Partake in the breathtaking view from the craggy cliffs of Cape Hedo. Hop across to other must-see destinations in the area and check off our list of shopping and leisure activities.
Okinawa’s northernmost tip that bears witness to the island’s collective history and memories
Located at the northern tip of Yanbaru National Park is Cape Hedo, a precipitous cliff offering breathtaking views. On clear days, one can see as far as Kagoshima prefecture’s Yoron Island. Seas surrounding the cliffs are crystal clear, revealing vibrant coral reefs and colorful fish beneath the water’s surface.
With accessible walking trails and the opening of a new tour information desk “Head Line” in 2019, exploring Cape Hedo is highly convenient. A cafe on the second floor and the rooftop observation platform on the third serve as excellent vantage points to take in the spectacular scenery.
Follow the forked path to access two memorial sites located along the coastline. The first, the Statue of Kariyushi, depicts a winged legendary bird symbolizing wishes for love, peace and safe voyage. This monument was presented to Higashi Village by Yoron Island (Kagoshima prefecture) in 2001 in commemoration of their mutual friendship dating back to pre-war times.
The second is a monument erected in honor of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972. The stone tribute itself was built in 1976, in recognition of tireless efforts undertaken to materialize Okinawa’s return to Japanese rule. For 27 years after the end of the Pacific War, Okinawa was placed under an administration operated by the U.S. military. Despite the momentous reversion however, some 70% of all American military bases in Japan still remain within the prefecture today. The monument is erected at the 27th parallel, which once served as the designated territorial line separating Okinawa from the rest of Japan, depicting the memory of reversion as well as hopes for a future of peace.
Cape Hedo is susceptible to strong winds; visitors are advised to stay away from areas without guardrails during rough weather conditions and protect their electronic devices from exposure to sea spray.
Just a short, five-minute drive away is Usahama Beach, characterized by the Yanbaru Kuina Lookout, an elevated observatory platform with unparalleled vistas of Cape Hedo built in the shape of a mammoth Yanbaru Rail, an endangered species of bird endemic to northern Okinawa.
Enjoy a 40-minute trek through verdant subtropical forests leading to the waterfall
Featuring a sheer drop of 26 meters, the Hijiotaki Falls is the highest waterfall on the main island of Okinawa and attracts some 32,000 people annually. The hike on paved trails for walking will require approximately 40 minutes. Enjoy observing species of greenery native to subtropical forests, and immerse in the healing powers of Mother Nature.
Footwear suitable for outdoor trekking is advised.
Early admission before the official entry time of 9am is recommended. Take time to soak in the quietude of the morning forest, listening to running streams and calls of wild birds.
Midway through, the trail to the waterfall forks into two; visitors continuing on the walking path will come to a stream. Waters here are knee-high and gentle enough for wading on a warm summer’s day. The path along the stream eventually leads back to the main hiking trail and Hijiotaki. The hike to the waterfall can get steep at certain points; visitors are advised to take regular stops by making full use of resting benches and the East Lodge found along the way. Do prepare drinks and expect a brisk workout even in cooler winter months.
Surrounding campgrounds are equipped with showers, toilets and meal preparation facilities, although campers must bring their own gear and tents.
- Opening Hours:
- April 1 to October 31: 9am to 4pm
(Entry closes at 6pm)
November 1 to March 31: 9am to 3pm
(Entry closes at 5pm),
- Adults 500 JPY, children 300 JPY
（Hijiotaki Falls Camping Ground）
Advance reservation for campgrounds is required.
Ogimi Roadside Station, Yanbaru Forest Visitor Center
Know all about the allure of Yanbaru at this tourism hub
Learn about the three villages of Ogimi, Kunigami and Higashi at this one-stop center dedicated to disseminating information on the beauty of Yanbaru. From above, the Ogimi Roadside Station and Yanbaru Forest Visitor Center is shaped like the symbol of Ogimi Village - an orange oakleaf butterfly in mid-flight. The center is stocked with local products, agricultural foodstuff, food and beverage establishments and a tourist center, in addition to ample parking for up to 100 cars, warm showers (chargeable) and toilets available 24 hours a day.
Large event spaces for a capacity of 400 people make the center a bustling hub of activity; each weekend is packed with activities such as DIY workshops and food and craft fairs, which draw numerous visitors.
Enjoy the magnificent views of Yanbaru’s lush greenery and sparkling oceans from the center’s beach and observation deck, and admire the sight of Kouri Bridge stretching across the sea in the distance.
Restaurants and food stalls serve local gourmet delights and irresistible desserts featuring luscious strawberries grown in Ogimi Village.
The information center operated by Ogimi Village Tourist Association offers an engaging panel exhibition and virtual reality booth, in addition to a video hall screening 360-degree panoramas simulating a real experience in the woods, where visitors can learn about the rich bio-diversity and abundance of Yanbaru’s forests.
In addition to the sale of unique local and agricultural products, the center’s Farmer’s Market also sells daily necessities and fresh foodstuff, allowing visitors a glimpse into the everyday lives of local residents.
Reserve one of many fun leisure activities at the Center or rent a bicycle for a ride along the seaside or a tour of the neighborhood.
- Opening Hours：
- Farmer’s Market 10:00〜19:00
Food Parlors 10:00〜17:00
Fukujigawa Seaside Park
A seafront activity center packed with exciting things to see and do
Perched along the eastern coast of northern Okinawa, Fukujigawa Seaside Park possesses a completely different charm from the busy resort cluster found along Okinawa’s western shoreline. Fully equipped with warm showers, toilets and common spaces for meal preparation, visits in summer not only promises dips in the sea, but also a variety of other marine leisure activities that include SUP (paddleboarding), fishing, snorkeling and kayaking. Campgrounds that stay open through the year are also highly recommended for experiencing the outdoors.
Yanbaru Bushcraft, a strictly private, exploratory camp experience (reservations required, restricted to 2-4 persons), comes highly recommended.
“Bushcraft” refers to the art of relying on the barest of essentials and the harnessing of wisdom of the outdoors for surviving in the wild. Those craving adventure and a wholly different travel experience should take up the Yanbaru Bushcraft challenge, which promises fusing with the elements of Mother Nature for a truly unforgettable experience.
Participants will try their hand at gathering firewood, setting up camp and preparing meals while receiving assistance from a skilled guide, making experiencing the great outdoors a breeze even for novice campers. Participants need only prepare marine trekking shoes, suitable footwear and rain gear, as everything else from camping equipment to meal ingredients will be provided.
The park is divided into two areas, one facing the sea and the other along the river. Guests in both areas will find comprehensive facilities for a comfortable stay such as toilets, shower rooms and common spaces for meal preparation.
The village of Higashi, with its untouched nature and quiet calm, serves as the perfect destination for an extravagant night of star gazing.
- Opening Hours:
- 9am to 6pm, open all year round
Advanced reservation required for all activities
Yanbaru Discovery Forest
Immerse in the wonders of Mother Nature
40 minutes away from Cape Hedo and nestled in lush greenery is the Yanbaru Discovery Forest, a nature activity center where visitors can experience the beauty of Yanbaru while learning about environment conservation.
The list of activities here is extensive – visitors can choose from nature trekking, river kayaking or participate in a guided tour for the opportunity to spot the endangered Yanbaru Rail bird up close. Tours offering night hikes are also perfect for
exploring the forest after dusk.
Pull your car up to the auto campgrounds (car camping) or reserve a stay at the center’s well-appointed accommodation complex fully equipped with common shower rooms, toilets and shared spaces for meal preparation.
- Opening Hours:
- 9am to 5pm,
Irregular holidays, temporary closure possible
- 0980-41-7979 ※9am to 8pm
Yanbaru National Park Daisekirinzan
The world’s northernmost tropical karst topography set against stunning vistas
Just five minutes by car from Cape Hedo, deep in lush sub-tropical greenery stand imposing boulders of limestone. Estimated to be 250 millions old, these limestone cliffs have withstood generations of erosion from wind and rain to form peculiar tropical karst landforms.
The forests of Yanbaru have traditionally been deeply respected for its mysticism and sanctity, a symbol of which is a majestic Gajumaru (banyan) tree, said to be one of the biggest of its kind in Japan. The tree, termed “ugan gajumaru”, is one of many sacred prayer sites believed to offer dwelling for holy spirits.
This park is equipped with a wheelchair accessible trail, gentle slopes and barrier-free facilities, making it a convenient destination for visitors of all ages.
- Opening Hours:
9:30am to 4:30pm,
closes at 5:30pm, open all year round
- Free admission for children aged below 4, children ages 4 to 14, 550 JPY; 15 years and above, 1200 JPY; 65 years and above, 900 JPY.
Yanbaru Forest Toy Museum
Art museum where children can experience the wonder and warmth of wooden toys
Set within Kunigami Village’s Forest Park, the Yanbaru Forest Toy Museum is an experiential learning based art museum emphasizing free play with an extensive range of toys, all of which are made from the wood of trees found in Okinawa.
Dive into a pool consisting entirely of little wooden eggs, engage in a game of fishing with wooden rods and fishes, and cook up a storm in petite kitchen setups made with natural wood. Toys at this unique museum are designed to stimulate little minds so your young ones are sure to have a lasting and engaging time.
- Opening Hours:
10am to 4pm（Final entry at 3:30pm）
Closed on Tuesdays and during New Year period
- Admission: Adults 500 JPY, children ages 3 and above 300 JPY, free admission for children below the age of 3
- 0980-50-1022（Kunigami Village Forest Park）
Tsutsuji Eco Park
Stay, play and learn in the forests of Yanbaru
In the elevated lands of Higashi Village is Tsutsuji Eco Park, a spacious, nature based activity center that makes full use of the village’s natural surroundings.
The center offers a full range of rental services for tents and assorted camping equipment, as well as car camping grounds equipped with power supply. Those who prefer to spend the night indoors can opt to stay in one of the park’s airy bungalows. With miniature golf, rolling fields and play areas for children, the Tsutsuji Eco Park promises a fun time in the great outdoors for both adults and children.
- Opening Hours:
- 8:30am to 5:30pm, open all year round