5 Beautiful places in Okinawa you MUST check out 沖縄穴場

1 今帰仁村 Nakijin-son

Nakijin is a town of around 9 500 people on located on Okinawa’s main island.
Nakijin is said to be ぬーねんしが (nūnenshiga) which is Okinawa’s dialect for 何もないけど (nanimo nai kedo) meaning “there’s nothing but…”
In Nakijin there are no shopping malls, no family restaurants or big scale amusement installations. Only untouched traditional and natural scenery remains. “There’s nothing but we’re satisfied”, that’s Nakijin.

Among notable scenery in Nakijin there’s the castle of Nakijin:

Nakijin Jou Ato
今帰仁城跡

During the 14th century, before the kingdom of the Ryūkyūs came into existence, the island of Okinawa was divided in three principalities: 北山 (Hokuzan), to the north; 中山 (Chūzan) at the center and 南山 (Nanzan) to the South. The castle of Nakijin was the fortress of Hokuzan where lived the lords ruling of this area.

Nakijin Jou Ato
今帰仁城跡

And if you’re going to Nakijin (but that applies to pretty much all of Okinawa/tropical islands), you’ve got to go to one of the many beaches that offer paradise-like, crystal blue water.
Sadabama Beach is definitely one of those:

sadabama beach sadabama beach sadabama beach

Official website: http://www.nakijinson.jp (Japanese)

2 久高島 Kudakajima

Kudakajima is a small island located to the south of Okinawa’s main island, to which you can get to in around 25 minutes of ferry from Azama’s harbor (安座真港, Azama-kō).

久高島
久高島

This island is said to be the most sacred place in Okinawa as it is, according to the mythology, said to be the island that the Ancestor Gods, the Amamikiyo, alighted from the sky into the ocean and that from there, created the realms of the Ryūkyūs.
Still, today, are held many rituals by the people living on the island, praying for peace and harmony, and expressing thanks.

cool water
Pretty cool water huh?

You can follow the path that the Gods walked on this island by going around a full lap around the island, which is just 8 kilometers. You can even rent a bike!

kudakajima from the sky
空からの観点 Point of view from the sky

NPO promotional website: http://www.kudakajima.jp/  (Japanese)
You can check this out: http://www.tabirai.net/sightseeing/tatsujin/0000348.aspx
(Japanese)

3 茅打ちバンタ Kayauchi-Banta

To the most northern tip of the main island of Okinawa, near Hedosaki (辺戸岬) stands a 80 meters tall cliff, watching over the sea.
If you like to watch the sea from high places while playing an epic song that makes you feel like you’re going to save the world just by standing like in the movies, then you should check it out.
This place looks awesome.

banta

sea viewed from the cliff

cliffy cliff

sea under your feet

4大石林山 Daisekirinzan

Located in Yanbaru (ヤンバル), Okinawa’s most northern part its main island, right next to Hedosaki (辺戸岬), stand, sacred, 200 million year-old, rocky peaks, that are said to be created by the Gods.
Yanbaru, literally meaning “moutains and forest”, is a region with expending flora and subtropical forest. You can immerse yourself in untouched, subtropical scenery and stand tall in movie-like landscapes.

dasekirinzan

Yanbaru landscape
Yanbaru landscape

Official website (Japanese and English + Chinese and Korean if you’d like):
http://www.sekirinzan.com/about/index.html

5 首里城 Shuri-Jou: The Castle of Shuri

The kingdom of the Ryūkyūs is a monarchy that existed for 450 years from 1479 to 1829 AC. This castle was a prosperous foreign trade and exchange center for Eastern Asia. It was the residence of the king of the kingdom of the Ryūkyūs as well as the main headquarters for the king’s government. Additionally, it was a base for kingdom rituals that were operated by a religious network through goddesses that are located in various places. Furthermore, it was a center for cultural arts, given that in the vicinity of this castle were performing many musicians artists and craftsmen.

http://oki-park.jp/shurijo/ (Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese)

3 Replies to “5 Beautiful places in Okinawa you MUST check out 沖縄穴場”

  1. Hi Mathieu,
    I hope that everything is going well for you.
    Thank you for the new article from which I would like to be there to cover the place myself. I greatly appreciate if you can research on Seifa-utaki.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment!

      So, Seifa-Utaki (斎場御嶽), meaning « purified place of Utaki », is a sacred place that served to worship in the native religion of the Ryukyuan people, but when Okinawa was assimilated to Japan, it was made to serve as a Shinto Shrine. It’s been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000 and is one of the seven sacred sites in Okinawa since it is believed that this place was created by the gods, the Amamikiyo.
      It’s located to the south of the main island, in Nanjo, and is surrounded by amazing nature.

      Cheers.

  2. Hi Mathieu,
    Thank you for that. I mention Seifa-Utaki to you in the hope that you could enrich your post on Okinawa. Perhaps, it should be listed as the sixth place in your research?

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