I never imagined that I would go to Okinawa during my first year in Japan as a student. It was just a sudden decision to spend summer holiday in Miyakojima, a beautiful island part of the Ryukyu chain. Airfare from Fukuoka to Miyakojima was around 12,000 yen through Skymark airlines, and with a sense of adventure decided to seek affordable accommodations once there. Most of the accommodations in my price range were located pretty far from the beach, though many hotels are close, or even have own beach. Not really an option for a student on a budget. We spent four nights in Guest House Hidamari for 1,500 yen per person/night, a type of dormitory room with eight bunk style beds and shared facilities, including a kitchen, bathroom, and toilet.The guest house offers pick up service from Miyako airport for 500 yen one way per person.
The island is famous for Okinawa soba, so I tried the restaurant near the guest house called Goya. The taste of Okinawa soba was delicious, and quite different from other soba styles that I have tried in Japan.
The first day I arrived at noon, and just spent my day walking around the nearest beach to my guesthouse. The next day, I joined a paddleboard course in Maehama beach and spent an hour relaxing on the beach. The one and a half hour paddleboard course was about 3,000 yen per person, and they prepared everything for us. They even provided transportation to and from the guesthouse, which made the course even more of a bargain. Maehama beach was very nice with perfect weather, and I definitely wanted more time to lay down on the sand and play at the beach. Even though it was summer holiday, there were not so many tourists, so it was great. The third day, I joined a snorkeling course with the same company, costing 5,000 yen including all equipment. We went to the beach which is famous for snorkeling.The fourth day, I spent the whole day in Sunayama beach. This beach was heaven because it was like my own private beach, just a few visitors and no waves, so the beach looked like a swimming pool with sand. The last day, I found a handmade accessories shop near my guest house, the owner making all of the accessories using shells or stones found from the beach.
In all the beaches I visited in Miyakojima, I could not find cafes or restaurants nearby, except those beaches owned and accessible through hotels. It would be a good idea to bring your own food and drinks.
Are you still confused about what to do for summer break? Go to Miyakojima, and experience a different atmosphere of Japan.