Cape Hedo and Hiji Falls a day of strange, big, sharp rocks

Travel ?? Comments Mon 15 December 2014

Having hired a car for the second Saturday in a row, our plan was (we thought) pretty simple - drive to Goya Park for lunch, continue north for hiking near Hiji Falls and Cape Hedo (at the northern tip of Okinawa), before driving south back to OIST via Melody Road.

We fully expected hiccups to occur, but not so soon and definetely not as ridiculous as this; after an hour and an half of driving, having arrived at Hiji Falls, we realised we completely forgot to go to Goya Park. Goddammit.

Ravenously hungry (that morning I had given up completely on our homemade 'bread' and resorted to a can of tuna for breakfast), and narrowly avoiding trespassing onto US military property (the Okuma Beach Resort just looked so inviting!) we ended up at the Hiji Falls curry house.

Which was slightly disappointing; low on supplies, their beef curry turned out to be both rice-less and beef-less, and would have more accurately been described as a 'curried soup with chapati'. Ah well. To be honest I was too hungry to properly care and devoured what was there.

Hiji Falls

Hunger taken care of, we paid our entrance fee of ¥500 (although we probably didn't need to - Michael just walked straight in without realising, and the woman in the ticket office was too polite to say anything), and set off to hike to Hiji Falls, a 40 minute hike according to the front office.

picture

The water was so clear, I was honestly mesmerised

picture

The 'hiking' trail

picture

A pretty neat (and somewhat unexpected) suspension bridge

picture

'This is the place where the electric wave of the mobile telephone reaches'

picture

Stopping to admire the crystal clear water and ponder the very meaning of life itself. Or perhaps we were just trying to avoid another set of stairs.

picture

After a grueling 1km 'hike' - we made it!

picture

Playing around with shutter speed. Out of 10 photos, this is the only one that came out okay.

picture

Bonus! See my remaining over/under-exposed shots all combined into one glorious gif!


Cape Hedo

Next up: Cape Hedo, the northern most tip of Okinawa and home to some awesome (or so we'd heard) cliffs and rock faces. No-one we'd spoken to at OIST before leaving had ever gone far enough north to visit Cape Hedo, so we weren't really sure what to expect. After about 30 minutes of driving by almost entirely unpopulated forest and beaches, I actually considered turning around (Guys, this is pointless. There's nothing here!).

Luckily Tania and Michael pointed out what a ridiculously stupid suggestion this was 10 minutes away from our destination after 2 hours of driving, and we finally arrived at the stunning cliffs of Cape Hedo.

picture

There were shrines and monuments dotted all over the cliffs

picture

picture

'I couldn't help myself!' I pleaded, as Tania lowered her camera, head shaking in disgust.

picture

After the overly cautious warning signs/fences at other Okinawan tourist sites, I was amazed they just let you walk up to the end of the cliff.

picture

An activity for all ages! Climb over the painfully sharp rocks of an increasingly narrow cliff as the rough seas beckon from below

picture

I'm not exaggerating, these rocks were sharp. You barely wanted to touch them, it was a tad awkward.

picture

Almost there...

picture

Made it! ...um now what

picture

The view from the other side

picture

One of the many shrines dotting the landscape


Dai Sekirinzan Quasi-National Park

Our final stop was the Dai Sekirinzan Quasi-National Park, an eroded limestone plateau about a kilometer inland from Cape Hedo that is one of the oldest parts of Okinawa-Honto.

Eagerly wanting to get in and start exploring the trails, we were instead informed that no, you cannot walk in, you must pay ¥800 to take a shuttle bus 700m into the park. Strangely you can easily just walk out without taking the bus; with our limited communication skills we think the parking attendant might have mentioned something about the 'walk in being too steep'(?).

Ah well. I mean, it is a Quasi-National Park, that means it needs outside funding, right? We'll do our part and pay for the bus. Even though it does seem just a little pointless.

I later found out that a Quasi-National Park is simply a national park of slightly lesser beauty, size, diversity, or state of preservation. Ha.

picture

Dropped off the bus, 700m from the main entrance

Once in, and slightly amused by the trail names (Strange and Big Rocks and Barrier free to name a few), we began our loop around the park.

picture

These rocks better be sufficiently strange and big!

picture

Some of the strangest and biggest rocks you'll ever see

picture

Puzzled by some of the information panels, Michael attempts to view a possible fossil up close whilst I translate. We came to the conclusion it wasn't a fossil.

picture

The view from the 'Beautiful Sea Course'. Cape Hedo looks so insignificant down there.

picture

Sago palms. Sago palms everywhere.

picture

The requisite sago palm close-up


For a while, I'd been egging everyone on due to our pathetically low (read: nonexistent) selfie output. Unfortunately it went a little too far than I intended and deteriorated into a selfie war. Tania, for her credit, did not participate and remains with a clean record.

picture

Selfie war

picture

In the process, I discovered that my camera has an inbuilt AI timer, that shoots when it recognises people smiling


Finally, as we exited the park, we passed by a couple of truly massive banyan trees.

picture

picture


Unfortunately, we arrived back at the car at 5pm. Just in time for a mad dash back to OIST to return the car before 7pm, adding Melody Road to the casualty list along with Goya Park.

picture

Still, we had a pretty awesome day exploring the north, a feat not even achieved by some of the OIST researchers.

We have the car again all day next Sunday - tune in then for a riveting blog post detailing in (almost excruciating) detail the many varieties of goya consumed, followed by an engrossing tale of generating unusually pleasant vibrations with our tyres.

Until next time!

Tags: japan okinawa



Archives