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Home of first Okinawans

Date Posted: 2003-03-28

Legend says the first human being on Okinawa was a goddess, and that a cave was the home of the goddess The cave is located at the western edge of Yabuchi Island, off Yonashiro Town.

The legend notes that the goddess lived in the cave with her pet dog, the first domesticated animal in Okinawa. The cave has long been considered to be a holy place where people worship and pray for safety and good harvests.

Some of the oldest earthenware pottery remains found in Okinawa have been unearthed from the cave. The artifacts trace to the early Jomon period that dates back up to 10,000 years ago. Most of the remains from that period are located along the seashore, which indicates a fishing lifestyle for those that lived there. The oldest earthenware pottery in Okinawa is the Tsumegatamon-doki, which have impressions of the makers' fingertips and fingernails on them. This type of pottery is estimated to be around 6,700 years old, and is also known as Yabuchi type and Agaribaru type earthenware.

Yabuchi has no permanent residents, although there are fields that are cultivated. It is said that every house that was ever attempted to be built burned down because the ancient spirits did not want earthly neighbors. A single dirt road leads from the bridge connecting the island to the mainland to the cave on the other side.

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