A Cycling Route to Discover Southern Okinawa’s Scenic Spots!

Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture. Surrounded by nature, this semi-tropical resort offers warm winters that receive fewer travelers than in the summer, making it an ideal season to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. To sightsee efficiently in this prefecture with no railways, why not hop on a bicycle instead?
For example, Nanjo City—close enough to Naha to enjoy a day trip by bus—is a treasure trove of historic sites representing the culture of Ryukyu (another name of Okinawa) and spectacular ocean views. With a bicycle, you can easily travel to this destination.

1. Rent a bicycle at “Ganju Station Nanjo”

Heading roughly 50 minutes by bus from Naha Bus Terminal to Sefa Utaki, disembark at the final stop to find “Ganju Station Nanjo,” a facility run by the Nanjo City Tourism Association. From here, rent a bike and hit the road! They also offer electric-assisted bicycles.

You can also gather information for your trip and even try on Ryuso (traditional Okinawan outfit) here.

Starting at 500 yen/2 hours, 2,000 yen/one-day rental
*Must be 13 years or older

Business hours 10:00 AM-5:00 PM

2. Cycle around Ojima Island

Ojima is a small island with a circumference of 1.7 km connected to the Okinawa main island by a bridge. Enjoy circling the entire island while getting a first-hand experience of the idyllic island life! (Please take caution as you will be riding on the island’s residential streets.)

The ocean and bridge on Ojima Island

Cross the bridge, and you’ll encounter an emerald-green sea.

Tempura, an Ojima Island specialty

Some popular foods are island specialties such as mozuku seaweed and seafood tempura which make perfect snacks to eat before cycling. For lunch, we recommend the bowl of rice topped with fresh seafood from Imaiyu Market.

Okutakeshima Kannondo    ⓒOCVB

Okutakeshima Kannnondo is the center of the islanders’ devout faith. The Kannon statue enshrined here is said to have been sent as a symbol of gratitude hundreds of years ago when the people of the island rescued a ship from China. You can offer a prayer for the safety of your journey here.

3. Snap a picture at the scenic “Nirai Bridge/Kanai Bridge”

These two bridges form a large bend stretching out towards the ocean. Combined, they are known as “Nirai-Kanai,” an Okinawan word meaning “Utopia beyond the sea.” From the observatory located at the top of the bridge, you can snap a breathtaking picture of the two bridges, the ocean, and Kudaka Island beyond.
Kudaka Island is also known as the “Island of the Gods” from its legend of being the first island in Ryukyu (Okinawa), created by the deities.

Nirai Bridge and Kanai Bridge

4. Visit the World Heritage Site “Sefa Utaki”

Known as the Ryukyu Kingdom’s most sacred site, this spot appears in the legends of the Ryukyu Kingdom’s creation. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.” It has six Uganjyu (places of worship), and you can see part of them as you walk through the path.

Sangui, a place of worship at Sefa Utaki

Business hours March-October/ 9:00 AM-6:00 PM (Tickets sold until 5:15 PM) November-February/ 9:00 AM-5:30 PM (Tickets sold until 4:45 PM)
Regular holiday 2023, June 18-20, November 13-15
URL https://okinawa-nanjo.jp/sefa/

5. Relax and enjoy a stunning ocean view from Cape Chinen Park

This park that juts out into the sea offers an incredible view of Kudaka Island. Gaze out at the cobalt-blue sea up close while exploring the area.

A view of Kudaka Island from Cape Chinen Park

Regular holiday Open year-round
URL https://www.kankou-nanjo.okinawa/bunka/details/174

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The information herein is as of November 2022
I am Ayumi from Chiba Prefecture. I love sweets. I majored in Japanese history in my university. I have visited many historic sites from the ancient days to the modern days on my trips. I have visited about 100 castles of various sizes. I am also obsessed with visiting “anime pilgrimage sites,” the locations featured in popular anime and manga.

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