Beauty found across pristine Okinawa
When you live on Okinawa, and are busy with work and family and other distractions, it can be quite easy to forget all the beautiful places Okinawa has to offer.
Luckily, with a little bit of exploration and taste for adventure, there are many places available for discovery. One such easy-to-get-to site is Hiji Falls on Okinawa’s northwest side, not far from the U.s. military’s recreation area at Okuma Beach.
Hiji Falls is not difficult to maneuver; in fact, it is a beautiful walk, although humid through Okinawan jungle. Consider it a sightseeing excursion, but be aware it is absolutely not a swimming hole, and for safety reasons there are many rules.
The alternative is a beautiful place to swim, and equally a plus factor, not crowded with people. Admittedly, though, Taa Waterfall is a bit off the beaten path. It is very close to Nago, only some 20 minutes past the city. Most people probably haven’t heard of Taa Waterfall because there are no signs or directions, and that’s what keeps it great.
Also, keeping it an Okinawan secret is the fact that there is no trail to the waterfall. What would be the trail is actually a river. The thought of trudging up a river, getting soaking wet and staying soaking wet may discourage many people from going to Taa Waterfall, but this makes the journey to the waterfall all the more interesting and enjoyable.
Luckily the river has no heavy current and is quite shallow. There are a few areas that are deeper, but nowhere more than waist deep. It is good idea to bring water shoes or an old pair of shoes. More than likely people can do the walk through the river with any type of shoes, but there is always the danger of injuring your feet on the slippery rocks.
Taa Waterfall is a great place to bring children because it gives them a chance to explore, and be faced with nature’s challenges as they negotiate the river. Although the river has some more difficult stretches in parts, it is still very easily negotiated for able people. Perhaps surprisingly for an American, seeing a Japanese family carrying their toddler up with them is a bit different, but certainly possible, considering individual activity level and safety awareness.
The walk to the waterfall takes about 45 minutes on average. When reaching the waterfall, one is amazed that so close to home there’s such a beautiful and undiscovered spot. Swim and get close to the waterfall, but beware the waterfall itself is very powerful. A final note on Taa Waterfall: this waterfall is a great place to enjoy some beverages or have a picnic and hang out for a while, but remember that swimming in the fresh water is noticeably colder and feels different than the ocean.