Just north of the Tropic of Cancer, the Miyako Islands (宮古諸島) are an open secret that more visitors have lately been discovering. The islands' appeal is not at all surprising, as they happen to have some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the Southwest Islands, with good diving, snorkelling and kiteboarding to boot. Comprising the island group are the main island of Miyako-jima, along with Ikema-jima, Irabu-jima, Shimoji-jima and Kurima-jima, plus a scattering of tiny islets.
In 2015, nine years of construction culminated in the opening of the 3540m Irabu Bridge (伊良部大橋), rendering the ferry obsolete and making Irabu-jima and Shimoji-jima much more easily accessible from Miyako-jima. Despite the increased ease of getting here, these islands retain a stuck-in-time feel and unhurried pace, enhanced by abiding island congeniality.