Okinawa Tourism Information:EnjoyingOkinawa’sAutumnSeasontotheFullest!ARecommendedTrekkingRouteatKatsuudake.

Enjoying Okinawa’s Autumn Season to the Fullest! A Recommended Trekking Route at Katsuudake.

post : 2018.11.25 06:00

Ahhh, autumn. A wonderful season to satisfy the palate with its harvests, appreciate the arts and sports in the more comfortable temperatures. There’s so much to enjoy during the autumn months, but it’s also an important time to ensure that you are strong and healthy to make it through the changing seasons and the busy holiday celebrations. That’s why for this particular season, we recommend hiking. By seeing natural vegetation and scenery that’s a little different from your every day is refreshing, and you can also get some good exercise. This is a win-win activity, that’s for sure. During the days off from autumn to winter, I often go on hiking trips with my kids.

In this article, we’ll be introducing the first of our family’s favorite hiking spots, Katsuudake.

To get there, take the Okinawa Expressway all the way to the northernmost exit, the Kyoda Interchange, and continue on Route 58, northward. Keep going past the Nago City Hall and 21st Century Forest Park and take the Prefectural road to the left. When you reach the Yabu area, you will see a Katsuyama Shikwasa sign and that’s where you want to go right. You will be going up a mountain road surrounded by silk floss trees that bloom beautifully at the end of summer, and soon, you’ll reach Katsuudake. On Okinawa Island, Katsuudake has the third tallest peak (452 meters), following Yonahadake, the tallest, and Yaedake.

Characteristics of many of the mountains in the Yanbaru area are that they are karst terrain formed by limestone erosion, creating rocky peaks that can be seen among the lush tropical rainforests. The Daisekirinzan, which is also located in the northern region of Okinawa Island, was formed over two million years and is known as the world’s northernmost tropical karst topography. The Katsuudake is a cone karst terrain and as you hike along, you will see of jagged rocks jutting towards the skies and sometimes it feels like you’re climbing on a path of saws. That adds to the fun in hiking this mountain, too.

Even on days with strong sun rays in Okinawa, the subtropical hills are nice and shaded by the large ferns growing in the rich soils. Enjoy the glitter of the sunlight filtering through the natural parasol of ferns as you climb the trail.

Trekking offers fun in seeing sights you don’t see every day, like rocks covered in rich green moss, and the dynamic shapes of large rocks. The gentle breeze will cool you down as you get a nice workout walking, and it’s just so refreshing.


The kids were checking everywhere in hopes of seeing living things they don’t ordinarily see, and…
There they were.

A locus camouflaged on a rock.

A Ryukyu tree lizard with patterns like a tree trunk.

A Sakishima grass lizard with a brilliant green body. The kids were so excited to see the wonderful animals in the forests of Yanbaru.

Our youngest and fearless daughter picks up a lizard by the tail for a photo. Of course, she was happy to let the little guy free afterward.

As you continue along, enjoying all the sights and adventure, you’ll reach the steep slopes towards the end of the hike upward. The toughest terrain on Katsuudake is the apex area. You will climb a rocky area that’s just wide enough for one person to pass at a time.

Our fearless daughter looked just a little tiny bit fearful here.

As you peak down from the narrow mountain path, you’ll see a fantastic view of the mountain chain spread before your eyes. It’s truly a breathtaking sight. Now, onward to the peak! Step by careful step, you will ascend the last rocky steep to the top of the mountain.

Finally, you’re at the top! The kids excitedly call out from the peak of the mountain which is wide enough for about ten people to stand. We asked the kids if they wanted to have their pictures taken, sitting on the rocks. No one responded to that adventurous suggestion.

From the peak of Katsuudake, you can command a 360 degree, panoramic view, overlooking both the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. To the west is Kouri Island where you can reach by crossing a bridge that extends from Nakijin Village. Further in the distance are Izena and Iheya Islands. To the north is Cape Hedo, the northernmost point on Okinawa Island, and to the east is Henoko, where the jugong, a cousin of the manatee come to swim in its waters. From this point, you can enjoy all areas of Okinawa, full circle.

So, what do you think? To reach the top of Katsuudake at a slow pace and even with young children, it’ll take about 40 minutes, one way. It’s a relatively easy hike even for beginners, and you can also enjoy the little thrills along climb. You can take it easy here and bring onigiri rice balls to enjoy, or you can treat yourself and your party to the great burgers at the nearby Captain Kangaroo, or the delicious Okinawa Soba at the long-established soba shop in Nago, the Miyazato Soba.

We hope you’ll enjoy your autumn of sports, art (the view is truly artful), and good eats at Katsuudake.

Location: Katsuudake, Katsuyama, Nago City, Okinawa

Okinawa CLIP photo writers, monobox (Tetsumasa & Kozue Kawano)



沖縄県名護市勝山 嘉津宇岳