During our Okinawa trip with kids in June, we were based around Central Okinawa where Renaissance Okinawa Resort was. We rented a car so that we could drive to the nearby scenic spots, because rugged coastlines were not something we got to see living in a city. Here are some of the beautiful scenic spots you can explore in Central Okinawa if capes, lighthouses and sunsets are what you love!
Cape Manza (Manzamo)
Cape Manza, or Cape Manzamo, is one of the most famous capes in Okinawa. The kanji characters for ‘Manza’ is 万座, which literally means 10,000 seats, apparently because the king in the past observed that the cliff was big enough for 10,000 to sit on?
There was a simple and relaxing walking trail around the area, no problem for the kids.
Along the way, we got photobombed by a dragonfly.
There were some of these interesting yellow plants around. Not sure what they were, but they seemed pretty common in the area.
Since this place was so classic and signature of Okinawa, I had to stick my face in for a mandatory been-here-done-that photo.
And the kids didn’t look the least bit tired. Told you the hike was very easy and relaxing.
This was also where we saw Okinawa’s version of Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩 i.e. married couple rocks), where two rocks are joined by a heavy rope to signify marriage and union.
And you know you are in a top tourist spot when you find a row of souvenirs shops.
Complete with totally touristy boards for you to stick your heads in to take photos. The kids’ favourite.
Information on Cape Manzamo:
Map code for Cape Manzamo (what is this?): 206 312 127
Parking Fee: FREE
The nearest cape to our resort, Renaissance Okinawa Resort, was Cape Maeda. This cape is more known for its role as the gateway to the highly popular Blue Cave for snorkeler and divers. But since the kids were too young to snorkel or dive, we just took a walk around to enjoy the scenery.
There were some well-paved walking trails around the cape, which made it easy even for the kids.
The boys were happy to go off the trail to pose among the rocks, though I was pretty worried they would fall because the rocks were pretty sharp!
We continued along the walking trails to enjoy the vast blue sea and rugged coastline.
We could see our resort from Cape Maeda!
And the sunset from Cape Maeda was just gorgeous!
If you would like to look further, there were binoculars at a pavilion near the starting point of the walking trails. It was coin operated and you need to pay to use it though.
Information on Cape Maeda
Map Code for Cape Maeda (what is this?): 206 062 686
Parking Fee: 100 yen per hour
Opening Hours (for the carpark):
- 7am to 5.30pm in Nov – Feb,
- 7am to 6pm in March
- 7am to 6.30pm in April, May, October
- 7am to 7pm in June – September.
Be sure to get your car out before the carpark closes if you are staying to watch the sunset!
Official Website: Homepage
Just a few kilometres down the road from Cape Maeda was Cape Zanpa, a much more popular spot for seeing sunsets.
Cape Zanpa was famous for the lighthouse that stood on top of it.
Since the cape was so famous, I just had to take a selfie with it. (The husband was in the car with the sleeping kids
There was a giant rock at Cape Zanpa that was blown all the way up here from the coast during one of the super typhoons. Okinawa, btw, is very prone to typhoons.
At Cape Zanpa, a stone’s throw from the lighthouse, you will also find the statue of a man called Taiki. Sorry, no idea what he does. My Japanese was not good enough to read the signboard. :p
And I snapped a quick photo of the popular sunset here at Cape Zanpa before rushing back to the car to rejoin the husband and sleeping kids.
Information on Cape Zanpa
Map Code (what is this?): 1005 685 298
Parking Fee: FREE
Sun Marina Beach
If it is lighthouses you love, another lighthouse around the region can be found at Sun Marina Beach.
From Sun Marina Beach, there is a walkway along the breakwater where you can easily walk along the reach the lighthouse.
Information on Sun Marina Beach:
Sun Marina Beach is located at Sunmarina Hotel.
Map Code for Sunmarina Hotel (what is this?): 206 127 799
- 7am to 7pm: 300 yen per hour (up to 1000 yen max)
- 7pm to 7am: 300 yen per hour
- Free 3 hours parking if dining at restaurants
- 500 yen per day for staying guests
Official Websites: Homepage
And if it is sunsets you love, Sunset Beach is THE place people love to gather to watch the sunset. I mean, the name speaks for itself, doesn’t it? There was a ledge for people to sit along to watch the sunset. Plenty of space for everyone.
What I love about the sunset here was that there was a continuous stream of airplanes flying by!
And even helicopters! That definitely helped to keep the kids amused.
Information on Sunset Beach:
Sunset Beach is located next to Mihama American Village.
Map Code for Mihama American Village (what is this?): 33 526 360
Parking fee: FREE
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