July 29, 2013

Guide to Hiking Hiji Falls in Okinawa

A Guide for Hiji Falls - Information and Tips

Anyone looking for an outdoor activity and the opportunity to explore the amazing Okinawa jungles and a beautiful waterfall will find hiking Hiji falls to be an activity to add to their list of things to do in Okinawa!

This guide is created by Okinawa Travel Guide Blog and will cover what Hiji Falls has to offer, what to bring, directions for how to get to Hiji Falls, plenty of pictures and much more.

About Hiji Falls and What to Expect

Hiji Falls okinawa
View of Rocks at the Bottom of Hiji
Hiji Falls is a well known waterfall and hiking trail located in northern Okinawa near Okuma resort. It offers a 1.5 kilometer hike from the base camp to the waterfall over a well maintained path that winds along the river.

While Okinawa offers a number of hiking trails for those willing to find them, Hiji Falls is a convenient and popular hiking locations with picturesque river and waterfall views. The path is only 1.5 km (3km round trip - about 1.8mi) long, but it does have a number of steep staircases that offer a moderate degree of difficulty, depending on your fitness level.

Due to northern Okinawa's mostly rural state, one can see a considerable amount of native wildlife and foliage on the hike, and it gives visitors a great chance to see the natural Okinawan jungle. The path crosses the river at one point on a suspension bridge, towering almost 20 meters/yards above the river, giving a great view of the tree tops.

One can expect Hiji falls to provide an adventurous hike with plenty of photo opportunities, as well as an enjoyable outdoor experience with no modern noises to distract you. It takes most people less than an hour to hike the 1.5 km to the falls, which are a great place to stop and take a break.

Initially the path from the main gate goes through a camping area, and past a dam, but it quickly turns into a dirt or wood path with heavy vegetation all around.

What to Bring When Hiking Hiji Falls

Hiking Hiji can easily be done in a few hours but there are a few suggestions one might want to bring to make the hike more enjoyable.

Directions to Hiji Falls
The tree top Suspension Bridge
  • Comfortable Hiking Shoes - The trail consists of dirt paths, dirt steps, wood paths and wood steps. So wear shoes that you are comfortable hiking in, such as running shoes or other closed-toed options.
  • Appropriate Clothing - Okinawa is usually hot and humid, so wear clothes that you can move around in, and will allow cooling. 
  • Water/Snacks - Bring plenty of water, and perhaps an energy bar or other snacks if you think you will need it.
  • Bug-spray/Sunscreen - While most of the path is in shade, sunscreen is still a good idea. Bug-spray might also be a good idea of the bugs will irritate you.
  • Yen for Entry Fee - The entry fee to Hiji Falls is 500 Yen per person, paid at the main gate area. You should probably have more yen for vending machines (or eating at CoCo's Curry afterwards!).
  • Camera - Lots of beautiful things to photograph, so don't forget your camera!
  • Other Items - Anything else you might need for a couple of hours hiking though in Okinawa.

Directions to Hiji Falls

Information about Hiji Falls
Water pouring down Hiji Falls
Getting to Hiji Falls is relatively easy. The easiest directions are:

Drive to Okuma Resort, but at the intersection of Hwy 58 and the road that takes you to Okuma, turn right (if you are coming from Okuma, you would go straight at the intersection). Follow the signs for Hiji Falls, it is about 2km to the parking lot at the entrance of the park.

If you don't know how to get to Okuma, it is also a relatively easy drive, taking less than 2 hours:

From Naha, or any of the exits along the expressway, you simply take the expressway to Nago, then follow Hwy 58 north for about 45 minutes. As you drive along the coast, you should see a peninsula jutting out with beautiful sandy beaches. As you get to the intersection with a Familymart, you should also see signs for Okuma Resort. Taking a left will lead you to the resorts, taking a right will take you to Hiji Falls. Here are driving directions from Google Maps.

If you have any questions, you can ask them in the comments below!

General Information - Cost/Hours

cost and hours for hiji falls
There are a lot of stairs to go up and down!
Hiji Falls Park Information:

Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (Entry until 4:00 pm, in winter months 3:00 pm)
Closed during inclement weather

Cost: 500 Yen per person

The best times to visit Hiji Falls is usually in the spring or fall, when it is not too hot out. Hiji Fall is closed in inclement weather, and sometimes for Japanese holidays, so have a backup plan, like going to the beach.

We hope you found this useful, and are able to enjoy the hike to Hiji falls! If you have questions or thoughts, leave them below. Also be sure to share this with others who might enjoy it!

Looking for more on Okinawa? Consider some of our recent posts, such as Basic Words in the Okinawan Dialect or the all important Sushi Etiquette Guide.

July 2, 2013

Basic Words in the Okinawan Dialect

Okinawan Dialect: Simple Words and Phrases

okinawa dialect words and phrases
An Eclectic Version of an Old Okinwan House
Okinawa has its own dialect that is different from Japanese. In fact, Okinawa and the surrounding islands have many different dialects, but the dialect used on Okinawa is typically the most common and well known.

The Okinawan's used their dialect for many years, from sometime around 1400's or before, to the 1800's when Japan seized Okinawa and the official language was changed to Japanese.

While learning the Okinawan dialect might not be the best choice if you simply want to learn words to help you get around the island, it is a lot of fun to use with the elderly Okinawan's and it usually brings a smile to their face.

Here are just a few simply words to say in the Okinawan dialect. One should also learn as many basic phrases and words in Japanese as possible to make getting around Okinawa that much easier.

7 Simple Okinawan Dialect Words to Use in Okinwa

We will show the word in Okinawan, then with some pronunciation help, and the translation to English. If you don't think you can learn all seven words, try just one at a time.

Word -- Pronunciation = Meaning in English

Haisai -- Hai sai = Hello

Nifeedeebiru -- Ni Hey De Biru = Thank You

Chya ganjyuu -- Chi ya gan jew = Are You Healthy? (How are you?)

Mensoree -- Men so re e = Welcome

Chyuurakagi -- Chyu ra kagi = Good Looking or Beautiful

Deijii -- De i jii = Very (deijii oishii = very delicious)

Uchinanchu -- U Chi Nan Chu = Okinawan or a person from Okinawa

okinawan dialect basic words
Okinawan - English
The best way to learn these is through practice with others, especially Okinawans! So learn one or a few of these words, and try to use them as you interact with the people in Okinawa. Just remember that not everyone will know these words, so if you get a funny or confused look, it may be best to not try any other Okinawan phrases on them.

We hope you will have fun with these words, and enjoy Okinawa a little more as you get out and use them. Share this with others who might find it useful and entertaining, and leave a comment with any thoughts or questions!

Looking for ideas of things to do? Look no further than our Top 10 Things to Do in Okinawa. Or you might be interested in learn more about Typhoon Season in Okinawa.

And who wouldn't want to read our Sushi Etiquette Guide to make your next sushi adventure enjoyable, and respectful.

If you are particularly studious or ambitions, you can check out this website, which contains a list of many more words in the Okinawan dialect which you can learn, and use!