The view of the ocean from Kouri Ocean Tower, located in Nakijin village. Clear water extends far into the distance even from 80m above sea level.
Kouri Island is one of the few nearby islands that can be accessed without getting on a ferry. It’s very much a bikable island, with the circumference of 8km.
Legend has it that a couple who lived on Kouri Island became the ancestors of all Okinawans. It is also said that the name Kouri Island comes from Kui Island, which means “island of love.”
My name is Umi, an editor, and this time I visited Kouri Island, or the “Island of Love.” I used a combination of Okinawa Airport Shuttle (limousine bus), local bus, and taxi to get to the island, which is easily accessed from the Okinawa main island!!
I took Okinawa Airport Shuttle’s first bus of the day. I departed Naha from Kencho Kitaguchi (Okinawa Prefectural Govn’t Bldg. North Exit) bus stop at 8:20am and headed towards Nago.
I arrived at Nago Shiyakusho Mae (Nago City Hall) bus stop at 10:09am, dropped off my luggage at my hotel, and caught a cab to Kouri Island.
To tell you the truth, my original plan was to use a bus to get to the island. I went to Nago bus terminal, but couldn’t get on one due to my lack of preparation. At the end of this article you’ll be able to find the instruction on how to take a bus to Kouri Island. It’s really not that difficult as long as you get the gist of it.
The good news was that there are always some cabs standing by, so the change of plan went smoothly.
I had a pleasant time chatting with the taxi driver as we went through sugar cane fields. After a 30-minute drive, I arrived at Chura Terrace, located at the entrance to the Kouri Ohashi Bridge.
Chura Terrace has restaurants, a bike rental shop, and souvenir shops. The courtyard has a seating area with plenty of shade and a perfect breeze.
There’s a two-story observation tower inside Chura Terrace, where you can overlook Kouri Ohashi Bridge and Kouri Island. At times people form lines in order to take perfect pictures with the magnificent view in the back.
It’s so hard to resist taking pictures of the blue ocean and the beautiful green. I took countless pictures of the island even before getting there!
From here, I rented a bike to explore the island. But before that, I decided to recharge energy with some delicious food.
Chura Terrace serves a wide variety of food, like Okinawa soba and teishoku (Japanese set meal). This time I chose to get a burger!
The most popular burger is rafute burger (pork belly burger), but I decided to try an even fancier one: Motobu beef and Agu pork double umami burger.
The burger satisfied my body and soul, with lots of vegetable toppings and an umami-rich patty made from high quality meat.
For rental bike, you can choose from two types—cruiser or electric bike. The shop staff recommends getting an electric bike unless you feel super fit.
The bridge and the roads on the island are paved and easy to bike. But the island has quite some hilly areas.
Here’s the start of the bike ride!!
This was actually my first time riding an electric bike. The bike itself is heavier than the regular cruiser type, but it’s got some power to easily climb any hill.
The best part about biking, really, is that you can go at your pace as you feel the breeze, smell the ocean, and hear the birds and insects.
I pedaled on Kouri Ohashi Bridge as I heard the strong ocean wind and calls of ocean birds.
Apparently some people have seen swimming sea turtles from the bridge.
I searched for them, too, but I didn’t see any this time.
It’s illegal to park cars on the bridge, so if you’re driving, you can’t just pull over to look for turtles.
Stay tuned to learn about my experience biking around Kouri Island!
Information about the journey
◇To get to Chura Terrace
・It’s about a 30-minute taxi ride from Nago bus terminal. It costs about \3,000.
・There are two ways to get there by bus.
1) Take 72 Yagaji Line (Main Line) of Ryukyu Bus/Okinawa Bus (joint operation) headed towards Untenbaru. Get off at Untenbaru (\720), then walk for 20 minutes (1.5km) or take a cab.
2) Take 66 Motobu Peninsula Line (Nakijin Route) and get off at Nakasone (\640). Take a cab from the nearby taxi office (5.4km).
Check Busnavi Okinawa for timetables and routes.
Go to their website or use their app to check routes, timetables, and location of bus stops for local bus services. Available in English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), and Korean.
・Japan-wide taxi app
・Okinawa Airport Shuttle
An express bus that connects Naha Airport and Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in 2.5 hours.
Going from Naha Airport to Nago Shiyakusho Mae (Nago City Hall) takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes. Reservations can be made on the website.
※The content of the article is current as of July 2018. It is subject to change without notice.