The End of the Road

After arriving at Cape Hedo, the most northern tip of the long, scraggly island that is Okinawa, after being awed and amazed at the incredible natural landscape and beautiful scenery, you will no doubt look up, squint into the sun and say, ‘Wait…. What the f*** is that?’

I am referring to one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in Okinawa… or even all of Japan. A giant bird thing on the top of a mountain, that seems to be there for no particular reason at all.

DSCF9039

Well… there is a reason, I suppose — the bird is a kuina, an endemic and endangered species of Okinawa, found only in the northern part of the island. So of course, we had to go see what this big bird was all about.

DSCF9024
Look closely just to the left of the statue, and you’ll see the giant kuina on the hill top
DSCF9051
If you walk up to the top, you get a great view of the Cape

Cape Hedo is literally the end of the road, as far as you can drive on the island. For us, coming from Naha in the south, it was a long drive of just over two hours. But totally worth it. The scenery is amazing, every turn reveals a sweeping bay of crashing waves and pristine water, and tiny traditional villages where the residents have the world record for longevity, thanks to their lifestyle and diet. From the cape we had a clear view of Yoron Island in the distance and nothing else but ocean as far as the eye could see.

DSCF9027
Fantastic beauty
DSCF9005
View from Kayauchi Bantaa
DSCF9011
Classic shisa
DSCF9012
Cobra crushed on the road!!  Even in Naha there are signs warning you about snakes while you are walking

With one road in and one road out, the northern tip of Okinawa feels like a step back in time, where tiny towns reveal what life used to be like, before the war, before Western influence. And indeed there is nothing much in this area — the expressway deposits you into the city of Nago and once you keep driving north it’s just fishing villages. It’s really a great escape and a good day trip.

DSCF9052
Old village in Ogimi
DSCF9054
Traditional architecture
DSCF9056
Someone gave this shisa a raincoat – it is tsuyu  or rainy season in Okinawa.

Food wise, there is a restaurant at Cape Hedo serving some food, though everyone there was eating zenzai or ice cream. In Kunigami there is a great Michi no Eki or Roadside Station with a full restaurant serving local food. And Nago is full of restaurants. So even though you’re going to the end of the road, there are lots of yummy things to eat along the way.

Advertisements

One Reply to “The End of the Road”

Say something nah!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s