CONTRIBUTED BY JENNIFER GILES
Maeda is famous for its beach and snorkeling and diving, but there is an overlooked beautiful coastal jogging trail that begins at Maeda Point. My husband and I live in Onna Village by Point Maeda and came across the trail while scouting out the snorkeling spots. We nicknamed it the “Narnia” trail because it is full of beautiful birds, blooming Hibiscus and butterflies of every color and size.
Directions to Point Maeda are at the bottom of this post. Once you make your way into the park, you will see the tourist center. After checking out the coastal vista from the pagoda behind the tourist center, keep the coastline to your left and walk along the trail.
You will pass the steps heading to the notorious dive entrance to your left but keep right at the fork.
On your right, you will see a map outlining the trail. From the trailhead to the end of the trail, it is just shy a mile and a half.
This is where the fun begins. Beautiful hibiscus bushes skirt the well-paved trail. The moss-covered trees give it a Jurassic feel.
The trail breaks from dense jungle to reveal multiple ocean vistas.
There are several twists and turns. Keep left at the first turn. If you go right, you will return to the parking lot. This is a quick exit on your return.
Not everyone is addicted to running like me, but this isn’t just a jogging trail! There are so many good places to picnic. There is even a covered picnic table (to the left of this picture, just out of frame). Nice opportunity to get outside and reconnect with family or friends by the ocean. The trail is well paved and perfect for strollers but be mindful of toddlers…the fence along the drop-off is weathered and needs mending.
Back to the trail! It is hard to keep running with so many beautiful vistas to take in. When you come to the second split in the trail, keep right.
Pro Tip: If you go left, don’t worry about it. It soon dead-ends with a stairway leading you downward to a rock feature lined with ropes. You can use the ropes to scurry down the rock fascia to a secluded cove overlooking the ocean. It is beautiful! There are caves and lava boulders to explore. But that is another adventure!
Where were we… yes… as you run along the trail, keep to the right at the second split.
Eventually, the trail will dump you onto a secluded access roadway skirted by a painted cinderblock wall. Go left, keeping the painted wall on your right.
In less than a 100 meters you will turn left and resume the trail.
The trail is well marked and easy to pick back up.
About a mile down the trail, it turns into a well-maintained unpaved roadway. This is where all the butterflies, birds, and yes, exotic bugs live. My husband and I nicknamed the trail “Narnia” because of this stretch. The variety of wildlife is incredible.
Further down the trail, it gets a little adventurous. The end of the trail takes you down a log staircase.
But no logs this close to the ocean can stand up to the elements indefinitely. Many have deteriorated and come loose. Be careful. For my husband and me, it adds to the charm. Hey, if it were too easy, it would take the fun out of it!
There is a map at the end of the trail. That is the Renaissance hotel in the background of the photo for reference. There is no parking at this trailhead, unfortunately.
A small wooden bridge marks the end of the trail. You can turn around and run back to Maeda Point along the trail (about 2.5 miles round trip). Or you can extend the run by taking a left from the bridge and running along the coast. Highly recommend continuing the run. You will pass the Renaissance Hotel on your left, see local fisherman and surfers in the cove, and take advantage of a long sidewalk stretching along turquoise waters for several miles.
OR, if you want to return to Maeda Point but don’t want to run the same route from which you came, take a right at the bridge and run through the small town of Onna. You will pass several small shops to include a small “mom and pop” convenience store, a coffee shop, Windy Dog grooming, dive shops and several restaurants. You could run through this town a dozen times and discover a new restaurant or shop each time. After about a mile, you will come to an intersection clearly marking Maeda Point. Take a right to return to the park.
Hope you enjoy this route as much as we do. It is absolutely beautiful and worth the drive.
Cape Maeda Jogging Trail
Maeda Point Address: 469-1 Maeda, Onna, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0417
GPS Coordinates: 26.4388953,127.7711327
Directions: Take Highway 58 north past Kadena Circle, make a left at the Ryukyu Mura sign. Turn left at the second light past Ryukyu Mura. Make a right at Maeda Misaki, about .8 km, and then left just before the parking lot.
Parking: You can pay for the convenience of parking inside the park or you can park along the roadway and walk through the park gate