Home to the magnificent Yambaru National Park, the northern part of Okinawa Island is an area rich in natural beauty and rare wildlife. Situated in the heart of this beautiful, pristine region, Motobu Port is an important hub and the main gate to northern Okinawa. Make the most of your stop here and set off for an exciting trip that will leave a smile on the faces of children and adults alike. Paddle a kayak through mangrove waterways, have lunch in a local diner where just-landed fish is always on the menu and squeeze out the secret of health from the amazing shikuwasa fruit. Okinawa’s wonderful nature will surely not let you down!
↓ About 45 minutes by taxi
When traveling as a family, it is often difficult to find activities that all members can enjoy. An adventurous and fun-filled kayaking experience through the mangroves of the Gesashi River, though, makes everyone agree and is a great way to appreciate the natural wonders of Okinawa from a different perspective. Gesashi Mangrove Forest is a Nationally Designated Natural Monument and the largest mangrove area in Okinawa. A wide variety of eco-tours are available here for any visitor who wants not only to explore nature, but also learn more about the area’s history and culture and get glimpses of local life. One of the most popular and memorable tour options, the kayak tour takes you through tunnels made from luxuriant mangrove vegetation, which is home to unique wildlife and incredible biodiversity. No engine noise or fumes, just the sound of your paddle in the water and the sounds of nature surrounding you. Enter a narrow mangrove-lined stream to see every detail of the forest up close and keep your eyes open to spot the creatures that live there, such as crabs, fish, or rare birds. There are many courses to choose from and even beginners can participate: a few simple instructions from the experienced guide and you will be in the water ready to go! Everyone from three years old children to grandparents can enjoy the excitement and the fun of this activity, which will become one of your best family memories.
↓ About 30 minutes by taxi
After your mangrove adventure, it is time to take a well-deserved lunch break. When it comes to choosing a good place to eat, go local and you will not go wrong. Try the best seafood Okinawa has to offer at Kunigami-Minato-Shokudo (also known as Fisherman’s Dining) a small, welcoming restaurant located in the Kunigamihama Fishing Port. Loved by locals and praised by tourists, it serves mouthwatering dishes made with the freshest fish from the next-door port. The owner, who is a real “uminchu” (fisherman in the Okinawan language) himself, personally selects and prepares the finest ingredients from the Okinawan sea and knows the best way to enhance their flavors. The menu changes every day depending on the catch and varies from fish grilled with butter to stewed dishes. Among the staple items are the “Marinated Tuna on Rice” and the “Three Varieties of Sashimi and Fried Local Fish Set,” which are especially recommended. Whatever you order, it is sure to be delicious and the generous portions will satisfy even the most ravenous appetites. If the weather is nice, you can eat outside in the terrace seats, which face a lawn and allow you to enjoy the gentle breeze drifting from the ocean. The all-you-can-eat salad bar is also included in the price, so feel free to heap your plate with as many vegetables as you like!
↓ About 15 minutes by taxi
If you still feel tired from kayaking, a nice boost of vitamin C is what you need to refresh and recharge. A type of lime native to Okinawa, the shikuwasa contains plenty of vitamin C, which helps relieve fatigue and renew your energy reserves, and its tangy, refreshing taste makes it a great, healthy juice. Find out everything about this incredible fruit at the Shikuwasa Park in Ogimi Village. Near the entrance is a tree-shaped dispenser where you can drink all the shikuwasa juice you want and from the viewing gallery of the adjacent processing plant, you can see how the juice is extracted and bottled. Sample the different types of shikuwasa juice lined up by month and see how it tastes through diverse harvest times. If you are looking for a taste of Okinawa to take home with you, check out the shop where all kinds of shikuwasa products, from jams to ponzu sauces, are on sale. The undisputed star is of course the shikuwasa juice, which can be enjoyed straight or mixed with water, soda, or your favorite spirit. The products are all available for tasting so you can pick your favorites and savor them at home. The facility also features a restaurant where you can try stone oven pizza sprinkled with shikuwasa powder and other original snacks with a unique shikuwasa twist. The children will have a lot of interesting stories to tell back at school!
↓ About 35 minutes by taxi
15:00 Return to Motobu Port
Posted on March 31th, 2021
Text by Silvia Telloni
Based in Tokyo with Okinawa in her heart, Silvia Telloni translates and writes in Italian, English and Japanese.