Miyako City (宮古) in Iwate Prefecture was one of the northernmost cities to suffer devastating damage from the 2011 Tsunami. The rising waters swept across many of the city's coastal districts, destroying homes, businesses, port facilities and a large part of the local fishing fleet. Some of the tsunami's most unforgettable videos were filmed in Miyako, depicting a huge black swell overtaking the seawall protecting the town and sweeping boats and cars and everything in its path along with it.
Miyako is known for its beautiful coastline, especially the popular Jodogahama Beach on a scenic peninsula just north of the city center. Tourist facilities around the beach were heavily damaged, but after three years the seaside promenades have been replaced and improved and the sightseeing attractions fully reopened.
Located just outside central Miyako, Jodogahama Beach is a beautiful pebble beach surrounded by jagged, rocky outcroppings. The popular outdoor destination is ranked among Japan's top one hundred beaches and swimming spots and can get crowded in summer. Sightseeing boats depart from docks near the beach to explore the cliffs and a half submerged cave along the bay, while longer cruise ships travel to scenic parts of the Sanriku Coast north of the beach.
Hours: 6:30 to 17:30 Closed: Wednesdays Admission: Free
The Miyako Fish Market is packed tightly with rows of vendors selling all sorts of local fish, seafood, vegetables and prepared foods at very reasonable prices. There is also a small section where local farmers can sell their produce directly to market visitors.
Getting there and around
Infrequent local trains on the JR Yamada Line operate between Morioka and Miyako stations. The one way trip takes about 2.5 hours, and costs 1980 yen. Trains depart every two to three hours.
Iwateken Kotsu operates hourly buses between Morioka and Miyako. The one way trip takes about 90 minutes and costs 2000-2100 yen. Sets of two tickets, which can be used in either direction, are available for 3900 yen.