Minna-Jima

CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON

Minna Beach
Minna Beach

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.

Minna Toguchi Tix
Minna Toguchi Tix

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.

Minna Toguchi Waiting
Minna Toguchi Waiting

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.

Minna Boat
Minna Boat

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.

Minna Boat Seats
Minna Boat Seat
Minna Leaving Toguchi
Minna Leaving Toguchi

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.

Minna Port
Minna Port
Minna Sports
Minna Sports

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.

Minna Perfection
Minna Perfection

We settled on the rocky portion of the island that provided some shade and began snorkeling.

Minna Trees
Minna Trees

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.

Minna Tidepools
Minna Tidepools

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.

Minna Paths
Minna Paths

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.

Minna Toguchi
Minna Toguchi

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

Port Address: 29-92, Tancha, Motobu, Kunigami-Gun, Okinawa Japan 905-0213

GPS Coordinates: 26.6586567, 127.89027599999997

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.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I went here in the summer, it was such a fun place to explore. I loved it! The beach was beautiful. We rented snorkeling masks for 500 yen, and we packed a lunch to save money. I wanna go back next summer and next time I’ll wear more sunblock and pack more water bottles.

  2. We went here today based on this article and had a great time.

    There was a 9:30am departure that we caught (and departures every half hour or so, along with returns happening every half our or so). Our two year old got to ride for free. It was quite busy and the boat was full. And it’s Thursday! There were large groups of young adults, so I’m thinking maybe university is off this week for the Japanese?

    There was a lot more to do on the island than I thought. There were numerous little mom-and-pop restaurants along the middle road. You could get yakisoba, yakitori, sticky rice, curry, and various other Japanese foods that I couldn’t identify and am not brave enough to try. There was also some sort of ice cream or shaved ice desert. We went a BBQ place in the middle (and by BBQ, they mean it was simply cooked on a BBQ). I wanted what I thought was yakitori (my schema for yakitori has broadened… it’s apparently not simply chicken on a stick). Anyway, it wasn’t yakitori, the lady said something in Japanese, I just nodded, and I got a box of food for Y1300. It consisted of a hotdog, two chicken on sticks, some beef, some cabbage/sprouts, a mini corn on the cob, and some sticky rice. It was pretty good and fed both me and my daughter.

    On top of plenty of food, there were a plethora of activities. You ccan get a ride on various floaties pulled by a jet ski. You can rent snorkel equipment, inner tubes, life jackets, etc. You can also rent an umbrella (for Y1500, not sure for how long).

    We have a two year old so we stayed in the roped off swimming area. It’s quite coral-ly, so be sure to bring your water shoes. I also picked up a few sharp pieces of glasses. (Not so much that I’d never go back, but enough that I definitely watched where I walked. My daughter had water shoes, but I didn’t.). The waters were nice and calm which was great with our crazy toddler. She is very independent and wanted to be out in water up to her chin, despite the fact that she can’t swim, and didn’t want to hold my hand. The waters were so calm I was perfectly ok with that, and didn’t feel the need to keep a death grip on her at all times (although she was definitely always within arms reach!).

    My husband and I took turns going out to snorkel in the roped off swim area. There were big shiny fish feeding off the bottom, and some smaller white fish in schools. I saw some really long, really thin fish, almost like sticks. I also saw some of those little snake/worm guys that live in the sand. They all kept their distance, but came close enough to make me a little nervous. We’re new here and fish gross me out, so that was a good water creature experience for me for now.

    Being Thursday, we hoped to have the beach pretty empty, but that wasn’t the case. The beach filled up fast and was quite crowded. I’m not sure if that is normal, or if there was some sort of holiday or break for the Japanese. Even though it was busy, we still had a great time. We were the only Americans there and everyone loved our blond little girl. It was cute having the Japanese trying to talk to her, and getting her to say konnichiwa and sayonara in return.

    We’ll definitely go back again when our daughter can swim better and we’re better snorkelers. We’d really like to head off in the other direction from the swim area and do some more snorkeling in the corals we could see from the beach. I’m hoping by then fish won’t gross me out as much.

  3. @heidi… They are used to English speaking tourists, so getting & asking around is easy

    @brian… We swam out between the islands and did some skin diving, we found a large, strange school of black fish about 20 to 60 ft deep and fed them, the bottom is indeed very sandy, but it has patches of colorful coral too

  4. Great write-up! Also, the diving in between Minna and Sesoko is terrific!!! White sandy bottom–garden eels, rays, and….current at times !!!! Thanks for helping “break it down” for everybody!

  5. It is very easy. My family did this last summer and they ask me all the time when are we going to do it again. Walk to the inside of the crescent of the island at low tide and you can see mudskippers. Very cool.

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