CONTRIBUTED BY CAPTAIN IAN
Looking for a sheer, unadulterated, organic adventure in the form of a gorgeous fresh water river trek? Here’s our answer!
I have been trekking up this river for 2 years. I discovered it during a Coleman Camping photo shoot. Coleman sent a small team of spot scouts looking for the perfect place to capitalize on their new advertising campaign. They did well! I showed up for the shoot and was AMAZED by the beauty and innocence of the surrounding jungle and fresh-water river. I was so awe-struck that I began to wonder up a small stream. For two hours! I couldn’t stop! Around each bend the river water got more clear, and the green leaves began to reflect the sun in a glitter more impressive than a disco ball made of diamonds. My mind said “Go Back, you’ve got modeling to do!” Buy my heart said “Dude… You’re dumb if you don’t find out what’s beyond the next bend!” So, I continued to walk. Eventually I made it back to the team and nobody noticed I was gone. Success! I am either really ugly, or extremely unimportant… Bahhh! (I’ll bury that deep down inside).
The next week I was back at the river to do some serious exploring with my dogs. I spent five hours wandering up the river and through the jungle. Still, I never reached a section that didn’t encourage me to press further. It’s that beautiful!
I have been on countless river treks in Okinawa. Most have been average, and some even bad experiences. Once I got bit by a strange bug and had to go to the hospital. I ended up with swollen hands that resembled Mickey Mouse. Other rivers were dirty, or littered with trash, or crowded with people. But not the Ogimi River Trek!
If you make the best decision of your Okinawan life and venture to explore this river, be prepared to get wet up to your waist at some points. Bring bug spray, or a long sleeve shirt and pants just to be safe. However, wildlife on the river is very tame and shouldn’t send you to the hospital. Find yourself a good walking stick and take off up any stream or river you are led too. You have many options! Please be kind to the surrounding nature. Let’s keep it natural!
Directions: From Kadena gate 1 go right on 58 towards Nago (about 1 hour 20 minutes). Pass Nago. Pass the big Aeon Mall and NEO park as you near the end of Nago. Begin looking for Highway 14 once the ocean appears on your left again. Make a right on Highway 14 (if you hit a Family Mart on your RIGHT side you’ve gone too far). Stay on highway 14 for 1 kilometer. Make a right immediately after the first small bridge. Continue straight on that road for as long as you want. The road follows the natural path of the river. Stop at any point you believe is beautiful and begin hiking up stream. I recommend you drive at least 10 minutes along the river before you begin your trek. It gets more beautiful the further you go.
*If anyone can supply the google coordinates, we would love to add this to the map!*
Ogimi, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture
Edward, that side river you went up is the FUKU RIVER (Fuku-Gawa), ending at the large FUKUGAWA FALLS. From where you enter smaller Fuku River along the main GENKA RIVER, it’s a good 2 km up to the falls — but a very pretty and wild 2 km. If anyone is interested in a faster way in just to see the falls, both parking and the trail head for the 20 minute hike are HERE :
26°36’29.27″N 128° 3’13.28″E.
Park to the side of the wide space in the road. The trail head is just a bit to the East, and is indicated by the chained-off, unpaved farm trail that heads down the hill, Hop the chain, and follow the trail down through the Ferns and Forest. You will actually cross the river at one point on a low, concrete span, cross it again via a nice foot bridge, and see a red-roofed picnic pavilion along the way.
Do you recommend bringing an expensive camera? I’m a professional photographer and shoot a lot of nature for magazines and travel agencies. I’m wondering if you recommend bringing a camera without an underwater housing.
Hippiewithacamera, I think if you have a waterproof sack will be sufficient to keep it in until you pull it out for use. The footing is very unstable and many of the rocks are slippery, so you probably won’t be doing much hiking with the camera hanging off your neck. Also, you may consider packing a compact umbrella if the weather is rainy. As long as you’re careful, you should be fine with your expensive camera. Certainly lots of gorgeous scenery to shoot too!
Here are GPS coordinates to a good entrance to starting the trek. You will enter the river where several ropes hang from tree limbs. After walking upstream for a couple hundred yards (immediately after passing through a section with larger white-ish boulders in the river), there will be a fork in the river where a smaller river joins the one you started on. If you turn right into this river it will take you up past several smaller water falls and ultimately end up at a beautiful and sizable waterfall.
Dogs are ok to bring?
Yes, you can bring your dogs. They will be required to swim a few times.
In reference to the January 6 comments that claim the OP has now “ruined” this river by publicizing it, such remarks are in error. This river (which is in Nago, not Ogimi) has been promoted in popular, Japanese-language “River Books” and guides for decades. The river has also been featured numerous times on Japanese TV, as well as in Okinawa’s two major newspapers with circulation in the hundreds of thousands. I’ve seen it named on posters and promotional materials, as well. I’ve been trekking its length for over 30 years, and have, on numerous occasions, seen it packed out by OKINAWANS, and NOT English-speaking foreigners or American military. The riverside Boy Scout Camp alone brings in hundreds of people a year who also “spread the word”. In my opinion, I doubt that Captain Ian’s very nice English-language post on Okinawa Hai! will significantly alter the situation along this already well-known and popular river. I support the OP for sharing his experience here. There are lots of “still secret” ponds, pools, rivers, and waterfalls here on Okinawa, but the one featured here has never been one of them. Nevertheless, both now, and in the most probable future, as long as you pick the right day, you can still have this river all to yourself.
Thank you for posting this article and sharing your wonderful adventure of Okinawa. I go to a lot of different places and this place would be awesome for a nature hike. If their are going to be a lot of people on this hike,then that is wonderful because that is why we have nature for.
Some adventures are better left a secret and to be discovered on your own. This place will now no longer be uncrowded and peaceful as described. I’ve also been trekking this river for nearly 2 years. FYI there is barely any parking on this river and now I expect that it will be impossible to find parking.
It makes me incredibly sad that this river trek is now public. I have been on this trek, and it was such a wonderful, peaceful adventure. Now it will be ruined, along with the other hidden wonders of Okinawa that people felt the need to post about (miyagi island hidden beach). . I am sure you’re just excited about this place you discovered, but others have enjoyed it for many years without the public knowing about it. It should be kept that way.
Once you make a right on 14 there is a fork. Both sides have a bridge. Trying to find this river but in case anyone sees this, can you please direct me on which side?