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Aerial view of the island
Aerial view of the island
Waters East China Sea
Archipelago Miyako Islands
Geographical location 24 ° 48 ′  N , 125 ° 19 ′  E Coordinates: 24 ° 48 ′  N , 125 ° 19 ′  E
Miyako-jima (Okinawa Prefecture)
length 30 km
width 10 km
surface 158.87 km²
Highest elevation 114.8  m
Residents 47,825 (March 31, 2011)
301 inhabitants / km²
main place Miyakojima

Miyako-jima ( Japanese 宮 古 島 ; old name of the island: Typinsan ) is a Japanese island with an area of ​​158.87 km².

It is the main island of the Miyako Islands , the eastern half of the Sakishima Islands , and the fourth largest island in Okinawa Prefecture . The distance to the Yaeyama Islands in the southwest is around 250 km, to the main island of Okinawa in the prefecture of the same name around 300 km. The coastline is 117.5 km.

Miyakojima is also the name of the only city (52,176, as of October 1, 2019) on the island (not to be confused with the city of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture in northern Japan). It was combined from the 5 existing communities. The community also extends over the neighboring islands.


The flat island (the highest point is 114.8 m) with the approximate shape of an isosceles triangle is made of limestone. There are no streams crossing the island, but the rock has fresh water. The east coast is characterized by steep cliffs, while the west coast is flat.


In the summer months the daytime temperatures are around 30 ° C, in the winter months a little lower.

Like all Ryūkyū Islands , Miyakojima is often hit by typhoons from May to September .


The island has been living on sugar cane cultivation and fishing ( katsuo , bonito ) for ages .

Nowadays tourism is the main source of income. Sandy beaches, a few hotels, stylish eateries and souvenir shops for local pottery ( Miyako-yaki ) make the island a popular holiday destination, not least among the younger Japanese.


The Miyako language is one of the Ryūkyū languages .

At the Pāntu Festival ( パ ー ン ト ゥ ) in the ninth month of the old lunar calendar, three men covered with earth and mud use sticks and wooden masks and smear people, houses, machines etc. on their way. These "mud signs" promise protection in the coming year.


Particularly worth seeing are the eastern tip of the island, Higashi-Hennazaki ( 東 平安 名 崎 ), and the northwestern tip, Nishi-Hennazaki ( 西, un ), not far from which, since 1992, a 1,425 m long bridge over shallow water to the offshore island of Ikemajima ( 池 間島 ) leads.

German theme park

On July 11, 1873, the German schooner R. J. Robertson stranded on a voyage from Fuzhou (China, tea trade) during a typhoon on the reef in front of the village of Ueno. Some residents put out in small Sabani boats when the waves were high and were able to rescue eight crew members. After a month's stay, the six sailors, the Chinese cook and the Chinese cabin boy set out on their journey to Keelung (Taiwan). The vehicle used was a junk that had been assigned to Captain Hernsheim by the highest mandarin of the Okinawa Islands (then: Loochow Islands ). The then German Emperor Wilhelm I thanked for the courageous, philanthropic act with a memorial stele that still stands in the port of Hirara today. The inscription on the stele, erected in 1876, is in German and Chinese, as the island was under Chinese influence until it was added to Okinawa Prefecture in 1879.

The monument erected in 1936 with a view of the beach

According to the diary of Captain Eduard Hernsheim, the book The Downfall of the German Schooner "RJ Robertson" and the recording of the castaways on the island "Typinsan" were published in 1881 . Relations between the island and Germany have existed since 1936, when the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the monument made the memorial stone a symbol of German-Japanese friendship ( 博愛 記念 碑hakuai kinenhi , German memorial stone for human love ).

The German name for the island Typinsan was formed in the 18th century based on the Chinese name tai pin shan ( Chinese  大平 山  - "big flat mountain"). The poetry book of the same name by the German poet Alexander Freud was written on Typinsan .

On the occasion of this history was in 1995 in Ueno theme park German Cultural Village Ueno ( うえのドイツ文化村 Ueno doitsu Bunkamura ) built. In addition to various attractions such as a children's house, original pieces from the Berlin Wall and a palace in the style of the 18th century , a medieval German castle soars into the subtropical sky: The Marksburg , located on the Middle Rhine , did not become owner after it was sold, transported and rebuilt on Miyakojima agreed, with whose support it was faithfully recreated at the end of the 1990s and now stands above Miyakojima's coral reef.

In the summer of 1998, on the occasion of the Art Island Projects in Ryukyu , sculptures made of typical island stone were created in the cultural village. The invited sculptors left their works to the cultural village as a gift. They were set up in the park. Participants were Yasuhiko Sunagawa (Okinawa), Hidehiko Kawamura (Japan), Tung-Min Hu (Taiwan), Valentin Goderbauer (Germany) with the sculpture Trio and Holger Walter (Germany) with the sculpture About Presence-Absence .

Gerhard Schröder paid a visit to the German cultural village in Ueno on the occasion of the G8 summit in Okinawa (July 21-23, 2000). The road from the airport to the cultural village was named after him.


There are daily flights from Miyako Airport to Tarama , Ishigaki , Naha , Kansai and Tokyo .

There is shipping traffic to the inhabited islands of the Miyako archipelago .

Rental cars are available.

See also



Eduard Hernsheim: The sinking of the German schooner "R. J. Robertson" and the reception of the shipwrecked on the island of Typinsan; according to the diary of Captain Ed. Hernsheim / with drawing. by Hermann Degkwitz. Foreword by Uwe Greve (Ships, People, Fates, SMS Special; No. 10), Stade, Kiel 2006 (?).

Eduard Hernsheim: Südseekaufmann: Gesammelte Schriften , MV-Verlag, Münster 2015, pp. 239-296 (edited and commented copy of E. Hernsheim's diary on the R. J. Robertson accident and the subsequent events).

Secondary works

Jakob Anderhandt: "Praiseworthy behavior" and "Sed Contra", in: Eduard Hernsheim, the South Seas and a lot of money: Biography , MV-Wissenschaft, Münster 2012, Volume 1, pp. 39–53.

Web links

Commons : Miyakojima, Okinawa  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files

Single receipts

  1. a b 指定 離島 ・ 指定 離島 一 覧 . (PDF) In: 離島 関係 資料 (平 成 28 年 1 月 . 沖 縄 県 企 画 部 地域 ・ 離島 課 (“Land and Islands Unit, Planning Department, Okinawa Prefecture”), January 2016, p. 1 , accessed August 2 2016 (Japanese).
  2. official topographic map
  3. The sinking of the German schooner “RJ Robertson” and the rescue of the castaways on the island “Typinsan”: (According to the diary of Captain Ed. Hernsheim) . Second edition. Leipzig: Verlag v. Friedr. Thiel, 1881, pp. 9-13.
  4. ^ The sinking of the German schooner "RJ Robertson" ... , pp. 36 and 51f. The Loochow Islands are now part of the Ryukyu Group.
  5. ^ Catalog: Art Island Projects in Ryukyu 1998, Miyako, Okinawa, Taiwan, pp. 7-11