thoughts from places


Trip to Kumejima

Recently I went to Kumejima 久米島 [map]. Kumejima is an island in Okinawa prefecture. Okinawa used to be called Ryukyu and was a separate country until it was incorporated into Japan in 1879.

Uezu house

Uezu house

I learnt this at Uezu house. Which used to be a house of a Ryukyu governor. The house is very cool and it was nice to be the only ones there and walk around in the sun. You're not allowed inside but all the doors are open so you can see into all the rooms. It costs 300¥ to visit. There was no attendant when we were there so we left the money in the honesty box.

Five branch tree

Five branch tree

From Uezu house we walked to an old pine tree. The tree is around 175 years old and is 21 meters wide and 6 meters high. Under the canopy is a little temple. As is quite common, Yiwen gave an offering of 5¥ and then did the prayer ritual which is to bow twice, clap twice, bow once more and then hold your hands together with your eyes closed while you make your prayer.

There is a restroom near the tree and a little souvenir shop with tables outside. Nice place to have some lunch. Although I would bring lunch with you as the souvenir shop only really sells sweets and drinks.

Mifuga rock

Mifuga rock

After visiting the pine tree we decided to walk to Mifuga rock. It takes about an hour and ten mins to walk there. It was very interesting to see that they basically farm one plant on this island; sugarcane. Later on we got the bus back and we ended up going two thirds of the way round the island and sugarcane is everywhere.

Mifuga is pretty cool to see. We had time to kill until the next bus that would take us back to our hotel so we wondered on the rocks and saw lots of fish and crabs in rock pools. I was quite surprised to see proper big fish, about 25cm long.

Aloe & White grape drink

Aloe & White Grape drink

As we waited at the bus stop we bought Aloe and White Grape drink from a vending machine. It is so nice. It actually has bits of aloe inside. Very nice on a really hot day.

Dinner at izakaya

Dinner at an izakaya

When we got back to the hotel we went out to a nearby izakaya (Japanese pub) for dinner and played cards.


The other day we spent on the island was windy and rained at times. The first thing we did was to go on a tour to Hatenohama which is a sand bank you have to reach by boat. Our boat had a glass bottom which was cool. Every so often the boat would stop over an area of coral. I saw a turtle, starfish and fish that looked like Nemo and Dory from the Finding Nemo film.

Sand island like Hatenohama

This isn't Hatenohama but is a photograph I took from the plane when flying back to Naha. Hatenohama looks similar to this sand island except it is just sand; no plants.

We spent about an hour walking around the sand bank and I contemplated what it would be like to be stranded here. As it was quite windy the first thing I would do is build a shelter, Yiwen said if she was stranded she would look for food first. I think this means I get cold easily.

Tatamiishi

Tatamiishi

After Hatenohama we went back to the hotel for lunch and then walked to the turtle museum along the beach. After looking at the turtles we visited Tatamiishi which are rock formations that are similar to the Giant's Causeway only much larger.

Beside the turtle museum and Tatamiishi is a sea water spa. This was a great little place. It costs 2000¥ which gets you access to an outdoor jacuzzi, a steam room, a cold water pool and the main pool. I loved this place and we probably spent about an hour and a half there. I highly recommend going into the cold water pool. It's one of the best feelings when you come out. I know a few people who go to onsen (a Japanese public bath) and avoid the cold water pool. But I think it's a must as you'll just keep getting hotter and hotter and eventually you'll feel dizzy otherwise.

We had dinner and beer in the spa restaurant afterwards and then we went for some drinks and played cards at the izakaya near our hotel.


Plane from Naha to Kumejima

Dash 8 airplane that took us from Naha to Kumejima

To get to Kumejima we flow from Tokyo to Naha and then took a small Dash 8 plane to the island.

I hope this has been insightful to anyone thinking of visiting Kumijima, and to my family I think reading this you'll get a better idea of what my trip was like.

As always any questions send an email to nwjlyons@googlemail.com and I'll see if I can help.


Neil Lyons

Freelance Web Developer based in the UK.