Miyako, while being a high traffic tourist destination for Japanese tourists, is farther off the radar from the international traveler. It has good diving and excellent beaches, local Okinawan cuisine, and culture. These islands have truly embraced the Okinawan slow, relaxed lifestyle. In Miyako you can do everything from lounge on Maehama beach, play beach volleyball, play golf, make your own shisa, listen to the sanshin, or, if you're feeling very competitive, participate in the local Stongman Triathlon, held every April.
While most of the people in Miyako are friendly, Japanese is the main language, followed by the local hogen, or local dialects of each individual town as well as island. While finding English speakers is possible, consider it rare.
Hirara has a fairly decent sized airport for such a small island, and there are flights daily to and from national Japanese locations such as Naha, Ishigaki, and more rarely mainland Japan, such as Osaka and Tokyo.
Ferries also visit through Hirara port from Naha and Ishigaki.