Miyako (宮古市) is a small city on the Pacific coast of Iwate Prefecture, on Honshu, Japan's main island. As of May 2021, Miyako had a population of approximately 49,500 people.
The main attraction is its surrounding national park and the Jodogahama Beach. Many people tour the Sanriku Coast, a long stretch of beautiful rugged coastline that extends all the way from Miyagi through Miyako all the way to Aomori.
The JR Yamada line is frequently used, which brings you from Morioka to Miyako in around 2-2½ hours (¥1980). Bear in mind that there are only four to six round trips per day on the line. Seat reservations can be made on the rapid services.
For about the same price (just under ¥2000), you can take the more frequent "106 Bus" run by Iwate Kenpoku. There is about one bus per hour, the earliest leaving Morioka/Miyako around 6 and the last at about 8:30. From Morioka Station, go out the East Exit and board the bus at stop #7 (乗り場7). From Miyako, board the bus in front of the JTB Travel Agency.
Given the paucity of convenient public transportation, a rental car is another way to efficiently and conveniently get to the city; in fact for those wishing to start touring the Sanriku Coast northwards from Miyako, a rental car is essentially the only way to do it. From the east, Route 106 goes to Miyako from Morioka. From the north and south, the Sanriku Expressway goes through the city, as does Route 45.
Half a dozen buses leave from the stops in front of the station. From stop number 3 buses leave hourly for Jodogahama Beach and get there in about 20 minutes. Get off one stop earlier at the Terminal Building (ターミナルビル) and walk along the coast for some 500 meters to save a few yen and see more.
- Jodogahama Beach (浄土ヶ浜), Hitachihamacho, Miyako. One of the few attractions around Miyako, but it alone is worth planning a stopover in the city. There are also some nice hiking trails around the same area. Free. edit
- Earthquake Heritage Taro Kanko Hotel (震災遺構 たろう観光ホテル), 80-1 Nohara Taro, Miyako (12 min walk from Shintaro Stn), ☎ 019-377-3305, . Here you can see the ruins of a popular tourist hotel built in 1986 and damaged beyond repair in the 2011 tsunami. Looking at the heavy damage will definitely leave an impression. Free. edit
- Sanno Park (三王眺望公園), 164 Aozari Taro, Miyako, ☎ 019-362-2111, . This park has excellent views over the bay when the weather is clear, including the 50m high Sanno-Iwa rocks formed 100 million years ago, and the Omoe Peninsula which has Cape Todogasaki and the easternmost place on Honshu. You can also see monuments to how high past tsunami have reached the shore from the Meiji Era to the present. Free. edit
- Masaki Coast (真崎海岸). This peninsula north of the main city also has several scenic and mostly uncrowded places, including views from the Harashita Observatory and Masaki Lighthouse, Masaki Beach, and Numanohama Beach. Free. edit
- Sea Kayak Cruiser (シーカヤック・クルーザー体験), ☎ 019-371-1120, . At the Rias Harbor Miyako between May and October you can try sea kayakking with the help of a guide. Reservations needed at least 90 minutes prior, and wear some clothes that can get wet. The class takes 2 hours before the kayakking. ¥3500. edit
- Snake Eyes (蛇の目本店; Ja no me honten), 2-8 Sakaecho, Miyako (On the left when exiting Miyako Stn), ☎ 019-362-1383. 10AM–9PM, Closed Wed. Serves a wide variety of Japanese food to suit any taste. English-speaking staff is also available. edit
- Kaishu (味処 海舟), 1-1-38 Tsukiji, Miyako (Going to Jodogahama, head east on Suehiro St. When the road curves left, it's about 50m on the left), ☎ 019-362-1319, . This ryokan and restaurant has great seafood. ¥2000-3000. edit
- Yoshi Sushi (よし寿司), 4-27 Hokuda, Miyako, ☎ 019-362-1017. 11AM–2PM, 4:30PM-9:30PM, Closed Mon. Some locals say this is the best sushi in town. The restaurant serves blowfish (fugu) and also has a large Japanese sake selection. edit
- Kaiho (海宝), 2-6-9 Nagane, Miyako (15 min walk west from Miyako Stn), ☎ 019-364-7755. A conveyor belt sushi restaurant with friendly staff. Limited English spoken. edit
- Elk (エルク), 1-4-16 Ōdori, Miyako (Walk down Ōdori (coming from the station) and you will see a sign for it on your left.), ☎ 019-362-6266. ~1AM, Closed Mon. The premier hostess bar in town, coming in at around ¥700 for a beer. The atmosphere is friendly and it's a great place to practice your Japanese. The clientele are made up of local politicians and branch directors, so it's also a good place to make connections if you're in Miyako long-term. 700~. edit
Roji is an izakaya in the center of town (4-1-14 Odori). The bartender is knows his sake and will quite often give you free samples should you express an interest. It comes in a little bit expensive, but the food and decor are first class. Normally stays open until around 1 AM.
Momo's Bar and Tomato Club (4-3-21 Odori) are two hostess bars located close to the above S/Roji. Cheaper than the Elk but you get what you pay for. The bar staff are less pretty and sometimes less friendly. Also, you will need to bring some Japanese skills with you.
- Suehiro-kan Youth Hostel, just a two minutes walk from the station. It's an old but clean place with no curfew, though you might be hard pressed to stay out late in the city.
- Miyako Station Koyō (宮古ステーション古窯) is a business hotel located about five minutes away from the station, with clean, modern rooms and free broadband internet connections available to those with computers. Each room also has two free pornographic television channels.
For the latest info on events, happenings, and things to see and do, see the page of the Miyako Tourism Association (宮古市観光協会, Miyako Kankō Kyōkai) Tel. 019-362-3534, or see the tourist info office next to Miyako Station.
- Tanohata — Isolated coastal village with Kitayamasaki, one of the Pacific coast's most beautiful spots.
- Hiraizumi — Former seat of power with a Fujiwara family branch, with several notable temples and excellent sights.
- Morioka — Major transportation hub and popular for its many noodle dishes.
- Sendai — Biggest city in the Tohoku Region with many nice temples, festivals, shopping, and sightseeing.
- Kesennuma — Coastal city famous for its fish market and getting decimated in the 2011 tsunami.
- Tashirojima — The most famous and popular of around a dozen "Cat Islands" in Japan, with several hundred feline residents ready to befriend you.
- Matsushima — Located about 40 minutes away by local train (Senseki Line), is a bay full of tiny pine covered islands and is recognized as one of the three most beautiful views in Japan.
- Ichinoseki — Famous for its magnificent Geibikei and Genbikei gorges, hydrangea garden, and numerous museums.