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Looking for an Island Off the Beaten Track in the Peak Summer Season? How About Izena Island?
post : 2019.05.29 08:00
“Is there an island off the beaten track during the summer season?” Absolutely! That island is Izena Island. From Unten Port situated in Nakijin Village in the northern region of Okinawa Island, there’s a car ferry that connects the islands twice a day. The ferry will carry you on the beautiful blue seas as you depart the port and past the Kouri Ohashi Bridge to your right. It’s about a 55-minute ferry ride to Izena Island.
The triangular, pyramid-shaped hill is Izena Gusuku, the symbol of the island. You can enjoy seeing its different shapes depending on the angle from where you’re viewing it.
At the foot of Izena Gusuku is Izena Tamaudun. This Tamaudun is a mausoleum for the founder of the Second Sho Dynasty of the Ryukyu Kingdom, King Sho En, who was born Kanamaru, and his parents, sister, and relatives. Even today, during the Shimi season, a traditional event held annually, the solemn Kuji-nu Shimi takes place here at the Izena Tamaudun. Why is the king’s family tomb located here, you ask?
That’s right! King Sho En was originally from Izena Island! Izena Island has various places of interest related to King Sho En, including his place of birth, legendary locations and even a museum, too. You may enjoy touring the historical sites here on a bicycle if you’re a history buff.
One can’t leave out the traditional festival, Unna, when talking about summers on Izena. Unna is a harvest festival held at each of the communities every year in June, according to the lunar calendar, which is around late-July to early August. This is a great time to visit the island to meet the locals and experience their culture through participating in the festivities which includes a traditional tug-of-war. Izena Island is known for their warmhearted spirit of hospitality, known as Ihyajutei.
To enjoy the seas, Izena Beach located in the Izena community is a popular place to go for a dip! The popular beaches on Okinawa Island are usually packed with people during the summer season, but the beaches on the outer island of Izena has comparatively few people, allowing you to relax and enjoy the beautiful seas.
What’s also great is that Izena Beach is located on the west coast of the island, so the sunsets are breathtaking, too.
Since there are little in the way of street lights, star-viewing is also fantastic here at night. Perhaps you may see the Milky Way during the summer months. So, if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere on an outer island, Izena Island is highly recommended.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)