CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON
It was finally a nice day in between all of the rain, so I invited a bunch of co-workers and friends out on a day trip originally to Zamami-jima in the Keramas. Due to some maintenance work, the north port (Tomarin) wasn’t launching the express ferry at the time. So plans had to change. I had already looked into going to Minna-jima after visiting Ie-jima months ago, so I searched my apartment for the ferry schedule and fees. I needed the help of a friend to translate the schedule and locked in the plans.
We arrived to Toguchi Port in Motobu to catch the first ferry out (10 a.m.) VERY early to reserve our tickets. There is a waiting room inside the port with a restroom and plenty of vending machines.
Since one of my friends wanted to fish, we tried renting him a pole from a nearby shop along the port to kill time. The price in yen was ridiculously high so he respectfully declined. We stood on the edge of the port and noticed a variety of fish eating coral off the edge of the dock until it was time to go. At 10 a.m. sharp, the high speed boat set sail and we were off.
Inside the boat, you can sit and wait (no fun) or enjoy the nearby sites and take pictures. You get awesome views of the entire area and burns minutes off the clock (it’s only a 20 minute ride). You can’t take any good pictures from inside since the windows are tinted.
As soon as the boat docks on Minna Port, teal water and near white sands as far as you can see greet you. Near the port are the showers, places to enjoy water sports, and the road that leads uphill to the restaurants.
Our group decided to find a nice secluded and shady spot to settle on before snorkeling. Keep in mind, all of the trees that provide shade are off the beach, the only trees near the beach are almost halfway around the island on the rocky side before the horseshoe-shaped bay. You really don’t need to travel very far from the port, but we wanted to explore the island a bit. Since the island is so small, anyone could see all of it in a little over an hour.
We settled on the rocky portion of the island that provided some shade and began snorkeling.
Once the water gets about 8 feet deep, large schools of fish can be seen swimming from one patch of coral to the other. The larger reef is further out, but around 11 a.m. the tide was high and the current was strong, so we drifted with it around the island near the port. Eventually we reached the outer reef between Minna and Sesoko Islands where the current wasn’t as strong and went out to perfectly clear and sandy waters with a depth of over 100 feet. We saw and fed a variety of fish, but a large group of strange black fish we all have never seen before caught our attention.
Getting back to shore was rough, since the current shifted and it was now past 1 p.m. and the tide was low. It’s smarter to walk instead of swimming when the water is shallow.
While others sun-bathed and went looking for seashells, I decicded to explore the island and walked the inner paths. Most of the paths meet where the restaurants are. From what I heard from a co-worker, the restaurants are fairly priced and filling. Time flew by and it was time to leave on the 4 p.m. ferry back to Toguchi. Around this time, trying to shower is near impossible since the local kids on the island are there in full force.
At 4 p.m. sharp, the boat headed back to Motobu. Since we didn’t eat on the island except for snacks, we headed up to Pizza in the Sky to eat and enjoy the last great view of the day before heading back.
Things to know before going:
It costs only 1680 yen for adults tickets round trip from Toguchi Port
The summer schedule changes, but plan on a daytrip since time flies
Bring a canopy umbrella or small camping tent that can be easily carried
Wear a lot of sunscreen and wear sunglasses
Bring yen for food, water, beach towels and snacks in a backpack
Directions: To get here, drive north on the Okinawa Expressway and exit the Kyoda Interchange. Drive north on Highway 58 until you reach the second intersection for Highway 449 (it’s about 500 meters past the first and faster). Drive up the coast of Nago Bay into Motobu until you reach the intersection for Pref. Route 84 (Motobu Bridge North), and turn right. As soon as you cross the bridge turn right and drive until you reach the reddish top building next to the blue dock towers with white sails. It should be near the end of the dock next to a small park. This is Toguchi Port, and there is plenty of parking around the building.