Miya Tachibana grew up in Otsu, Shiga, Japan loving the water so much that by the fourth grade, she was competing in synchronized swimming. By high school, she was winning the Junior World Championships.
Following in the footsteps of her Hall of Fame predecessor, Mikako Kotani, she became one of the world's most successful synchronized swimmers, and Japan's most decorated Olympic and World Championship synchronized swimmer of all time.
At three Asian Games, she won all gold medals in solo and duet. At three World Championships, from 1994 to 2003, she placed second in duet. Following the 1998 Perth World Championships, Miya received the FINA Prize for her outstanding performances that year.
Competing in three Olympic Games, she won four medals. Her Olympic performances began in 1996 in Atlanta, with Japan winning the bronze medal in the team event, the only synchronized swimming event of the Atlanta Games. Four years later in Sydney, she and teammate Miho Takeda won the silver medal in duet, less than one point behind the Russian duo of Hall of Famer's Olga Brusnikina and Maria Kisseleva.
Miya and Miho repeated the silver-medal wins four years later in Athens, the only duo to medal in successive Olympic Games after the Josephson twins in 1988 and 1992. Japan continued in the silver medal count for the Team Event in both 2000 and 2004. At Japan's National Championships, Miya won 22 national titles, ten of them solo.