Location of Miyako Islands within Okinawa Predecture
Location of Miyako Islands within the East China Sea
|Adjacent to||East China Sea|
|Major islands||Miyako Island, Irabu Island, Tarama Island|
|Area||226.20 km2 (87.34 sq mi)|
|Population||55,522 (January 2018)|
|Pop. density||246.2/km2 (637.7/sq mi)|
|Ethnic groups||Ryukyuan, Japanese|
The Miyako Islands (宮古列島, Miyako-rettō, Miyako: Myaaku, Tarama dialect: Meeku, Okinawan: Naaku, Northern Ryukyuan: みやこ Miyako) (also Miyako Jima group) are a group of islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, belonging to the Ryukyu Islands. They are situated between the Okinawa Island and Yaeyama Islands.
In the early 1870s, the population of the islands was estimated to number approximately 10,000. Miyako island has 55,914 people, most of whom are ethnic Ryukyuans. A bridge connects Miyako Island to Ikema Island, which has 801 people. Tarama village has 1,214 people, between the two islands of Minna and Tarama.
The islands have been recognised as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because they support populations of the resident Ryukyu green pigeons, as well as migrating whimbrels.
I was in some hope that, on one of our long tacks, we might have come within view of Kumi, the westernmost island of the Miyako Sima group. It lies about sixty miles east from Dome Point, and has four villages. Two or three of the islands lying further east have a much larger area than Botel Tobago, and the population of the entire group is estimated to number about ten thousand. They are said to be a poor but contented and unarmed race, in appearance similar to the Luchuans (to whom they are subject), but resembling the Japanese more in manners, customs, and language.