Yomitan Village, Japan

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Yomitan - An attractive village in Okinawa

Jul 27, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great cafe, magnificent cape, and peculiar culture.


The Bottom Line: You can spend great time having fun a lot of thing in Yomitan. Yomitan is a small Okinawa. You can feel whole OKinawa in Yomitan.

Yomitan village is a small village in the middle part of Okinawa, Japan. The population is around 40,000 and the area is around 35 km². Approximately 35 % of the land is occupied as US military bases. Fishery is a thriving industry. Beniimo is famous crop, which is a purple sweet potato. This time, I will mainly recommend two places. Of course I will mention about other places, too.

My favorite café
I have been to Yomitan many times because I live in Okinawa (though I currently live in the USA). The last time I went there was this past May. The purpose was to have pancakes in a café. This is a café that I have been to before. I ate strawberry pancakes, of which is very soft and moist. My friends ordered banana pancakes, berry pancakes respectively. Although I felt the prices were slightly high, the taste was very good and wonderful. That was the best pancake that I ever had. How to get there is rather difficult. We got lost for a while even though we all lived in Okinawa. Finding the shop is not easy. Tiny signs directed us and we finally found it 15 minutes later. The house was built for US military family. The owner changed it into a pancake house. Americans from military bases in Yomitan or near bases often come to there. I heard this café is famous and popular among Americans living in Okinawa. Genuine Americans love this café, which means those pancakes are real. I think the owner speaks English because she studied in America.
Access is available in this site.

Cape Zanpa
Cape Zanpa is a famous beauty spot in Okinawa. I have been to there three times. Bluff, which is 30 meters high, lasts 2 kilometers. The cape was once a black spot of voyage for sailors. Ocean around the cape has rough waves. White spindrift made by water smashing and crumbling against the bluff is magnificent and tremendous. The sounds are also dynamic. From the tip of the cape, we can see Kerama Islands and Ie Island; in particular, the views in the evening are very beautiful. Fishing and scuba diving are seen anytime except in typhoon.

A lighthouse soars 28 meters and 44 meters high from sea level. The lighthouse charges you 150 yen per adult and 20 yen per children. The steep stairs might exhaust you, but in the summit, you will see so fantastic view of the East China Sea that will make your fatigue go away. The blue sky and ocean make a beautiful contrast with the white lighthouse, of which is very impressive. Evening sunlight is famous as a noble sight.

Near the lighthouse, sharp-pointed rocks exist. Watch out your steps. You should bring shoes, not sandals, because there are locks around there. Shoes are safe, though you can walk in sandals, although it is not recommended. Almost all places are not equipped fence, so you are easily able to tumble down the cliff. The wind is very strong. When a typhoon comes, waves bring water spray to the lighthouse. Near the cape, there is a beautiful beach and you can, of course, swim there. This is Zanpa Beach, which is located less than 500 meters south of the lighthouse. The parking lot is spacious.

Tourists can also spend the day at the Zanpa Misaki Recreation Plaza, located less than 100 meters south of the lighthouse. The plaza features a playground, restaurants, shops and barbecue pits. Zanpa giant Shisa, which is 7 meters high and located in front of the cape, Recreation Plaza, stands stately as a landmark. Shisa is a traditional Okinawan decoration, often found in pairs, resembling a cross between a lion and a dog. Okinawan traditional houses put a pair of Shisa on their rooftops or flanking the gates to their houses. Shisa are genius, believed to protect from various evils.

Yomitan has a lot of site tourists can visit besides above two. Okashigoten, Yachimun-no-sato,
Gala Aoiumi, Zakimi castle etc.

Okashigoten is a cake shop that sells unique Okinawan confectionary. It is famous among tourists as a souvenir shop as well. Inside the shop, there is a space to relax and have a great time with sweets. They offer thousands kinds of sweets. Beniimo tart is the most popular and standard sweet in the shop. Its aroma and Beniimo’s moderate sweetness are excellent. You can also taste lots of kind sweets before you buy. Its factory exists inside the shop and we can see the workers, workplace, and what process is used in making sweets though the glass. Okashigoten is always crowded. That accounts for popularity among tourists. On the premises, they have a restaurant that serves traditional Okinawan food.

Yachimun is Okinawan traditional pottery. In particular, many potters set up pottery in Yomitan.
There are 47 pottery kilns in Yomitan. You can say Yomitan is a leading pottery manufacture in Okinawa. Yachimun-no-sato is a place those potteries gather and lies in a secluded environmental nature. Workshops with roofs of red tile are found here and there, and potters work in a collective pottery. The design of pottery is mainly fish and plants. They are different from Chinese pottery and Japanese pottery. They have their own character and uniqueness.

Gala Aoiumi
Gala Aoiumi is a compound facility where you can experience, make, and eat salt.
They don’t charge any entrance fee. They offer many program such as; make salt from sea water by oneself, experience pottery using potter’s wheel, produce glass art, and execute accessory. There are charges for these programs. Salt ice cream is a special product. The taste is kind of fresh and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. The sea is close to the facilities and you can walk to the beach. The view is marvelous and the wind from the sea is comfortable. Other facilities are restaurant, parlor, souvenir shop and salt factory. Besides, you can tour inside the factory that produces salt from sea water nearby. They have a unique way to produce salt. It is worth visiting once. To be honest, the programs’ fees are expensive. I didn’t join any activity because of how expensive it is. I just watched programs and facilities, and had both salt ice cream and lunch there.

Zakimi castle ruins
Zakimi castle ruins lies on a 125 meters high hill where we can see the west coast and the whole field of Yomitan. The castle was built in the early 15 century. The walls are built in a way that rocks were stacked making an arc toward the sky in order to increase strength. I think one of the castle’s characteristics is adopting many curves. Ryukyu limestone is used and there is no opening in the wall. From the top of the castle we can see Cadena Air Base, which is biggest US base in the Far East and the East China Sea. Zakimi castle ruins were registered on World Heritage list on 2000. We can enter the castle for free and anytime. In January and February, cherry blossom bloom all over the field, so I recommend visiting there in the season if you can.

Yomitan has two resort hotels as far as I know. Okinawa Zanpa Royal Hotel and Hotel Nikko Alivila. I have never stayed these hotels, but one of my friends had lunch at the hotel and she said it was extraordinary and she was rather satisfied. I think these hotels are guaranteed. The next village, Onna, has also a lot of hotels.

About access to Yomitan, please visit the Jakkepoes’s web site. They have detailed direction and map.

Recommend this product? Yes

Best Suited For: Families
Best Time to Travel Here: Mar - May

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