Miyako (Okinawa)

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Kaz Ish
Miyako (宮古島 Miyakojima) is the largest of the Miyako Islands. Most of the Miyako's 50,000 or so residents live in Hirara, the main business and entertainment district on the island. The rest of the island is pretty much undeveloped, with the exception of a few coastal tourist spots, especially Shigira in the south. Sugar cane and to a lesser extent tobacco are the island's cash crops. There is not much to see, not much of a downtown, no man-made wonders to behold, no rivers to explore and no mountains to climb. Don't despair! The lack of rivers and mountains means there is no silty run-off to cloud the water. Miyako and the two connected islands, Kurima to the west and Ikema to the north, have miles of nameless white sand beaches and clear blue water. On a moonlit night you can wade out chest deep to watch the "yakouchu" and still see your toes wiggle. During the day the snorkeling, diving and other beach activities are as good as it gets in Okinawa.

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