Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture
We visit Miyako City, the eastern-most city on Honshu Island (or the Japanese Main Island). The city is renown for its scenic coastline, and especially its seafood!
Miyako’s primary tourist attraction is Jodogahama Beach, located in the Sanriku Fukko National Park. Considered to be one of the most scenic views in Japan, the coastline is surrounded by steep white quartz rocks. In front of the beach is a resthouse that contains souvenir shops and a very delicious restaurant with fresh local seafood. The beautiful view doesn’t end here, on the way to the beach, you will pass by the visitor center which is located higher on the hill. The visitor center has a beautiful view of the forested scenery, especially during summer or fall. The visitor center is a rather large museum that will take an hour or so to go through.
You can reach here by bus from Miyako Station, which will take about 10-15 minutes and costs 220 yen, or by taxi which will cost roughly 1200 yen one way and will take 10 minutes.
Miyako Fish Market
Although Miyako has a beautiful coastline that attracts many visitors, its primary industry is fishing. Miyako is historically one of Japan’s major ports for fishing ships. Fish caught in Miyako end up in the famed Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, as well as other places. However fish is freshest when closest to its source, and you can purchase Miyako’s fresh catches at the Miyako Fish Market (宮古市魚菜市場 Miyakoshi Gyosai Ichiba).
From Miyako Station, simply walk 10-15 minutes directly north on the Main Street that leads out of the station.
Sea food Heaven
Due to its close proximity to the ports, the city is full of restaurants that specialize in sea food dishes. Most of which can be found within a 15 minute walking radius of Miyako Station. Take a look at the pictures below for examples of seafood that can be found in Miyako.
From Tokyo, you can take the Tohoku Shinkansen (bullet train) northwards to Morioka City, the capital of Iwate Prefecture. This will take 2 to 3 hours depending on which train you take. From Sendai to Morioka, it is about one hour.
From Morioka you have two choices: Bus or Train, which will be explained below
Upon arriving to Morioka Station, you will need to switch to the JR Yamada Line bound for Miyako Station. The train is normally a two car train equipped with a western style toilet. The journey will take two hours. However keep in mind that service is very limited with 4 trains operating between Miyako and Morioka per day. Furthermore, the line has a tendency to be disrupted by severe weather conditions so you check JR East’s website for status reports. A one way ticket is 1940 yen
When arriving at Morioka Station, take the north exit and head to the ground floor. From there cross the street to the bus pool and purchase a bus ticket from the booth on the left in the bottom picture.
Keep in mind that buying a round trip ticket will be cheaper than buying two one-way tickets (one way 2030 yen and a round trip is 3650 yen). Also these tickets are valid for 7 days. From there wait at bus stop #7 located in front of the ticket booth, and board Bus 106. Buses travel more frequently with hourly services starting at 5:45am and the last bus departing from Morioka Station at 20:45. The 8:40am, 3:15pm, and the 8:45pm buses are equipped with toilets.
Like the train, the bus takes two hours. So between these two which should you choose?
+ Can be used with the Seishun 18 Ticket and JR Rail Pass
+ Although both the train and bus routes run the same route most of the time, the train offers better scenery
+ During the day, the train has fewer riders so there are lots of seating space
– Seats may not be as comfortable
– More prone to weather conditions. It recently reopened in 2017 after damages from a landslide
From Aomori and Hokkaido
There is also a third, but less common, way to enter Miyako, and that is to come in from the north. For those coming in from Hokkaido via Shinkansen, or living in Aomori, the easiest way is to take the Shinkansen or local train to Hachinohe. From there take the JR Hachinohe line to Kuji Station. From Kuji Station you can take the Sanriku Railways Kita-Riasu Line whose terminus is Miyako Station. This route will be one of the most scenic routes as you will pass by many scenic coastlines.
+ The route 106 Bus comes far more frequently than train
+ Bus seats can recline, making it easier to sleep than the train seats
+ The bus makes a brief stop in the mountains between Morioka and Miyako. This stop has a store with souvenirs, food and drinks, bathrooms, and more importantly a great scenic view
– The waiting lines for the bus can be long and you may be forced to wait outside in windy or cold weathers
– Although the train and bus lines operate near each other, the roads tend to be surrounded by trees or buildings, limiting the view of the scenery
Iwate Kenpoku Bus Schedule – If you are planning to ride the bus, follow this link for the bus schedule. It is Japanese ONLY. However the information you need to know is 盛岡駅前 means Morioka Station bus stop and 宮古駅 refers to Miyako Station.
Hyperdia – if you are planning to come by train, check out this site to plan our schedule