Ie Island or Iejima sits a couple of miles out from the Motobu Peninsula on the western side of Okinawa main island and on a clear day can be seen from most of the west coast. After seeing the island and its distinctive shape on the horizon every day for several years we decided to take the ferry out to Ie and see it close up.
Ferries to Ie depart from Motobu Port at 9am and 11am and take about 30 minutes. The last return ferry of the day leaves Ie at 4pm. Having young children, we decided to take the car with us, which meant we had to be at the port about 30 minutes before departure. After arriving in Ie we found the nearest Konbini and stocked up on food and drinks for the day ahead.
Mount Gusuku, symbol of Ie, rises up 172m and since the rest of the island is flat it’s a spectacular sight! Of course, you can see Mt Gusuku from anywhere on the island so getting to the car park about ten minutes’ drive away was easy with the help of a couple of road signs. On foot, it would take maybe 30-40 minutes from the port. The mountain is considered a sacred place or utaki in Okinawan culture and there is a small shrine next to the start of the trail. For the most part getting to the top involves climbing a steep, but thankfully quite short set of stairs. There is a handrail, so although it’s physically demanding it is accessible to most and my children (3 and 5) had no problems at all. The summit of Mt Gusuku is quite rocky but it’s possible to walk about and enjoy the spectacular 360-degree views, take photos and sit down to rehydrate and have snacks. We loved it at the top and spent maybe around 15 minutes up there. Back at the car park there are plenty of facilities – souvenir shop, snack bar and toilets.
Other sights we visited around Ie were the Niya Thiya Cave and the beautiful Ie Beach – with soft sand, cafes and an impressive beach swing, this place was a real paradise and a perfect way to end our day!
Higashieue, Ie, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0501
For ferry information – https://www.iejima.org.e.qz.hp.transer.com
Free parking at Mount Gusuku