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Native name: Miyakojima (宮古島 ?)
Miyakojima in Okinawa Map.gif
The location of Miyakojima City in Okinawa.
Miyako-jima is located in Okinawa
Miyako-jima (Okinawa)
Location Okinawa Prefecture
Coordinates 24°46′N 125°19′E / 24.767°N 125.317°E / 24.767; 125.317
Archipelago Ryukyu
Major islands Okinawa
Area 158.70 km²
Highest point Nakao (115 meters)
Population  55,914 (as of 10/30/2006)
Density 275.4 /km2 (713 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Ryukyuans
Miyakojima - Higashi-hennazaki

Miyakojima (Miyako: mjaːku; Okinawan: naːku, mjaːku; Japanese: 宮古島) is the largest and the most populous island among the Miyako Islands of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It lies approximately 400 kilometres east of Taipei, Taiwan. With an area of 158.70 square kilometres, Miyako is the fourth-largest island in Okinawa Prefecture.

Miyakojima is well-known for its beauty, particularly the Eastern Cape (東平安名岬 Higashi-hennazaki ?), which is considered by many as one of the most beautiful spots in Japan. Other places worth noting include Maehama beach, the German Cultural Center, Painagama Beach, and the sights on Irabu-jima. Miyako also has its own version of Miyako soba.

There are two close islands which are connected by bridges to Miyako-jima:

  • Ikemajima (池間島 Ikema-jima ?)
  • Kurimajima (来間島 Kurima-jima ?)

The Miyako language, one of several Ryukyuan languages, is spoken here.

Miyako airport is the only airport on the island.

Rites unique to Miyakojima

There is a unique festival called Pantu (パーントゥ), which occurs in the ninth month of the old (lunar) calendar. Three men dressed in grasses and mud go about smearing it everywhere. They carry sticks in one hand and a simple but scary mask in the other. Those people who have been dirtied by the Pantu will have a year of protection. Owners of new homes will also invite Pantu to give a 'blessing' to their homes.

Points of interest

External links

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