It’s the literal end of the line – the most northern tip of Okinawa, with stunning ocean views and incredible natural beauty, surrounded by nothing but green in this remote part of the island. It may take a long time to get there, even using the expressway, but it is a road trip worth doing. Along the way you pass through tiny traditional Okinawan villages unchanged by time, as well as beaches and fishing ports. There are many scenic spots to stop and take pictures, such as Kayauchi Bantaa, and the nearby Daisekirinzan Park with 200 million year old limestone rock formations. Considering how long it takes to get to Cape Hedo, it is recommended to do all three.
At the Cape itself, there is free parking, and a number of small walking paths and look out points. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Yoron Island, more than 20 kilometres away in Kagoshima Prefecture. Below you are high cliffs, to your right are a number of sandy beaches, and below you, pristine coral reefs.
And then, just as you are relaxing and breathing in the sea breeze, your eyes notice something strange up on the hills to the east. Something large, and black and orange in color. You squint in the bright midday sun – what the heck is that? It’s a giant Yanbaru Kuina observatory, which also provides a view point of Cape Hedo. Why someone decided to build this big bird there in the middle of the forest is anyone’s guess, but it’s a fun pit-stop, and just a few minutes drive from the Cape.
In terms of facilities, next to the parking lot at Cape Hedo is a small restaurant, serving local favorites like kakigori (shaved ice), soki soba, and Orion Beer. The menu is simple, but serves its purpose. There are bathrooms on-site, before you start the long drive home.
Kunigami District, to which Cape Hedo belongs, is still underdeveloped due to its remote location. However, a number of guest houses have been popping up, so you could potentially stay the night near the Cape and then drive back the following day.
Parking: On site, free
MONDAY – SUNDAY 12:00 am – 12:00 pm
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973-8 Hedo, Kunigami-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa-ken 905-1421, Japan