Miyako-jima, Miyako Islands

Photo: SHIGIRA RESORT
Photo: SHIGIRA RESORT

By now, you know what to expect when you travel to Japan. Its cities are bright, frantic, and loud. Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka are always exciting, yet rarely relaxing. To decompress, you head elsewhere. You usually travel to Southeast Asia—either an Indonesian island or a beach along the coast of Thailand—after visiting Japan. But you don’t actually have to leave the country to find a peaceful, seaside escape.

The Miyako Islands are just as beautiful and tropical as your favorite spots farther south. The five limestone islands—plus a handful of smaller islets—sit in between Taiwan and Japan’s Ryukyu Islands. Miyako-jima, the largest island, is considered one of the most beautiful places in the country. It has sugarcane fields, botanical gardens, and natural hot springs. The Eastern Cape, with a white lighthouse at the end of its promontory, is a popular spot to watch the sun rise. Plus Maehama Beach is known as one of the best beaches in Asia.

With its fine, white sand and calm, clear water, you’ll undoubtedly spend much of your time on Miyako-jima at Maehama Beach. But to truly decompress, you need a relaxing resort as well. The Shigira Bayside Suite Allamanda fits the bill perfectly. The resort, on the island’s south coast, is sophisticated without being stuffy. It seamlessly mixes Asian and European designs. Okinawan artwork fills the lobby. The main pool is nestled among lush greenery and tropical blossoms. Suites, not rooms, have private pools or jacuzzis. While terraces overlook a lagoon and the East China Sea’s sparkling water.

Photo: SHIGIRA RESORT
Photo: SHIGIRA RESORT

Your Pool Villa Lagoon Suite sounds nice, but it isn’t until you step foot inside it that you realize how amazing it truly is. Italian furniture fills the living room and the bedroom. Thoughtful amenities, including beach towels and pajamas, have been laid out. Dragonfruit and bananas sit on the counter. A daybed overlooks the spacious terrace and the small, bright blue pool. Sea turtles glide through the lagoon beyond that.

While at the resort, you’d never have to leave your room if it weren’t for the gourmet restaurants. Maralunga serves Miyako beef and aged pork. Abalone and Japanese spiny lobster are added at its teppanyaki counter. Bow Lee features Cantonese-style cuisine, including delicious mangrove crabs. Handmade buckwheat soba noodles and crisp, light tempura are available at Saikai. More seafood dishes dot the menu at Ristorante Grande Mare, an Italian restaurant. While champagne cocktails are crafted at the Allamanda Lounge.

With a resort like this, you could easily be in Bali, Phuket, or even Hawaii. But now that you’ve found a perfect beach and a great place to stay, you might keep extending your trips to Japan.

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