Fukujigawa Seaside Park
Outdoor | Avg price: ¥0 | English Available: None (Unknown)
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Day camping, BBQ and beach activity spot on the quiet east coast of Okinawa
“A treasure trove of natural beauty. Welcome to the east coast of Yanbaru!” reads the leaflet for Fukujigawa Seaside Park I picked up from a hotel after having already made a stop at the park. Yanbaru is basically the area which covers the northern half of the main Okinawa island. Anyone travelling in Okinawa would do well to make it that far from Naha. Fukujigawa Seaside Park lies on the east coast in the town of Higashi, and while there may be a “treasure trove” of natural beauty in the area the slab of beach and grass that Fukujigawa Seaside Park isn’t necessarily the best by Okinawan standards. By any other standard though, this is a pleasant spot. Approaching Fukujigawa Seaside Park from the north on Route 70 you’d be forgiven for thinking at was just a kind of highway service area (although one supposes it can assume this role) when actually it’s a campsite (day camping), BBQ spot, beachside base and center for a number of activities and tours. Route 70 splits the site in two. One side fronts the beach where you’ll find a number of gazebos to take shelter under from the sun, a cooking area and the Fukujigawa Seaside Park management office (from where tours and activities can be booked). The other side of the facility fronts a gentle river. This is where the day camping lots are located, along with a wide stretch of grass to spread out on and riverside dock for kayaks. With the cooling presence of the river, the low-rise forested hills, and the proximity of ocean and beach, this really is a pleasant place to kick back and make a day of things. The beach itself is a shade on the scruffy side but is still a fine stretch of sand and water, especially if you’ve come from more industrial parts of Japan. At the time of visiting there was a metal chain and an aggressive sign blocking one of the beach access points which was a bit off-putting but this might have been to prevent boy racers for tearing up the sands in their motors. I’m not sure. Tours available at Fukujigawa Seaside Park include snorkelling (5,000 yen / one hour), sea kayaking (4,000 yen / one hour), SUP lessons (5,000 yen / one hour) and beginners diving (12,600 yen / two hours - no license required). I guess the availability of a snorkelling and diving tours is testament to the quality of the water around here, at least to some degree. The beach (as with many in Okinawa) has a designated swimming area. Swimming outside of this is prohibited at Fukujigawa Seaside Park (on who’s authority?). Hilariously in my English-language leaflet I’m told that exposed tattoos are also prohibited. Maybe they upset the fish?! Also, and rather alarmingly, visitors are not allowed to use their own, private marine sports equipments. In the leaflet it mentions water scooters (?) and windsurfers. Not sure if this encompasses your Hello Kitty inflatable rubber ring. Pets are not allowed on the beach. Impressively though, the authorities here do ask you to not bring glass bottles to the beach. The park is well-kept (see all those rules) and seems to be fairly popular (people enjoying the park on a Wednesday afternoon). Its location some distance from any significant accommodation areas make me wonder what kind of traveller in Okinawa is going to make use of the facility though and all those rules are a bit off-putting. There’s not much in the way hustle and bustle in these parts of Okinawa and I didn’t spot any shops on site. For supplies there is probably a store in Higashi Town. If not, the garish Sunrise Higashi rest stop is just down the road. You can get supplies from there. Canaan Slow Farm is a delightful restaurant and accommodation option about half a kilometer to the southeast on Route 70. Parking is available at Fukujigawa Seaside Park at 200 - 500 yen per day depending on the size of your vehicle. Parking for less than 30 mins is free (if you want to dive into the toilets). Gazebos are 3,500 yen / day and day camp spots 1,500 yen. Swimming season is from April 1 to Oct 31 and the beach as box jellyfish nets installed.