Hawaii of Japan and is located in the most Southern part of Japan. It's made up of a few dozen small islands and we'd decided on Miyako Island which apparently had the best beaches in Okinawa. It's subtropical climate means it is warm all year round and the weather was perfect when we arrived at the end of May.
After catching the Nankai Airport Express train from Namba station in Osaka, we arrived at Kansai airport to catch our flight to Miyako, Okinawa. But before we check in, we need to hunt for the luggage storage services as we plan on storing one of our large suitcases to make travelling around easier. After Okinawa, we are flying back to London from Osaka so the logistics worked out great.
We're flying with ANA airlines with a short stopover in Naha, the capital of Okinawa. ANA airlines have the friendliest and most polite air hostesses we've ever met, making our short flight very enjoyable.
We have 1 hour at Naha airport until the connecting flight to Miyako. We need snacks.
BBQ'd vegetables crisps. Sounds bland, tastes so good!
Okinawa soba is the start of a love affair. The noodles are more like udon than soba. Lovely and bouncy with a yellow tint to them. They're served with braised pork belly, fish cake slices, some red pickles, spring onions and roasted sesame. The soup is super hydrating and refreshing with a mild and mellow savoury hit. Airport noodles in Japan are top class.
Arriving into Miyako airport. The sea and weather is just beautiful.
We're staying at Hotel Southern Coast Miyakojima, a business hotel which I picked for it's location in the centre of the island. It's a short walk into the the town area where all the restaurants and shops are, it's close by a retail park which has a huge supermarket and outlet stores and there's a beach right opposite the hotel. There's also a convenience store and a couple of restaurants just outside the main entrance.
They rent bikes out which are handy for the getting into town or the retail park if you don't fancy walking, and those massage chairs in the lobby are fantastic. Our only issue was, no one really seemed to be able to speak English.
Our room is the most spacious of all the hotels we've stayed at in Japan.
This is the view of Painagama beach from our room. Whohoo! This long road leads up into the town area.
It's late afternoon by the time we've had some snacks and a freshen up. We want to check out the main beach in Miyako - Maehama beach. This is where the Hawaii of Japan comes from with it's beautiful white sand and clear blue sea. It stretches an impressive 7 kilometers long!
We ask reception to help us book a taxi, since public transport doesn't really exist and it was too far to bike it. It didn't occur to us that once we were at the beach, there was no where to use a phone to order another taxi to take us back to the hotel, so it was lucky that our smart taxi driver uncle asked us if we wanted him to pick us up in a few hours. Yes please! Our language barrier sadly meant we couldn't have more of a conversation but at least we managed to get the basics covered. We ended up booking him every day for our beach trips.
Now, time for a few hours on the beach.
Maehama is a striking and impressive beach. The colour of the sand and sea meeting the brilliant blue sky was a feast for the eyes.
However, there's not much on the beach in terms of facilities. There's a restaurant with staff hanging around but when we asked for the menu, they said there was no food! Stupidly, we didn't bring any snacks or drinks and we were here for the next 2 hours.
We learnt our lesson, always bring food and drinks to a foreign beach.
Tomorrow is another day and another beach.
Read the rest of our Japan Travels here!