A challenge of climbing the highest peak in Ie Island, an island that you can visit in 30 minutes from Okinawa Island.
Umi from the editor office travelled by using newly introduced limousine bus “Okinawa Airport Shuttle”, public transportation and ferry!
Last time, I used the highway bus “Okinawa Airport Shuttle” from the Naha Airport to Nago.
And then to Motobu Port to get on the ferry to Ie Island, managed to visit the whole island.
This time I am climbing the highest peak of Ie Island, Mount Gusuku. This mountain was seen from the Bisesaki Beach.
Mount Gusuku is 172 meters above sea level. People from outside village call it “Ie Island Tacchu”. Tacchu means a sharp object. Sailors used it as a landmark because it can be seen from a far distance.
The entrance of car parking is on the east side of Mt. Gusuku so you can enter by car, and then you can walk to the top of mountain. If you are riding a bicycle then use the South Entrance.
From the car park to the top is about 15 minutes one way.
There were beautiful butterflies flying and it was relaxing walking under the shades of trees but gradually the roads became steeper. I continued to walk up the extremely steep steps while getting out of my breath.
For that reason, it was an overwhelming experience when I saw the highest point in front of me.
To look down…
Across the ocean is just where the Ocean Expo Park (where Churaumi Aquarium is) and Bisesaki Beach are located.
This panoramic view just under my eyes is the island that I drove around enthusiastically.
I wanted to stay and look at this amazing view forever but it was nearly the time for return ferry.
I headed to the port in hurry!
Goodbye Ie Island! Next time I’m hoping to eat Ie-beef!!
Because, actually Ie Island has many delicious local cuisine such as Ie beef, seasoned rice cooked with squid and squid ink (called Squid-ink juicy), brown sugar coated peanuts, and island scallions. But this trip I was only able to buy 2 bottles of Iesoda...
This Iesoda XXX is made from the Waji spring water. There are 4 flavors. In Japanese language, the phrase “…iesoda”
means “I could say…” so it is also known as the confession drink!?
I was starving by then so I decided to buy Okinawa style seasoned rice ball (onigiri) called “Juicy” and Pork & Egg onigiri on the ferry stall.
Can’t eat anywhere else other than Okinawa!!!!
Not too long, the ferry arrived at Motobu Port.
Usually there are taxis waiting at Motobu Port.
Once I got on the taxi, I asked the driver “is there a Okinawa Soba restaurant that you recommend?” Because Motobu Town is famous for Okinawa Soba.
Although I just had 2 onigiri…, I wanted to go to a restaurant that the local people recommend rather than going to a famous one.
The driver immediately replied saying “skipjack tuna soup stock and pork bone broth, which one do you like?”
Okinawa Soba’s soup stock is usually a mixture of both stocks, but depending on the weight of either stock makes a special feature of that restaurant.
The driver took me to one of his favorite restaurants, Okinawa Soba “Umanchu”. This restaurant mainly uses bone broth base.
I ordered a soba with both pork’s feet (Tebichi) and stewed pork (Rafutē) are on it.
Once I tasted it, I could taste the flavor of skipjack tuna stock in between the richness of bone broth. Motobu Town is also known for skipjack tunas
Umanchu had a separate menu of just the bone broth “Honejiru”, which is their special feature.
I also had “Brown sugar Kinako (soy flour) Zenzai”.
In Okinawa, they call snow cones “Zenzai”.
Once you put the fluffy ice into your mouth, you can taste the rich simmered brown sugar syrup and soy flour blending together.
Hidden red kidney beans appeared at the bottom of snow cone. They are boiled at the right hardness and the mild taste brings out brown sugar syrup and kinako flavors. On top of that, you will find shiratama (rice flour dumpling) hidden inside too.
I was surprised to discover myself that I finished it in no time.
From Okinawa Soba “Umanchu” to the Okinawa Airport Shuttle’s bus stop, Motobucho Kanko kyokai Mae (Motobu Kariyushi Market) was only 5 minutes walking distance. The walk too short that it didn’t really help my digestion.
To explain more, Okinawa Soba “Umanchu” is also close to the Toguchi Port. Only 6, 7 minutes walk from the Okinawa Airport Shuttle’s bus stop, Motobucho Kanko kyokai Mae (Motobu Kariyushi Market).
It’s the Port to go to Minna Island (the croissant shaped beautiful popular beach), which you saw from the ferry on the way to Ie Island.
While I got on the Okinawa Airport Shuttle, the limousine that heads to Naha direction, I was thinking to myself, “If I had a chance next time, I want visit Minna Island too…”.
Information about the journey
・Okinawa Airport Shuttle
The express bus connects Naha Airport to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in two and a half hours.
Reservations can be made through the company website.
・Ie Island Official Homepage
You can check the schedule for the ferry and operating conditions.
・Ie Island tourist pamphlet
・A selection of transportation on Ie Island
■Iejima transportation (Taxi service)
■Iejima tourist bus (Rent-a-bus, Rent-a-car)
■Tama Rent A Kikaku (Rent-a-cycle, Rent-a-bike, Rent-a-car)
・Okinawa Soba “Umanchu”
29-75 Tancha, Motobu Town
OPEN 11:00-17:30 CLOSE：Monday
・Japan taxi app
・Bus Navi Okinawa
You can search the locations of bus stops, timetables and local routes through the website or using the app. Available in English, Chinese (Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese) and Korean.
※Note: The information shared on this article is based on the information of July 2018, and can be changed or altered without any notice.