Kouri Island, the island of love, is home to the story the of the male and female ancestors of all Okinawans – Okinawa’s Adam and Eve.
It’s Umi again, continuing my report. Last time I took the express bus Okinawa Airport Shuttle from Naha to Nago, then took a taxi to Kouri Ohashi Bridge’s bridge base. Now onto the island of lovers! …All by myself!
I crossed Kouri Ohashi Bridge on my electric bike and finally arrived on Kouri Island.
The owner of Chura Terrace, where I rented my bike, advised me that turning right after the bridge would lead to some tough hills so it’s better to turn left and go clockwise around the island. So left I went!
There is a nice café just past the bridge called Umi no Ie YOSHIKA. There are a lot more restaurants and cafés along the road that circles the island.
The sign advertised “shima pudding (island pudding),” which is made with local sugar cane. I was intrigued, but
As I was thinking about stopping, I arrived at Chigunu Beach. I learned later that it is the setting for the story of Okinawa’s Adam and Eve.
I passed right by it. The electric bike makes it so easy to fly right along!
Speaking of the bike, I had planned from the beginning to travel by bike, but I carelessly only brought sunglasses and a parasol. I really needed a hat, too. Big mistake. When you go, be sure to bring a hat. The wind is strong, so a chin strap is a must.
Just about half way around the island, you will find the road down to Tinu Beach which is home to the famous Heart Rock. You can’t get down there by bike, so you will have to park it (for a fee) and go by foot.
The narrow path to the beach is like something from a movie. Quite thrilling!
The blue water comes into view slowly at the end of the path, and then all of sudden, Tinu Beach fills up your view! And there is Heart Rock.
It was low tide when I went there, so it was quite a bit different from the scene in the Japanese idol group’s commercial that made this spot famous.
Get a view of Heart Rock from the beach and from the ocean. From the ocean, it looks a bit like Godzilla.
I never get tired of looking at the bright blue little fish, starfish, crabs, sea urchins, and other creatures left behind in the tide pools.
I returned to my bike and took a little break at the Blue Seal ice cream stand.
In my opinion, their Okinawan salt cookie flavor tastes better than the widely popular cookies ‘n cream. It’s just so good especially after biking.
There was one more beach close by called Tokei Beach. It’s known for the peace sign-shaped sea shells that you can take home. I had to skip it this time.
You stumble across these views in Okinawa of the blue ocean out over sugar cane fields, and every time I see it I just get sucked into the view. But I’m still on my bike! Safety first!
Just about when I’d done a full circle of the island, Kouri Ocean Tower appeared on my right.
I entered the base of the tower and was taken up the mountain by an automated cart. Of course you can see out to Kouri Ohashi Bridge, but you can also feel the presence of everything around the island. There’s an exhibit that introduces Okinawa’s legendary Adam and Eve, Kouri Island’s history, and local industries.
You might be shocked to hear I wasn’t done eating, but up on the second floor of the observation tower, they serve croissants and cream puffs filled with pumpkin cream. The cream is made with local pumpkins. In the first-floor café, you can get pumpkin pudding.
I heard that I could only try these specialties here, so…
There are other foods in addition to the local pumpkin that you can only get on Kouri Island, like collector urchin, a very rare delicacy as fishermen are often prohibited from collecting it.
I didn’t get to try it this time!
I left Kouri Ocean Tower and made my way down to the bridge base, where I discovered beaches on both sides! I was too excited when I first arrived on the island that I passed right by them.
All sorts of activities are available, from swimming to jet skis.
That ended my ride around the island. There is still so much I want to do though. I departed having left a little piece of me behind!
I rode back across the bridge looking down at the water but didn’t see any sea turtles.
I made it back to Chura Terrace and returned my bike.
Of course, to close out my trip to Kouri Island, I had to eat something only available there. I got a sata andagi ice cream sandwich – I chose pistachio ice cream.
Sata andagi is an Okinawan specialty. It’s round fried dough, like a doughnut. I got a sandwich with frozen pistachio ice cream between two warm sata andagi. The harmony between warm and cold was a perfect match of bliss.
I know I ate too much. But I pedaled a lot that day, so it’s okay... Though it was an electric bike...
◇Directions to Chura Terrace◇
First, take the Okinawa Airport Shuttle from Naha to Nago Shiyakusho Mae (Nago City Hall)
・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.