I’ve been living in Okinawa prefecture for nearly five years. In all that time, and mostly due to a few local friends, I’ve been able to visit a lot of places on the mainland (honto) even though I’ve spent all my time with the JET Programme on outer islands. Still, up until last month I had never been to the very northern areas of Okinawa. I rented a car and drove up north with a few friends to Okinawa-honto’s most northerly point, Cape Hedo, also known as Hedo Misaki.
The day we went up it was, as it often is, rather rainy. The north of Okinawa is a place of forest and mountains with scenic coastal roads heading north. We drove straight up route 58 and skipped the Motobu peninsula. There, at the far end was a small parking lot with an old abandoned building that looked to have been a tourist trap at some point in its future…. honestly first image was ‘this place would make a great horror movie.’ Aside from old creepy buildings the cape has a number of interesting things to see and a lot of photo opportunities. When its clear you can see out to the southern-most Kyushu governed islands not far away.
The spot was interesting but it took a good 2-3 hours (with stops for lunch, etc) of driving time to get there for about a 20 minute walk/view. The drive in itself was worth it, since I had never really grasped just how big Okinawa is. For those with more time than we had, there are a lot of other great things to do, such as the Dai Sekirinzan, a quasi-national park nearby (there are discount coupons at Cape Hedo). I also spotted a lot of hiking and sight-seeing opportunities along the road. Since we only had a day, we took off and headed south to the Motobu Peninsula to checkout the Churaumi Aquarium.
I have heard that it is a very popular place to visit on New Year’s Day to see the first sunrise of the new year.
Overall, I’d say that if you have the time or live in Okinawa it is well worth a drive up to see Cape Hedo, but if you’re visiting or in a hurry checkout some of Okinawa’s other great sights like Katsuren Casle, Shuri Castle, and cool local sights.