Onna village, Kin-cho northward is known as “Yanbaru”. If you want to enjoy Okinawa fully, other than the ocean, you cannot miss out “Yanbaru” a nature area full of mountains and forests.
My name is Umi (an editor). Last time I aimed for the farthest location by using the Okinawa Airport Shuttle and a local bus arriving at “Hentona” area (the northernmost location that you can go by a route bus). I charged my energy at Michi-no-Eki Yuiyui Kunigami.
This time, I wanted to experience Yanbaru nature so I rented a bicycle at the Tourism Association to go around Hentona area.
So, first, you go across south of the Michi-no-Eki Yuiyui Kunigami intersection (FYI, there is a convenient store at this intersection), and head to the mountain direction opposite from the beach. Aim for the Hiji Otaki (waterfall)!
By just entering a little bit into the mountain, you will see the mountain’s rich greens and the quiet river flowing. It makes you forget that here is also a place for the dazzling oceanscape.
I visited in September and saw some red dragonflies flying.
I cycled according to the signage and soon arrived at the Hiji camping site. Entrance fee is 500 yen for an adult and 300 yen for a child.
To the waterfall it takes about 40 minutes (one way) so it might be a good idea to visit the restroom and get some drinks first, then start climbing.
Take the trekking course along the river flow!!
Going deep into the mountains.
The trekking course is made for an easy walk but I still recommend to wear a pair of comfortable shoes! Also carry an insect repellent spray if you can.
The river stream flows gently at some locations, you can walk down to the water.
The bridge is also a superb view spot.
You can look down to the valley from the bridge. You get to experience the beauty of the river water, the depth of forest, the richness of the natural nature of Yanbaru.
I saw many beautiful butterflies and dragonflies in the mountains. Later on I researched the dragonfly I saw and it was Matrona basilaris japonica.
This kind of dragonfly has a slender body. The males have shinny body and their wings near to its body is colored in cobalt blue. On the contrary, the females have black body and their wings only have a white spot on each side.
Although there are many stairs, I felt that each step was constructed considerably for easy climbing.
The sounds of birds, insects and water flowing will penetrate through your body.
On the mountain path, people walking the same course will often say “Hello!” to you. Even if you don’t know each other, sharing the same hardship on the mountain path creates a sense of companionship. You can also reply “Hello!” if you like.
Finally, I arrived at the end of trekking course!
Here is the Hiji Otaki!!
I absorbed the power of waterfall with my whole body while resting. Once fully recovered, I walked back the route that I came.
Even though the return journey is the same route, you get to see different angles of the scenery.
Some river side around the Hiji Otaki, there are places where the curved strata are eroded and you get to see the layer clearly.
You will sweat when walking, but even at a high temperature of above 30 degrees Celsius, a cool wind blows under the shades.
After climbing down the mountain, I headed to the direction towards Okuma Beach.
Passing Okuma Beach going further to Tobaru area.
The wind was blowing the sugar cane fields.
Garcinia are planted everywhere to form a road, along with banana trees and others creating shadows.
Pink walls and garcinia trees made is seem very photogenic.
Go through the road next to Tobaru community shop (on the right-hand side when facing the shop).
Go straight through the sugar cane fields.
Leaving the bicycle behind, walk up the sand bank, you will see the blue ocean in front of you!
It seems unreal that a while ago I was walking a mountain road.
Yes, don’t forget! Okinawa is known for beautiful beaches!!
Around this area, apart from the private beach of the resort hotel “Okuma Private Beach & Resort”, there are no other official beaches.
However, the beach around this area is where local people come to swim.
After experiencing the “wild” beach, I also went to the hotel’s beach (free of charge). It was already the sunset time. Unfortunately, the clouds interrupted the sun but even so the scene was very mystical.
Returning the rental bicycle, I walked to my accommodation.
My next trip is going to meet the Yanbaru kuina (Okinawa rail)!!
◇Access to Kunigami village◇
Take Okinawa Airport Shuttle from Naha to Nago Shiyakusho Mae (Nago City Hall).
Once in Nago, take No. 67 Hentona Line of Ryukyu Bus/Okinawa Bus (joint operation) bound for Hentona Bus Terminal. The bus stop closest to Nago Shiyakusho Mae (Nago City Hall) is the bus stop called Hokubu Godo Chosha Mae (Northern Area Government Building).
If you’re going to stay in the Nago area the night before, you could also look up the bus stop closest to you on Busnavi Okinawa. The easiest way to catch a bus is to board the first bus of the day that departs Nago Bus Terminal. Buses come once or twice every hour, so it is recommended to check the schedule ahead of time.
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.
Okinawa Airport Shuttle
An express route 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 from the website.
Michi-no-Eki Yuiyui Kunigami (Available in other languages)
Kunigami Village Tourist Association
※The content of the article is current as of late September 2018. It is subject to change without notice.