CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON
These two sites provide fantastic views of the southern coast as well as secluded snorkeling opportunites (given the sea condtions). Both sites are amazing places to take a loved one; however, kids need to be closely watched if present. Both sites can be visited en route to other places, such as Okinawa World & Peace Park, and are free.
The Gushikawa ruins lie facing the coast. The ruins themselves are slighty preserved and seem to have some restoration underway.
There is a spectacular view of the sea from here. On the left you are able to climb down to the ocean. Once near the bottom you will see a cave that looks up into the ruins.
Going further down and to the left (east) you walk for about 100-200 meters to find deep tide pools ideal for snorkeling, one is marked with a swinging rope.
Kyan Swinging Rope
Cape Kyan is nothing more than a scenic lookout with many Japanese visitors. There is a lighthouse that seems abandoned, a few monuments and a raised picnic area. This site, unlike Gushikawa, does not have access to the ocean.
Kyan 331 Sign
Directions: To get to both sites, you need to drive south on 331. From Kadena, the fastest way to get there would be using the Okinawa Expressway on to the Airport Expressway until it ends on Route 331 and turn left (southbound). From Kinser or Foster, head south on route 58, it turns into Route 331 in Naha. Continue on Route 331 until you reach the sign that says Nashiro/Cape Kyan (next to Nanbu Hospital) and make a right.
Follow the signs as they lead you to Route 3 (I think it’s the first light) and turn right. Stay straight on Route 3 as you will see a confusing wide open intersection with no lights/signs. Use the narrow road next to a small store marked by a large Coca-Cola sign and you will see white signs pointing you towards both sites the rest of the way.
Kyan White Signs
At some point there will be split, the ruins will be dead ahead and the cape will be a left turn. Follow the signs and you can’t go wrong. (Map point below is at the point of some of these white signs.)
Made a trip down to peace park and this site this weekend. Very fun trip and very cheap. I found all of the info above correct. The elusive path to the tide pool is a little hard to see because its a big area with ropes and a Japanese sign. We walked right past it initially. I thought the area that was roped off that was mentioned in earlier posts was at the beginning where you park. That area also had a rope to keep cars out but also had a small cutaway for people to walk past. I eventually saw an old Japanese fisher go to the left by the sign and large expanse of roped off cliff and cross over to climb down the cliff. Glad I did because that’s the best part. You can see a rough path if you look beyond the ropes.
The cliff hike is pretty simple but I had my three year old. We took it slow and made it fine. Definitely recommend some versatile shoes though. The lime stone is sharp but then you have to trek through tide pools to get to the big rope pool (about ten minutes hike to the left). My keens were perfect.
Also note the tide. We got there around mid afternoon and stayed snorkeling for about an hour or so until we noticed the waves started entering the tide pool. We quickly left because it could get dicey being down a rocky cliff with a tide quickly coming in. I’m glad we did because it was a little difficulty hiking out with my son. Keep in mind all of those cool rock formations are causes by water rushing back out through channels during high tide. We quickly realized that’s nothing to mess with. We had to cross a section that was a little tough because of the force of water rushing back.
Overall, it was a really cool, secluded place. Nothing touristy or busy. Maybe some people would be unimpressed but for a weekend picnic and some easy kid friendly snorkeling and exploring, we had a blast.
Definitely don’t miss the cave under the castle too. It’s little but cool.
My family and I went here on the 4th. We followed the signs, then found a dead end where there were some Japanese parked and getting ready. We then followed them down. They crossed over the ropes, and we all went down a small path. If we had not seen them do it, we would not have known what to do. HIGHLY recommend this! The tide pools were awesome, along with the rope swing into a HUGE tide pool.
not to mention the place we though the “path” may have been was roped off with japanese signs guarding it and we assumed we couldn’t go down that way.
The path wasn’t roped off a few months ago but it is now. The way down is… but requires a little bit of climbing. Since they are doing more restoration in that area, expect more changes.
went there today… ugh. we did not find the “path to the left” and couldnt go down to the cave or the swinging rope. we couldnt find ANY way down. its all cliffs, it was impossible. we were really bummed because it was so hot and we were really looking forward to the pool with the swinging rope. not to mention my husband lost his phone here and we couldn’t find it. it was beautiful but i wish we had a better experience. good luck to all who try to find the hidden path!
Both of these sites are beautiful! The views are really breathtaking! And this is a wonderful write up. When I went, I got confused in Naha when the main highway (I want to say it was 58) splits into two overpasses going two different ways. We went left… I have navigation in my car so I realized that the road I was on had changed names (or #s). We made a right as soon as we got off of that highway and I found the right road with no problems. I do suggest mapping this one before going if you don’t have navigation in your car! But I suppose you really can’t get lost… just head S.!! 😉 Also, a suggestion for a day trip down S. We went to Cape Kyan, Gushikawa Ruins, the Ryukyu Glass factory, Peace Memorial Park and Museum, and then Cape Chinen all on the same day. We just headed S. down the West side of the Island and came back up on the East side of the island. Cape Chinen is pretty spectacular too…. if you’re looking for other stops along your way there or way back! 😉
58 is the main highway and turns into highway 331 just before the airport… it wraps around the bottom of the isalnd and reappears in the north. Yes, there are more sites to see while you travel 331, I am writing about them too, Cape Chinen is one of them.
Thank you for this wonderful information. We are planning to go soon to see this area.
My husband and I went yesterday. Very lovely place to visit.