Usually getting to a waterfall requires some serious trekking up a river or scrambling over rocks. But thankfully, nestled in the lush green forests of Kunigami lies a beautiful waterfall that is safe and accessible, even for families with small children.
Hiki Otaki, or Hiji Falls, is Okinawa’s highest waterfall at 25.7 metres, but be aware that swimming is not allowed. The walk however is well worth it, through the forest and across a fantastic suspension bridge that is 17 metres above the river below. Not good for those who have a fear of heights!
Finding Hiji Falls is simple enough – there are signs showing you where to turn off Highway 58, and the parking lot is next to the park’s camp ground. At the administrative office you pay a small entrance fee of |¥500 for adults and ¥300 for kids before entering the park.
From the campground it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the falls, but longer if you’ve got little ones. The path is well maintained and there are rest stop areas along the way, but be aware there are quite a lot of steps so it is not stroller friendly!
Something that I personally found a bit off putting was the number of ropes and caution signs greeting you every turn of the path – don’t touch the rope, don’t climb, no swimming. But perhaps in the past someone found themselves in deep trouble, and now the park management is not taking any chances.
Despite not being able to swim, the view of waterfall is very lovely, and the walk through the park is beautiful. If you want to stay and enjoy some time in the untouched forests of Kunigami, you can pay ¥2000 to camp overnight. They do not provide rental tents, but the campground does have toilets and shower facilities. If you happen to have a zenzai craving, be sure to visit the campsite’s Hiji Cafe (closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Reservations for camping are advised.
Mon – Sun :09:00 to 15:00
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