Staff Recommendation: Mt. Ishikawa for casual trekking in Okinawa
Hello, my name is Fujita. I have been living in Okinawa for 6 years and working at Estinate Hotel Naha.
When people think of Okinawa, they think of the crystal clear ocean, but did you know that there are mountains suitable for trekking?
There is actually a lot of greenery in the northern and southern parts of the main island, and I think this is one of the charms of Okinawa.
According to some sources, about 70% of the plants and insects found in Japan can be observed in Yanbaru, in the northern part of Okinawa.
To let our guests enjoy not only the ocean but also the mountains on this nature-rich island, I would like to introduce Mount Ishikawa, where you can easily enjoy trekking.
Even I, an amateur trekker, can easily enjoy this trekking course, so I highly recommend it for beginners as well.
Overview of Mt. Ishikawa
Mt. Ishikawa is located in Ishikawa, Uruma City, just off the Ishikawa Interchange on the expressway.
It is about an hour from Estinate Hotel by expressway.
Mt. Ishikawa is located at the entrance to Onna Village, where many resort hotels are located. Onna Village is a popular area that is often mentioned in tourist magazines, but Mt. Ishikawa is a hidden spot where you can get away from the crowd.
Mt. Ishikawa is at an elevation of 204 meters, and it’s the perfect mountain for beginners and for those who want to exercise a little.
How does it actually look on Mt. Ishikawa?
First, for your safety and enjoyment, I recommend you register at the Okinawa Prefectural Ishikawa Youth House. You can also get the information here.
Okinawa Prefectural Ishikawa Youth House: http://www.unai-sc.net/index.php?id=52
After registration, there are three courses to choose from: A, B, and C.
Course C is the most difficult, so I recommend Course A as an easy start.
Once in the mountains, the path is uneven, and you will be constantly going up and down.
And since it is summer in Okinawa, it will be very hot. However, it is refreshing for your body to move in nature, and the occasional breeze will be pleasant.In the subtropical zone of Okinawa, the vegetation is clearly different from that of Honshu, giving it a tropical feel.
Okinawa is the only prefecture in the subtropical zone in Japan. For those who come from the main island like me, you will be astounded by the plants, and 100% will get the tropical feeling. You will enjoy it a lot.
You will discover many things, and if you are knowledgeable about plants and flowers, you will enjoy it even more. There is a stream along the way, which provides a refreshing point for washing your hands and face.
Course A is about a one-way path in which the direction is indicated, so there is no worry about getting lost. There are signs like “⇒” that are well-maintained to some extent as guideposts, but be aware that it is still in the mountains and the path is not paved.
Along the way, we will also encounter the Oogomadara butterfly, which is also known as the butterfly of Okinawa Prefecture. The Oogomadara has a very distinctive pattern on its wings and is a rare butterfly that is said to live only here.
Encountering such rare insects and plants is one of the joys of trekking in nature, isn’t it?
On Course A we will be able to reach the summit in less than 3 hours with plenty of time to spare. From the top, you can see the ocean on the east side.
Again, people who come to Okinawa wouldn’t normally think about the mountains, and that is why I want to introduce it to you. I hope you will add it to your options because the mountains of Okinawa have their own beauty. After climbing the mountains, you can go swimming in the ocean in the evening! Wouldn’t that be the most luxurious plan you can have?
We are looking forward to hearing from you at the front desk of Estinate Hotel to share your trekking experience at Mount Ishikawa!