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“A Spectacular Photo Spot Overseeing Kudaka, the Island of Gods”
post : 2018.12.22 06:00
Located in the southern region of Okinawa is an island referred to as the Island of Gods. It is believed that the creator god of Ryukyu, Amamikiyo, descended on this island. The whole island is revered as sacred and it is forbidden for anyone to take even a small stone from the island. To reach Kudaka Island, there is a ferry service which takes about 30 minutes, departing from Azama Port in Chinen, Nanjo City. It’s quite close in distance, but one may feel that it’s a place “far in the distance” due to its spiritual significance to Okinawa. Some may feel that they must learn more about the island before going there, and that its deep-rooted significance makes it a place a little less of a casual visit. Also, with the strong northern winds that blow from autumn to winter, the ferry services are sometimes cancelled and getting to the island becomes more of a challenge. Still, you can always see and take photos of the beautiful island, and when doing so, here are some great spots for you to go.
The most popular spot is the Nirai Kanai Bridge. The scenery will take your breath away as you drive along this bridge, but the best spot to go is the small hill at the top of the bridge. I highly recommend a stop there to appreciate the view. Since you’re gazing out from a high altitude, Kudaka Island which is to your left, really stands out.
Another great spot on a hill is Café Kurukuma (located at 1190 Chinen, Nanjo City). The view from their terrace seats is spectacular. Kudaka Island can be seen at the far end on the left, and to the island to the right is Komaka Island. The coral reef and the blue gradations on the waters is simply amazing.
If you want to get a closer view of Kudaka Island, head to the Chinen Misaki Koen (Cape Chinen Park). The photo above is the sight that expands before your eyes from the parking area. On days with nice weather, you’ll see paragliders in the skies. It’s really a great place. Just a minute or two away on foot is the Michi-no Eki road station, Ganju Eki, Nanjo, where you can also get a great view of Kudaka Island on the ocean-side of the observatory there. This is also another popular photo spot.
I also recommend Cape Chinen for the beautiful scenery at dawn and after sundown, too. Since Kudaka Island can be seen from the eastern coast of Okinawa Island, the rays of the sunrise on Kudaka is truly beautiful. At night, especially during the full moon, the island is illuminated with the “moon path” and adds to the divine significance of the island.
Another awe-inspiring location to see Kudaka Island is from the sacred Sefa Utaki, a World Heritage Site. It is said that the god Amamikiyo created the sacred site of Sefa Utaki, where long ago, men were forbidden and only those permitted by the Ryukyu Kingdom’s royal government were allowed to enter. It is still revered as an important sacred site on Okinawa. To see Kudaka Island, go through the Sangui of Sefa Utaki and to your left, you’ll see Kudaka floating on the sea.
Finally, one of the most special places to observe Kudaka Island is from the parking area of Tida Ukka, another sacred site (also located in Chinen, Nanjo City). This parking area was recently developed, so it’s still unknown and off the beaten track. If you park your car straight, the sea expands right in front of you, and since the parking area is not too high above sea level, the ocean is right at your line of sight. Beyond the waves is Kudaka Island, and the best time to see it at this spot is at dawn. You can enjoy a wonderful view as the sun rises and the first rays of the sun pours down on our Earth.
In this article, I shared some popular places and also special places that I often keep to myself. If there are other locations that you know of, please share them with me too.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)