Hiji Falls | Okinawa Hai!
Editor’s Note: Hiji Falls was originally reviewed on Okinawa Hai on August 7, 2007; you can read a PDF copy of the original review HERE. The post below is an updated take on this hike, published May 4, 2015. 
CONTRIBUTED BY ADAM BAKER

Hiji Falls | Okinawa Hai!If you are looking for a day trip to the north side of the island, or are staying at Okuma, you should definitely consider adding a hike to Hiji Falls to the agenda.

The path to the waterfall (1.5 km) has several steep steps and poses a moderate challenge. However, the five people in my group were able to finish the round trip, to include sightseeing and picture taking, in less than two hours. The hike offers beautiful views and is just challenging enough to feel like an accomplishment.

The trail is well maintained and includes a bathroom and picnic area at the halfway point. After finishing the hike, our group enjoyed some shaved ice in the charming café at the trailhead. Overall, the hike was a great way to spend the afternoon and a refreshing dose of mother nature.

Hiji Falls | Okinawa Hai!

Hours:
Summer (April-October) 9am – 4pm
Winter (November-March) 9am – 3pm

Cost:
Adult — ¥500
Child (under 15) — ¥300

How to get there:

  • If you know your way to Okuma it is easy to find (3 km away).
  • It is about a 2-hour drive north from Kadena. From the end of the expressway (or around the Ritz Carlton sign on 58), you will continue north on 58 for around 36 km–approximately 40 minutes past Nago.
  • The turn to Okuma, as well as a Family Mart, will be on your left.
  • To get to Hiji Falls, you turn RIGHT instead and drive 1.5 km to a parking lot.

Address: 777 Hiji, Kunigami-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa-ken 905-1413, Japan

Coordinates: 26.719454, 128.178728

Note: Not pets allowed

43 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. I googled this as I was stationed in Okinawa back in 1994. I am shocked and sad to hear that they made it into a tourist park. When I went, there were no man made paths, no bridges and no bathroom or picnic table! Just hardcore jungle and a very narrow walkway. We had to climb through the jungle to get to it. I swam in it but a couple days later my unit announced whoever swam there needed to take a pill for a known parasite in the water. I want to visit someday but think my heart might break

  2. Not sure why someone who didn’t even do this hike reviewed it. We went from okuma (5 minute drive) and it was okay. The hike was moderate. My four year old did it fine and my husband carried my one year old. The waterfall was beautiful, but it was such a man made trail that I felt far from nature. An okay hike for January but I like Ta and Fukugawa Falls more. If I did it again I would river walk from the swimming area past the bridge. Also, from futon a it took us a hour and thirty minutes to get her with the expressway and tunnels

  3. Can you please update the post to show that no dogs are allowed. I read the post and checked online and didn’t see anything that suggested no dogs. Of course, after making the 2.5 hour drive from Kinser this weekend we were turned away and now I see the comments from other people that made the same mistake. It would be great if it was clear in the post as many active families here have dogs and are looking to get them some exercise on the weekend!

  4. I saw one of the comments said the falls open at 9 am. Is that still true? Just wondering because we are going in a few weeks when we stay at Okuma but wanted to go as early as possible because it gets so hot out.

  5. Just hiked the falls this past weekend -04/20/2013. It’s open now with a few detours along the route. At a leisurely pace, it took about 50 minutes to get to the falls.

      • Brittany,

        Are you familiar with Okuma up North? Instead of turning left to Okuma, you’ll turn right to get to Hiji Falls.

        From Foster, I would take the expressway North to Nago. The closest entrance to the expressway would be out the Legion Gate.

        Here is a map to Okuma.
        http://kadenaforcesupport.com/okuma/okumamap.html

        Enjoy the trip! It would be great to make a morning trip there and then have lunch at Okuma.

        Tina

  6. Has anyone gone to Tadake Falls recently? If so, do you know when it is open. My family went to today and the road to the falls was blocked off–no sign saying closed or anything. Also any tips on what type of clothing and shoes to wear and essentials for the backpack. I am not a hiker and want to be prepared.

    Thanks
    sorry submitted this twice

  7. Has anyone gone to Tadake Falls recently? If so, do you know when it is open. My family went to today and the road to the falls was blocked off–no sign saying closed or anything. Also any tips on what type of clothing and shoes to wear and essentials for the backpack. I am not a hiker and want to be prepared.

    Thanks

  8. My husband and I made the long drive up to Hiji today to find out that it is closed right now. I’m not sure why. It could be damage from the typhoon last weekend since we saw a few mud slides along 58 on the way up there.

  9. If you’re looking for a good “dog” hike, I’d recommend Taedake falls if you’ve got a hardy/big dog. Our Golden Retriever loved it, but the current was a little too intense for our Frenchie. There was one spot we had to help the Golden, but the falls/pool was great! Aha falls is totally dog friendly. It’s not much of a hike (5 minutes from the parking area), but a great place to wear your dog out.

  10. Hey all! I recently heard a rumor that Hiji Falls was closed, or they were not allowing people up there right now. Can anyone verify if this is true or not? We are heading up there in a few weeks and it would be a real bummer to drive all that way for nothing.
    Thanks!

      • We went to Hiji over the weekend and it was open. Beautiful hike full of neat critters. I think they close sometime during the winter for maintenance (don’t hold me to that) but it was definitely open when we were there.

  11. I never post on this site but wanted to make some clarifications on this hike. Just went on it today. It was only about 2,000 stairs total if you wanted to count or were concerned about it (did it on my pedometer cause it was claimed on another site that it was 11,000 stair steps) and it was really not that hard at all and I am no gym rat. I may be a little sore in the morning, but it makes for an enjoyable exercise moment. I saw an older Japanese women walking the trail in her high heels! I also saw many families walking the trail with their kids of various ages (anywhere from 4 and up walking the trail and younger ones in backpacks) It took us about 1 1/2 hours for the entire walk and it was very nice. The trail is very clean and well groomed. I left my three kids at daycare because I didn’t know how they would do after reading all the posts, but next time I would definitely take them. Yea it would take us a bit longer with the kids, but I think they would enjoy it. Especially the suspension bridge, waterfalls, and just wildlife. Also for all those snake and lizard lovers out there I have to report that I saw not a single lizard or snake. Just some spiders and beautiful butterflies! I can see though how this hike would make you quite sweaty in the hot months. It was beautiful though and well worth it. Don’t let other posts scare you away from going!

    • Thank you for the accurate review (steps climbed, etc) My hubby and I are taking a 2 day getaway to Okuma this weekend and wanted to find a jungly hike…this looks like it will be just the thing!

  12. We had only been in Okinawa for 2 weeks and a friend invited us to go with them to Hiji Falls. It is such a beautiful place but the stairs were killers. Needless to say I’m glad we walked the whole trail. We took so many beautiful pics and memories to last a life time. We also went to Aha falls and that was a waterfall you only see in the movies. Aha falls, is beyond gorgeous and we had the pleasure of playing and swimming in the water.

  13. I enjoyed the hike, I would classify it as medium… lots of stairs but nothing strenuous. Lots of spiders and one snake, although this is a sub-tropical island so it is expected. The big bummer was that there is no swimming allowed in the waterfall because it is a hot, hot hike!

  14. We got there this morning when it opened at 9am and we thought it was worth it. We brought our 15 month old daughter with us and carried her the whole way…aside from a few short breaks along the way. We are in pretty good shape so it wasn’t horrible. Lots of stairs though and I was soaked with sweat! We made it back to the car in 2 hours and took several pictures along the way. Did see 2 snakes, a few lizards and spiders… no habu, just green tree snakes (I think). I still squealed when my husband said “snake!” though, haha!

  15. This hike for me and my family was not very fun at all! As soon as we got there this BIG lizard poped out from a whole and it scared me to death! Also, we saw about three snakes! YuckY! We agreed that we would NEVER do this hike again! Never, Never, Never!!

  16. This isnt a place for animals anyways…even if the brochure did allow it. In some parts, you are pulling yourself up with a rope. It took us about 40 min to get to the falls and totally worth it. This place is an excellent adventure for those in semi-good shape. We also went to Tadake falls, which is a river hike…not for children or pets but a beautiful place for sure.

  17. Ashley-
    So sorry to hear about your misadventure, we were looking forward to hiking this in the near future. Maybe we should look elsewhere since we like to take our dogs as well. Any info on the other hiking spots that allow dogs? We are always looking for something we can do with our furry friends. 🙂

  18. My husband and I went to do the hike few weekends ago. Before we left I looked for rules, regulations, etc. for pets because there seem to be restrictions in certain areas and I wanted to be sure we could bring our dog. There were no regulations, we checked their most recent brochure (available at the travel agency on-base) so we figured we were good to go. We drove the hour and a half from Camp Foster to the Okuma area only to be told we could not bring the dog. There was NOT a restriction on their list OR in their brochure that they had at the desk. I have never been so unimpressed! I most definitely will NOT be returning.

    Dog owners: There are MANY other hiking options that allow you to bring your dog, unfortunately, this place is not one of them.

  19. I’m a 52 year old female, not in good physical shape, who decided on the spur of the moment that she could keep up with her 22 year old son. We made it to the falls, and back, but would not recommend this to anyone with a bad heart or bad knees. Right now my knees are swollen to twice their size and tomorrow I am leaving to fly to DC. Should be fun.

  20. This is a wonderful hike and a must adventure if you live on Okinawa! So much fun and the falls & river/creek are beautiful. Yes, you need to be in reasonable physical shape to hike it. I can’t imagine trying this hike 3 weeks after having a baby (impressive attempt for the article’s author). We didn’t hike w/our toddler, but we saw several families with theirs. Lots of stair climbing.

  21. is there any restaurants near hiji fall?
    I think I will be really hungry after the hiking. or should i bring a lunch box and eat at Okuma?

  22. Just went to Hiji falls this past week during our tent camping trip and Hiji Falls IS CLOSED from November 2008 through March 31, 2009. They are repairing the trail.

  23. Yes, I would imagine that two small children (one a newborn!!) made all the difference for you. That and the time of year! We’ve hiked to the falls a couple of times, both in the winter. We only have one child, however, that my husband carried, so I can’t vouch for the challenge of doing it while carting a child. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the falls. One time we decided that we needed to hurry to get back to our cars (and the rest of our group at Okuma), so we jogged all the “downhill” stairs and hills (with minimal stress, since it was downhill) and walked the uphill areas, and we made the return trip in about 20 or 25 minutes.
    My husband and I love nature hikes, and this is one I’d recommend doing at least once while on island, depending on the ages of your children and other circumstances of course (i.e., taking along a just-potty-trained toddler might make for a rough trip, as the only restrooms are at the trailhead). For me, the hike added to the experience of being on a tropical island – it’s rugged and humid and the vegetation is great, as I imagined more of Okinawa would be (before I arrived and found out it was so predominantly urban!).
    As I mentioned, the falls are very close to the Okuma recreation center, so the hike also makes a nice morning trip during a stay there. That way, you don’t have to attempt the hike and the round-trip drive (of about 90 minutes each way, if I remember correctly?) consecutively, unless you wish to do so.

  24. wow..i hated the walk too.. wayyyyy too many steep stairs. the falls were pretty but the whole time i was dreading the walk back..also we have two large (approx 1 foot) cave centipedes drop down out of the trees above us and try to attack our feet. so beware of some of the nature.

    it was pretty tho. definitely a must do…once. with lots of water.

  25. The hubby and I did this hike about 7 years ago when we were much younger, not to mention in much better shape and pre-kids. I remember it being a challenging hike even then. I can’t imagine attempting this 3 weeks after having a baby!

  26. Kudos to you and thanks for the info., too. great pics. can’t wait to get our family up there and enjoy another beautiful aspect of Okinawa.

  27. Um, you JUST had a baby and your hiking?! I am giving you a standing ovation. And then you took the time to share it with the rest of us?! Thanks and WOW. Really, thanks.

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