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Fantastic Okinawa - Beaches, Temple Highlight Visit to Naha’s Naminoue Area

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2004-05-06

Our Fantastic Okinawa destination is near the capital city’s downtown area, an area known both for relaxation and enlightenment.

Naminoue, one of the many districts within Naha City, is home to the only beach within the city limits. It is also the idyllic setting for one of Okinawa’s eight most prestigious religious shrines.

There are actually two beaches wrapping around the waters facing onto the Naha Harbor Complex just west of downtown, about 15 minutes south of Camp Kinser. Both warrant visits, although one is more commercial than the other.

The public Naminoue Beach is a sandy stretch about 150 yards wide and 75 meters deep. It’s protected by buoy ropes to protect youngsters from venturing into the open waters. Admission is free.

Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours each day, and also assist with creature comforts such as renting beach umbrellas, loungers, beach chairs and of course, floats for the kids. Nominal fees are charged for the rentals.

Adjacent to the public beach is a beautiful, relaxing Midorigaoka Park, open year-round and often frequented by local residents. Several dozen grassy knolls, water streams meandering through the park, wading sprinkler pools for the youngsters, and gazebos sheltering from the elements are all free at the Park.

Naminoue Beach was once called Wakasa seashore, with stores, shops and boats for rent. At that time, it was Naha’s most popular swimming locale, before landfills and runoff polluted the water. Restoration which began in 1991 has restored the area, which now boasts more than 700 meters of shoreline between Naminoue shrine and Miigusuku.

Parking is nearby, and costs Y300 for three hours.

A second Naminoue Beach area sits just west of Naminoue itself, and is surrounded by fast food restaurants, beach supplies and even some light shopping stores. Admission and parking prices vary, depending on services used.
A Key Temple

Naminoue temple is one of the island’s eight most famous shrines. Historical and cultural records are that the god Kumano-sansha-Gongen worshipped at Naminoue-gu. The temple is built high on a hill overlooking the waters of the East China Sea.

The other seven great Ryukyu shrines are Oki Shrine, Shikina, Futenma, Sueyoshi, Asato Hachimangu, Ameku and Kin. These will be visited during other Fantastic Okinawa outings.

Naminoue temple is the most popular Okinawa destination for residents making their first shrine visit of the year on New Year’s Eve. Hundreds of thousands of people line up, often waiting more than an hour as the crowd threads its way up the hill to the temple, where prayers are offered.

Getting There

Begin your travels south on Highway 58 from the military bases. As you pass through downtown Naha, look for Izumizaki Intersection, and then the signs indicating Naminoue. Turn right off Highway 58 and go to second left at the roundabout (traffic circle), then drive straight about 1.5 kilometers. This brings you to vicinity of the beach and park. Parking is across Naminoue Seaside Road, just south of Tomari Ohashi (Tomari Bridge).

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