There are many small islands near Okinawa Main Island that are worth visiting. Most of them are especially interesting for those who want to go snorkeling or diving. But what about cycling in Okinawa? We see cyclists on the road quite regularly on Main Island, but they all look pretty serious and it’s not without danger. If you want to just cycle for a few hours in beautiful coastal nature, then Kudaka Island is a perfect place to do so!
Getting to Kudaka Island
When you’re packing for your trip, it’s a good idea to bring sun protection, mosquito spray, cash, and enough to drink. And if you want to go swimming, it’s good to bring swimwear, a towel, and a snorkel set. Kudaka Island is connected to Okinawa Main Island by a ferry that leaves from Azama Port in the southeast of the island. Check their timetable the day before you go, and count at least one hour to drive here from central places. There is a slower and a faster boat, but the travel time and fee don’t differ significantly. We caught the slower boat, which took around 20 minutes to get there.
The boat only leaves a few times per day, so it is important to plan your visit well. We left the Main Island with the 11 am boat, and we took the 2 pm boat back. If you want to stay a bit longer, for example, if you want to swim, there will usually be a boat back at 4 pm. There is a large and free parking lot at the harbor, and the harbor is very small so you don’t need to arrive super early.
Cycling on Kudaka Island
There are not many cars on the island and the best way to get around is by bicycle. You really can’t get lost here, as you will always end up back at the sea.
After getting off the boat, you walk up the hill on your left and soon you will see two bicycle rental places. We went to the shop on the righthand side and rented normal bicycles for 2 hours. They have kid bicycles too, and you can also opt for electric bikes. The kid’s bicycle came with a helmet as well. Most roads are flat, so we had no problems using normal bicycles. We paid around 700 yen per person, and off we went!
Kudaka Island is called the ‘Island of Gods’ because the whole island is considered sacred. The people living here, there are only about 200 of them, see nature as a gift of the Gods to use respectfully. Therefore, there are areas that tourists can’t access. And you are not supposed to take any natural elements (like sand or shells) of the island back with you.
Points of Interest
It is a very small island of which some parts are off-limits, so there are only a few points of interest to visit. The place where you rent your bicycle and where the harbor is is near the ‘village center’. Don’t expect too much from this center, as it is just a few houses, a tiny supermarket, and a few simple restaurants and cafes. As we wanted to have lunch at the end of our cycling trip, we went south and took a counter-clockwise tour around the island. That way we would finish in the village where the cafes are.
Main roads are paved and very easy to cycle, but you will also pass a few sandy roads. The sand is pretty hard with small stones, so it is still easy enough to cycle. You will see a lot of tropical vegetation, and I loved the smell of the clean air and flowers here. Our first stop was at Pizza Hama, a nice beach to chill a bit. Then we cycled to Habyan in the north, which had very nice ocean views. We continued on a nice road (Romance Road) to Yaguruga, another nice view point.
Then we circled back to the village and had lunch at a nice little cafe called Rumi’s Cafe. The menu was simple but happened to have what we love. We had spam onigiri sandwiches, tempura, and strawberry kakigori. It took us exactly 2 hours, and we had a pretty relaxed tempo. And if you want to go swimming too, you could do that at the end of your bicycle tour around the island.
Swimming in Kudaka Island
There is only one beach from where you are allowed to swim, it’s called Megihama (メーギ浜). The other beaches are off-limits when it comes to swimming as they are regarded as sacred. Megihama is located on the southwestern part of the island, near the harbor. But, it is good to note that there is no lifeguard and swimming is at your own risk. There are showers, toilets and a small shop near the beach.
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