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Sekirinzan Park an absolute hiker paradise

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2009-06-05

It’s hard to adequately describe Sekirinzan Park on the far northern tip of Okinawa’s main island, because it’s so many different things to different people.

Awesome…unbelievable…breathtaking are how most visitors to Sekirinzan Park describe the experience. Rugged in spots, and easy to traverse in others, the park is uniquely different than others on the island. It’s mountains interspersed with craggy limestone faces pay homage to the ages. Believed to be the geological foundation of Okinawa, the limestone has been battered by the elements for 200 million years.

Visitors with a historical bent can spend hours being fascinated by the limestone, which has special features that melt with rain or water and carbon dioxide, a process called Karst. Sekirinzan Park is a tropical Karst area, the same type of Karst as is found in Papua, New Guinea and Indonesia. In Japan, it’s only here.

Sekirinzan Park, which you’ll also hear referred to as Asumui by the locals, is filled with incredible rock formations that hikers fall in love with. The park, which was created only a few years ago, in 2002 by an Okinawa company, is a hiker’s dream. There are numerous opportunities for trekking through the park, venturing off the beaten paths and trails, soaking up the rock formations and Mother Nature’s beauty.

The park offers four walking-hiking courses, each well marked and each uniquely different:

An inspirational course, challenging but not too difficult, is the giant rock stone mountain trail. The 700-meter long rail takes about 30 minutes to navigate.

The barrier-free circuit course is easier, taking about 25 minutes to make the 600-meter look.

A tropical forest and nature course puts hikers face-to-face with nature, including the popular banyan trees. A hike along the 700-meter route takes about one-half hour.

The Chura umi observatory course is also 700-meters long and takes about 30 minutes to walk or hike.

The Cost

Sekirinzan Park is open daily from 9 a.m. ~ 5 p.m. Admission is ¥800 for adults, and¥500 for kids 5-15. Disabled adults pay ¥400, and disabled children are admitted for ¥250. Special discount rates are in effect for groups of 15 or more.

Getting There

A day trip to Sekirinzan Park is easy, although it takes several hours driving time because of its location on the far northern tip of Okinawa, across from Hedo Point. If traveling by expressway, go to the northern terminus Kyodo, then take Highway 58 north. Once at Hedo Point, instead of turning left to enter, turn right to the park. There are many signs leading to the park. A more leisurely trip north can be made exclusively on Highway 58, with many opportunities to take in the local culture and sights.

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