Onna village, Kin-cho northward area is called as “Yanbaru” from a long time ago. If you want to fully enjoy Okinawa, not to mention the ocean, but you cannot miss out “Yanbaru” a nature area full of mountains and forests.
This was a trip for Umi, an editor, visiting Kunigami village of the northernmost area on the Okinawa main island. Using Okinawa Airport Shuttle from Naha Airport to Nago, and then transferred to a local bus to go to Okuma visiting Hiji Otaki (waterfall), Okuma Beach and experiencing Yanbaru Kuina Tour. I managed to fully enjoy Yanbaru. However…
At last, I aimed for the northernmost tip "Cape Hedo", further north of the northernmost Kunigami Village.
The starting point is around “Michi-no-Eki Yuiyui Kunigami”.
Actually, the way to go to Cape Hedo is very limited.
The most convenient and efficient way is to rent a car, but driving from Naha all the way up north is very tiring. For people who travelled by public transportation to here, you can rent a car from Fuji Rental Car near Michi-no-Eki YuiYui Kunigami. However, the number of cars are limited so it is a good idea to check beforehand.
Another way is to use Kunigami village’s On-Demand Bus. It is operated by the village and the service hour is fixed but it will pick you up and drop you off at wherever you want. If you are planning to use it, you can call the Kunigami City Hall General Affairs Section for more information.
Generally, there aren’t many taxis in Kunigami village so it is difficult to call for one. Another option is maybe to use a bicycle… but probably not a good idea.
I used a rental car to head to the Cape Hedo.
I drove northward on the Route 58. On my left-hand side was a never ending ocean view. It was a little bit dangerous to look and drive at the same time so I pulled off to the side of the road to relish the world of blue sky and blue ocean.
Looking at the north from the coast, you can see Izena Island and Iheya Island.
If you look at the south, across the ocean is Motobu Peninsula. It is difficult to see it from the photo but I also saw Mount Gusuku (Tatchuu) of Ie Island.
When you keep going north following the road signs, you will reach to Cape Hedo, the northernmost tip of the main island of Okinawa.
First, I walked towards where the monument is standing.
Wow, the sky is just so blue!!
A dazzling blue sky, blue ocean and white clouds were in front of me.
Izena Island and Iheya Island are on the left side.
In front is Yoron Island. Only on the clear day you get to see the island from this location so I was very lucky to see it. Also, you can see the shadow of Okinoerabu Island. I remembered someone said when the ocean is calm, it is also possible to see big fish swimming under the water, but I couldn’t take a peek. However, I learned that the sea water was just endlessly transparent.
Here is the northernmost tip of Okinawa main island!!!
I was so overwhelmed with emotion!
It was a magnificent view whichever direction I faced. As I was relishing while walking, I noticed a white monument known as “Kariyushi”, a commemoration of the friendship between Yoron Island. First, I thought it was a Yanbaru Kuina but the lower part of its body is shaped of a fish. It is said that it symbolizes the sea and the upper part of its body is shaped of a bird symbolizes the sky.
Walking further more, I found this monument.
It says “The northernmost tip of Okinawa Island Cape Hedo”.
Oh wow! I nearly missed this one out!
Here was the “real” Cape Hedo!! Indeed, if you look at the map, the tip is bent a little.
The landscape of a jagged cliff eroded by intense waves was showing magical natural beauty.
Across the continuous cliff, there is the Mount Daisekirin (Daisekirinzan in Japanese).
What a dynamic landscape.
I took a look at Cape Hedo from the opposite shore.
It is on the upper left side of the previous picture, but it might not be clear to see it.
A huge Yanbaru Kuina was standing in the middle of the forest.
This is the Yanbaru Kuina Observation Deck!
From the foot of Yanbaru Kuina, the view of Cape Hedo looks like this.
From the Yanbaru Kuina observation deck, you can walk around using the mountain path to the Mt. Daisekirin, where the plants of Yanbaru’s forest and the unusually-shaped rocks of the Karst plateau intricately create the mysterious landscape.
You can pay the admission fee and walk around freely, or you can join the guided tour by paying an additional fee. “Daisekirinzan Guide Tour” is for those of you who wants to know about the origins of the Karst plateau and the plants and animals of the land. Another is “Spiritual Guide Tour” for knowing about the myths and legends of this place.
There was also a barrier-free area for seniors and small children to enjoy.
Magnificent view of the Cape Hedo from the Mt. Daiseikirin observation deck.
Mount Daisekirin is located in the land of "Asumui", a holy ground in Okinawa.
It is said that the first generation of Amamikiyo (goddess) built the land, and prayers were often offered during the Ryukyu Kingdom period.
A sacred air also flows through the long-lived forest of Gajyumaru (banyan) trees.
After wandering around along the mountain paths, pop into a restaurant or a shop for a gelato to ease your fatigue.
The one in the picture is Choju-so (literally means longevity herb) gelato.
On my way back, I stopped at a cliff called Kayauchi Banta.
The sea below was incredibly clear as crystal!!
The northernmost tip of Okinawa was a land full of dynamic landscapes full of nature!
◇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.
■ 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 1.5 hours. Reservations can be made from the website (Available in multiple languages).
■ Busnavi Okinawa
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.
■ Michi-no-Eki Yuiyui Kunigami (Available in multiple languages)
■ Kunigami Village Tourist Association
■ Kunigami City Hall, General Affairs Section
(Reservation and inquiry about On-Demand Bus)
*Currently, Kunigami Village On-Demand Bus is during the demonstration experiment period. Operation period is extended but please check for the detail.
■ Fuji Rental Car, Okuma Office
※The content of the article is current as of late September 2018. It is subject to change without notice.