Believed to be some 2000 years old, the Nakabaru Village Ruins are an interesting archaeological site on beautiful Ikei Jima, the island that makes the most eastern tip of Uruma. Designated a national historic site in 1986, Nakabaru Village is a small collection of traditional huts from the Jomon Period, and excavations revealed earthenware pots and a variety of tools, such as axes made of stone and needles made of bone.

Today some of the huts have been rebuilt to reflect what the traditional dwellings would have looked like. But it’s a tight squeeze – if you are small in stature (or a kid) you can manage to take a look inside. A number of the huts have been left open, meaning without a roof, to show how they are constructed.

The base of the huts were built with stone and built embedded in the earth to protect them from typhoons. The roofs were reinforced with bamboo and wood, and covered with straw. In the lower parts of the hut, families cooked and slept. The dwellers of the island would have been hunters and fishermen. Archaeologists also discovered a burial ground nearby.

Ikei Jima is remote even today, despite being attached to neighbouring islands Miyagi Jima, Henza Jima and the mainland, all by bridge. The area remains rural and largely agricultural, with few visitors. Getting there is an incredibly scenic drive, with very iconic shisa guarding the red bridges that connect these beautiful islands.

If you want to make it a day trip to this area, there are many beaches nearby, a large campground, and a handful of small guest houses scattered across the peninsula. Ikei Island has one large hotel, AJ Resort, at the northern tip of the island. On the mainland side, in Uruma, you can also visit Katsuren Castle.

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Nakabaru Village Ruins

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Nakabaru Village Ruins