Miyakojima City Botanical garden is located east of Hirara city, Miyakojima. The garden, which covers 120’000m², is dedicated to tropical plants. There are walking paths criss-crossing the well kept garden, and mapped walking courses which even extend outside the garden area. Inside the botanical garden, the Miyakojima traditional crafts village (Miyakojima Taiken Craft Village) is located – a collection of workshops that keep ancient Miyako crafts alive. It’s a great place to enjoy the beautiful plants and flowers, but also an opportunity to learn about Miyako culture.
Run by the city, Miyakojima botanical garden is free to enter. The garden was founded in 1967 on a site which was formerly covered in Ryūkyū pines – a species endemic to Okinawa. Today the botanical garden is home to not less than 1600 species of tropical plants, and over 40’000 trees if including the area behind the park.
The garden is arranged nicely with a big lawn and large patches of flowers and other plants. The garden is buzzing with life from butterflies, and other insects benefiting from the many blooming flowers.
All photos above © touristinjapan.com
Miyakojima Traditional Crafts Village
Inside the botanical garden is the Miyakojima Traditional Crafts Village, a collection of handicraft workshops. In these workshops, locals do an active effort to keep the traditional craft of Miyakojima alive, by practicing the production of textile, woodwork, ceramics and more. Some activities are also available for visitors to try (against a fee). The village consists of several small buildings located to the right of the entrance, along with the textile workshop in the building on the left hand side. It is well worth to spend some time exploring the workshops and talking to the locals who do an effort for the preservation of their culture.
Especially the textile production is very fascinating. In this workshop, volunteers produce the famous Miyakojima Jofu, a highly regarded (often blue) fabric which has been used for summer kimonos for centuries. Producing a roll (12m / 39ft) takes about a year. Should you wish to buy some fabric to take home, then you better prepare to spend some big money. A roll of Miyakojima Jofu costs around ¥200’000.
The organization behind Miyakojima Botanical Garden has mapped four walking courses of varying length. The shorter courses are just within the garden while the longer ones extend out in the surrounding forrest area. Walking maps can be found on the gardens website, or in the park information.
- Dragon course (4km)
- Bottle gourd pond course (3km)
- Lovely course (1km)
- Museum course (1km)
By car: the easiest way to get to Miyakojima Botanical Garden is by car. It’s recommended that you rent a car for your stay. The garden is located 10 minutes from the airport and from Hirara city.
By bus: there are no busses going to Miyakojima botanical gardens.
The busses in the Miyako islands are not well documented when you are on the island and they are very infrequent. If you must take a bus, then you can find information about the stops and schedules at kotsu-okinawa.org.