Tsuken-jima

CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON

Tsuken-jima is a nice get away easily seen from White Beach or Katsuren castle. Also known as “carrot island”, this place has a lot to offer and worth a day trip. I invited some co-workers to explore this place with me since the summer had finally arrived. The ferry schedule can be found from various sites to include Kadena ITT’s site. We picked the perfect day to set out and didn’t know it.

Tsuken Ferry
Tsuken Ferry

First, we arrived at Heshikiya Port and had trouble parking. There were so many locals lined up ready to depart the for the island. We paid the round trip ferry fees and boarded “Ferry Kugani”, which is the largest of the three in the fleet. We headed to the front of the ferry for the views, but fell victim to the heat and smell of the ship’s exhaust. During the 30 minute ride though, we passed White Beach and took some nice pictures before our arrival to Tsuken Port.

Tsuken Ferry Trip
Tsuken Ferry Trip

As soon as we landed, we could hear traditional local music being played and dragon boats circling around on top of small Daihatsu trucks. It was the beginning of a ceremonial race, and by the time we rushed off the ferry, they stopped (figures). We couldn’t get any pictures (yet), so we headed northwest. The famous walking trail lies along the west side of the island and begins with a vista with a well and prayer site.

Tsuken Beach
Tsuken Beach
Tsuken Path
Tsuken Path

Unfortunately, the trail isn’t well kept, and there is tremendous overgrowth. The jungle has taken over and there are armies of mosquitoes waiting around every turn. The trail isn’t safe for walking and misleads you if you’re trying to explore it. Use the main road instead and save time. Once you see the radio tower, you are near another site.

Tsuken Carrot
Tsuken Carrot

Very close to the radio tower, to the west of the main road, there is a park with a really cool scultpture and the carrot shaped observatory that stands next to the trail. There are spiral steps that lead you to a full view of the entire island and a panoramic view of the Okinawa mainland.

Tsuken Orange View
Tsuken Orange View

Further north, the first opening to beach can be found between some houses. We walked down the beach to the rocky shores where the shade was. The beach had a lot to offer as far as watersports, but we preferrred to snorkel. The waters were warm, clear and sandy. There isn’t a lot of coral and not a lot of fish, so we didn’t take too many pictures in the water.

Tsuken Dragon Boats
Tsuken Dragon Boats

After the hour and a half of snorkeling, we were hungry and headed back to the port. When we got back, the dragon boat tournament was already under way. We snagged some soba and bento boxes from nearby shops in and around the port and watched the races. We walked to the edge of the port and waited for our ferry. The smaller ferry “Tokiyo 3” took us back in half the time, but was very overcrowded. Next time we visit, we will explore the east side of the island since it seems more suitable for snorkeling.

Tsuken Ferry Port
Tsuken Ferry Port

Directions:  To get to Tsuken Island, you need to hop on a ferry from Heshikiya Port at the tip of Katsuren Peninsula. To get to Heshikiya Port from Kadena Gate 2 or 3, head east on Pref. Route 85 into Uruma City. Turn left on to Pref. Route 33 (Maehara Intersection) towards Katsuren peninsula. Turn right at Pref. Route 10 towards Katsuren and continue straight until it becomes Pref. Route 8. Before coming up to White Beach, there will be a white sign that directs you to turn left. Proceed down this road and you will drive straight into the port.

Price:  They charged us 1,350 yen for a roundtrip ticket, which may be more in the summer season.

This post was featured in Stripes Okinawa!

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6 Comments
  • August 16, 2012

    We have plans to snorkel here next weekend…after reading your article, I’m wondering if it’s worth it. If you did it over again, would you not have snorkeled at all on the west side? Also, how long would it take to get to the east side? Thanks!

    Reply
    • August 16, 2012

      Amy,

      We didn’t have time to see the east side, however, the reef is on that side. We did see large groups of people both local and American head east to snorkel. As far as the west and north side of the island, do not go out there expecting results. There is a tiny island on the northeast that is uninhabited, there maybe some reefs there too.

      Hope this helps….

      Q
      Reply
  • February 19, 2013

    Where do you buy the tickets to get on this Ferry and how long is the Ferry trip from the port to the Island? Thanks!

    Nida
    Reply
  • July 4, 2013

    We visited today and could not find a good access point to the beach on the east side of the island. We rode bikes through the cane fields down many dirt roads but could not get access so ended up at the beach on the west side. There is no real snorkeling but I did see two sea snakes in the sea grass and they freaked me out! The beach is great for walking and floating in the clear water.

    We took the car ferry which made it very easy to load our own bikes. You can also rent at the port when you arrive. Tickets are round trip so don’t go swimming with your ticket stub like we did! The ferry people were nice and gave us a free replacement.

    Michele
    Reply
    • August 17, 2014

      I went there today and there are plenty of cool snorkeling spots but the best way to get to them are by boat. Lots of coral, fish, starfish, and i saw a sea urchin the size of me. If you go right off the beach you really wont see anything.

      Nick
      Reply