Cape Hedo, Okinawa
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Natural drama at the northernmost point of Okinawa Island
Cape Hedo (辺戸岬 / Hedo Misaki) marks the northernmost tip of Okinawa Island. If, like us, you’ve gotten here via a drive along the northeast coast of Okinawa, it’s a Cape Hedo that you see, once again, other drivers and others who are traveling in Okinawa. Cape Hedo is a part of the Yambaru National Park and it looks like the cape might have been included in this a recently as 2016. Either way, this is, without question, an area of outstanding beauty and natural drama. Either side of the cape, rugged land battles with a feisty sea. Well two “seas” in fact - to the west, the South China Sea. To the east, the Pacific Ocean. It’s a nervous treat to walk to the far edges of the cape and stare down at the powerful waves. The coastline in either direction is dramatic but particularly so to the east where rocky spires poke out of the water and you can see a series of craggy peaks straining out of the forest in the distance. In fact, this is one of those places where you could get all a bit spiritual. The main body of Cape Hebo is a flat area of grass that slopes gently towards cape’s edge. The area is criss crossed with trails and dotted with sculptures and other ornaments. That’s all fine and dandy, but really we’re here for the scenery. An interesting photo op at Cape Hebo comes in the form of a rocky outcrop just to the east. It’s a spiky business negotiating the lump of stone so watch your footing. Have someone waiting at the bottom with the camera to snap a kind of all-conquering moment. The center point of the cape is marked by a stone plaque marking the end of U.S. occupation of Okinawa, and a small viewing area guarded by railings from which travelers can stare out to the horizon and get a little contemplative. Oh, and there are the requisite set of coin-operated binoculars (apparently on a fine day you can see one of the islands of Kagoshima from here). “Fine” is the key word here. On a cloudy day, Cape Hebo wouldn’t have half the appeal, visual at least. The grassy area that makes up the bulk of the cape isn’t so large and can be navigated from end to end in minute or two, and despite the drama of it all, there’s not much else to do here. Cape Hebo comes with plenty of parking and access by car is easy. Next to the car park there are the requisite toilets, a small cafe / food stall (Blue Seal ice cream, of course) and maps detailing attractions in the vicinity. Municipal buses also make a stop at the cape. All sorts of visitors come to Cape Hebo - the flash couple in the open-top sports car, tour groups, families, Lycra-clad cyclists, and random travelers like the travel partner and I. Not that we found it to be particularly busy - Cape Hebo is a long way from most places. Overall, definitely worthy of the trek out here. This a dramatic and beautiful place (once you get out of the car park) and even if the weather refuses to play its part, you still have the bragging rights of having been to the northernmost point of Okinawa Island. And it’s free!
Hedo, Kunigami, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 905-1421