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Kitanakagusuku Ayakari no Mori, Okinawa

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  • Tomuu

    on Jul 15

    Library, learning and camping facility in central Okinawa

    The hills of Kitanakagusuku in central Okinawa are dominated by massive hotel operation EM Wellness Resort Costa Vista and the manicured low rise homes of well-heeled Okinawans (or given that these places look like something from a Spielberg movie, those in the upper ranks of the U.S Army in Okinawa). It’s in this low-key, well-to-do part of the main Okinawa island that you’ll find Akari no Mori (あかりの杜). What is Akari no Mori? Good question. One would initially be tempted to say community center as this is the immediate feel of the quiet facility, with its kanji signage, library, and rooms for workshops and classes (at the time of visiting there was some sort of class / group going on filled with Japanese ladies of a more mature vintage). Out the back though things get a little more curious as there is a camping and BBQ area and a dormitory. Actually, the people behind Ayakari no Mori call it a “complex supporting lifelong learning”. Classes here are run periodically and include dancing and pottery. The library has PCs available for use. The camping area is nice - surrounded by flowers and foliage (an accompanying insects) a nice path takes you through the tent spots which are themselves comprised of elevated wooden platforms so as you don’t have to be banging things into the ground or worry about groundsheet leakage. It’s not quite “glamping” but is one step towards that. While each of the tent spots looks nice and in good condition (and the immediate surroundings are splendid) this is a very quiet and enclosed spot and you won’t be afforded much privacy from other campers. As it was, at the time of visiting, there were no campers at Akari no Mori. And really, why should there be? Up here in the hills of Kitanakagusuku you’re a long way from the beach and the stellar attractions of Okinawa are a good drive away. It’s not like you’re in the wilds either - just the other side of that foliage is someone’s house. Still, as campsites go (as in the immediate site) this looks like quite a nice one. There’s also a BBQ spot here with rental available from the office onsite (as well as showers and toilets). The tent sites are a very reasonable 100 yen per person with tents available to rent from 1,000 yen. Check in is from 13:00 and check out before 10:00. BBQ sets available to rent from 1,000 yen. Back to the main building of Akari no Mori, there are toilets, vending machines and a smoking area. Up on the second floor you’ll find the cafe, Rainbow Terrace (11:30 - 20:00). Inside Akari no Mori has wifi. From the second floor, as well as gaps in the greenery of the campsite, you can get a view over the American army base of Camp Foster, a bit of kick for those, like me, who’ve never seen the inside of one of these things before. In all honesty, as well-meaning as Akari no Mori might be, it would take the foreign traveller in Okinawa some effort to come here, and some trepidation to have a look inside. Still, if you happen to be in the area (maybe staying at the aforementioned Wellness Resort Costa Vista - just a couple of hundred meters up the hill) here it is. Hours: Library: 10:00 - 20:00 (9:00 - 17:00 Sat, Sun, Nat’l Holidays)

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〒901-2311 沖縄県北中城村喜舎場1214番地

In the Area

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