Encounter a Picturesque Beach! A Complete Guide to Kumejima, a Remote Island in Okinawa
Kumejima (Kume Island) is just 30 minutes away from Naha, Okinawa by plane. It is a popular remote island that can be reached in about three hours if you take a ferry. This article will feature the best way to enjoy this island.
- What kind of place is Kumejima?
- Head to this beach if you want to enjoy the scenery! Hate no Hama
- If you want to swim, then this is the place! Eef Beach
- If you want to explore an old private house, don't look anywhere else! Uezu-ke
- If you want to buy souvenirs, then head to this place!
What kind of place is Kumejima?
Kumejima is an island that floats about 100km west of Naha in the main island of Okinawa. Covering a total land area of 63.21 sq. km., this is the fifth largest island in the prefecture. It flourished as a port of call in trade with various countries in Asia such as China during the era when Okinawa was an independent state called the Ryukyu Kingdom. Being the most beautiful island in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Kumejima was also called Kuminoshima. The presence of rich nature is also an appeal of this island, with the entire island designated as a prefectural natural park.
Head to this beach if you want to enjoy the scenery! Hate no Hama
Hate no Hama, located in the eastern part of Kumejima, is a sandbank stretching about 7km that links three beaches. It is a spot that offers a gorgeous view of the contrast among white sand, blue sky and cobalt blue sea. The clarity of this sea is said to be one of the best in the world.
It takes approximately 30 minutes to get to Hate no Hama from Kumejima by boat. There are many tours (priced starting around 3,000 JPY) being offered in this place, and guests can choose the package they want, including the half-day tour and one-day course. There is even a tour that comes with snorkeling.
If you want to swim, then this is the place! Eef Beach
Eef Beach is a spot that represents Okinawa Island, winning the honor of being chosen as one of the Top 100 Beaches in Japan. It is a natural beach with fine white sand that covers an area of around 2km. Its waves are calm since its water is not that deep, so it's the best spot for going for a dip in the sea. The hotels and dive shops around this area offer a full lineup of activities, including windsurfing, banana boats and snorkeling
If you want to explore an old private house, don't look anywhere else! Uezu-ke
Uezu-ke (Uesu Residence) is an old house of a warrior in the Ryukyu Kingdom that was built in the 1700s. This mansion that is surrounded by solid stone walls and Fukugi trees has also been designated as an important cultural property of Japan. Aside from the main house, the mae no ie (an ante-house), hinpun (a stone wall that means concealment and talisman) and the well have been preserved. Pay attention to the architectural beauty that one can only expect from Okinawa, including its red roof tiles.
If you want to buy souvenirs, then head to this place!
The standard souvenir from Kumejima is Okinawa’s alcohol called Awamori. Kumejima is blessed with rich water resources, so it is the perfect place for creating Awamori. There are two sake breweries on this island, comprising Kumejima no Kumesen and Yoneshima Shuzo. The Kumejima, Hoshi no Akari and Chura Botaru are rare brands that are difficult to obtain outside of the island.
The traditional craft dubbed Kumejima Tsumugi, which has been designated as an important intangible cultural property of the country, is also recommended. Woven from silk cord, it is a kind of handwoven fabric whose fibers have been dyed using natural plants and mud. At the Kumejima Tsumugi no Sato Yuimaru-kan (admission fee for adults: 200 JPY), where you can also experience dyeing and weaving (prices start at 2,100 JPY for adults), small accessories that use Kumejima Tsumugi are on sale.
Other sightseeing spots
Uegusuku Joato (Uegusuku Castle Ruins), located at the highest point in Kumejima, is a spot that offers a stunning view of virtually the entire island. Even among the castles in the prefecture, it is the tallest at 310m above ground. On a clear day, you will be able to see the main island of Okinawa, too.
Goeda no Matsu (Five-Root Tree Ancient Pine Tree) is an Okinawa pine tree that is over 250 years old in tree age, which has been designated as a national natural treasure of Japan. The highlight of this tree is its extraordinary shape that extends sideways, making it seem like it is crawling on the ground. In early-May, you can also watch the boisterous Kumejima Botaru dance being performed.
There are more than 260 kinds of corals and 2,000 sea creatures living around Kumejima. There is a point at a spot that is close to the port, so it is highly recommended if you feel like trying diving.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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