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Just 30 minutes by ferry! Recommended spots on your day trip to Ie Island.
post : 2023.04.30 23:00
With its unmistakable landmark, Mount Gusuku, that protrudes on the island, Ie-jima or Ie Island is accessible by ferry from Motobu Town in northern Okinawa Island. You can reach the island in just 30 minutes by ferry, making this a popular outer island for people to visit.
The island is small enough to experience in a day, taking about 40 minutes by car to tour the whole island. There are four scheduled ferries to and from Ie Island, with the first ferry departing in the morning. The convenience attracts numerous day-trippers and those with limited time in Okinawa. Here are some popular spots on Ie Island that we recommend you drop by while you’re there.
1. Ie Beach: A stretch of brilliant white, sandy beach.
Ie Beach is just 10 minutes by car from Ie Port and is the only beach where visitors can enjoy swimming on the island. The white sand on the beach stretches for a kilometer, and the bright sunshine glistens the grains. Across the water, you can see Okinawa Island, and put on your goggles and take a dip under the sea to encounter schools of small, colorful fish.
The large swing that’s set up on the beach can seat about three adults and is a popular photo spot. Ie Beach has a little shop where you’ll find light meals and lunch sets, and it also has showers and other such facilities. Adjacent to the beach is a campsite surrounded by beach she-oak trees, so you can bring your tent and camping equipment to spend a relaxing time.
2. Nyatia Cave: A childbirth and fertility power spot.
The Nyatia Cave has long been revered by the locals as a power spot since ancient times, and it served to protect people as a natural bunker during the war. It is also known as Sennin Gama or One Thousand-Persons’ Cave as many locals gathered here for safety from war. Found throughout this sacred cave are numerous prayer spots, and the people of the island still come to offer their prayers here.
At one of the prayer spots is a Chikara Ishi or Strength Stone called Hijiru Ishi. It is said that if you lift this stone, your wish will come true. Many people gather here to pray for fertility and safe childbirth.
3. Waji Observatory: An observation point atop a cliff that oversees the spectacular ocean.
One of the most popular spots on the island is Waji Observatory, located on top of a steep cliff that drops to the waters 60 meters below. From here, you can command a spectacular view of the brilliant blue seas that extends as far as your eyes can see. The name comes from its meaning, “spring,” as natural spring water was once found here. In the past, it was a precious source of water for the people of the island.
The water below is a breathtaking view with a brilliant gradation of azure and cobalt blue hues, and the high transparency of the waters gives us a clear view of the coral reefs below the surface. The ocean view changes according to the weather, the ebb and flow of the tide, and the color of the sky, so you’ll never tire of the view.
4. Ie Island Hibiscus Garden: Enjoy the sights of 600 varieties of hibiscus flowers.
Visitors to the Ie Island Hibiscus Garden can enjoy the colorful beauty of 600 varieties of hibiscus flowers throughout the year. Find unique shapes and colors of these beautiful tropical flowers that were bred here on Ie Island, as well as other various types including those with beautiful fragrances. Some of the new varieties are named by visitors, students, and other people, so it might be fun to find out how some of the humorous names were chosen, too.
If you wish, you can purchase saplings at the Gardens for you to take back (please check to make sure you’re able to take them with you domestically) so you can grow them in your own garden.
Hibiscus flowers are in full bloom during the winter, so a visit to Ie Island during the colder months in Okinawa is also recommended.
5. Ie Island Lily Festival: One million lilies creating a brilliant white carpet.
The Ie Island Lily Festival is held every year during the Japanese Golden Week holidays from the end of April to the first week of May. It is one of the biggest events of the year on Ie Island, attracting many people from across Okinawa and Japan. When in full bloom, you can enjoy the incredible view of a million Easter lilies that covers the whole venue, creating a brilliant white carpet.
An area of the festival features lilies from across the world, showcasing about 100 varieties of colorful lilies like pink, orange, yellow, and others. Entertainment is also available at the stage during the festival, and you can enjoy shopping at the various booths as well, including lily bulbs. Access to Ie Island during the Festival is even more convenient, with an increased number of ferries and shuttle buses between Ie Port and the Festival venue.
6. Café HERB 100%: Enjoy Ie Island’s herbal tea during your island break time.
With its eye-catching, light-blue roof, Café HERB 100% offers housemade herbal teas. Their Fresh Herb Tea is a blend of lemongrass, mint, ginger-lily nuts, and Okinawan Karaki cinnamon leaves grown in their gardens. The teas served here are prepared with fresh herbs picked right from their garden, offering a highly transparent and clean taste, without the strong scents and accents of certain herbs.
The café also offers sodas and coffee besides herbal teas. If you’re feeling a little peckish, you can also enjoy their breads prepared with natural yeast, as well as other light meals and desserts, too.
Read more on Café HERB 100%: https://okinawaclip.com/en/detail/1629
7. Izakaya Taisho: To satisfy a big appetite.
A very popular izakaya pub cherished by the locals is Taisho, offering various appetizers and accompaniments to tasty alcoholic beverages, big servings of savory dishes that are popular among younger customers, and snack-like eats for children. This izakaya has a great array of wonderful selections on its menu.
Offered for their special lunches on weekends and holidays are Okinawan meals like Okinawa Soba noodles in soup and Chanpuru stir-fries, and other satisfying dishes like pork Tonkatsu and steaks. They also offer a special, limited-time selection at night, prepared with fresh, seasonal vegetables procured on the island, and also dishes that go well with alcoholic beverages, prepared with fresh seafood delivered from outside the island. The tables are separated by high partitions to offer some privacy, so the establishment is a comfortable spot for a delicious meal for visitors and locals alike.
Read more on Izakaya Taisho: https://okinawaclip.com/en/detail/1648
To tour Ie Island, we recommend you bring your car on the ferry or rent a bike or car at the bicycle or car rental shops located right at the front of where you disembark the ferry. Ie Island offers a unique and different experience from that of Okinawa Island, and we’re sure you’ll enjoy your time there.
*Please note that all the spots reported here contain information that was current at the time of their original posts. Please be sure to check for updated information on official websites, etc.
Okinawa CLIP Editorial Dept.