Approximately 15 minutes by high-speed boat from Heshikiya Port in Katsuren, Uruma City on the main island of Okinawa, lies Tsuken Island home to abundant nature, surrounded by beaches and the blue ocean. Farmland covers approximately 80% of the island, and roughly 60% of which are carrot farms.The island is known for its specialty product, the Tsuken Carrot, which is high in sugar content and nutritional value, giving rise to the moniker Carrot Island.
There is an abundance of seafood in the surrounding waters, making Tsuken Island an ideal place for fishing and snorkeling. In the summer leisure season, many visitors, from tourists to locals, flock to the island bringing a surge of activity. The lighthouse that remains on the island is the first lighthouse built in Okinawa, and is considered a significant piece of modern architecture.
The fields of red soil known as “Shimajiri maji” covering the breadth of Tsuken Island are rich in minerals from the ocean brought by the sea breeze, and are said to be suitable for cultivating root vegetables. As a result, the Tsuken Carrot has come to be known as an exceptional carrot with its high sugar content and nutritional value, and during the harvest season from March to May, a large number of people from outside the island visit to take part in the harvest. Unique souvenirs made with Tsuken Carrot place emphasis on its high sugar content, including sweets, and cider is also quite popular.
On the west coast of the island is a natural beach that extends over 1 kilometer. In addition to being one of the largest natural beaches in the prefecture, Tomai beach faces Nakagusuku Bay on the main island of Okinawa, so the waves remain calm, making it a popular destination for families. There is a campground provided adjacent to the beach, and many visitors come to enjoy marine leisure activities from the main island of Okinawa during the summer season.
The “Chikin-dekuni” (Tsuken radish), once the main cash crop grown on the island, was known for being sweet and soft as well as suited for pickles and simmered dishes. Although carrots have become more mainstream these days, it seemingly goes to show that the root vegetables of Tsuken Island have always been popular. The primary means of transportation on this idyllic island is rental bicycle, making it easy to visit the legendary well of “Hotuga,” believed to have been discovered by a pigeon, to Maka, the spirit of childbearing, and to see the first lighthouse in Okinawa.
By air : None
By sea : Heshikiya Port (Katsuren Peninsula, Uruma) － Tsuken Port (approx. 30 minutes by ferry)
Area / Population: 1.88km² / approx. 520 people
Uruma-ru (Uruma City Tourist Association) *Only in Japanese.