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The Yanbaru region (山原) makes up the northern part of the Okinawa Main Island. Compared to the urbanized, southern part of the island, Yanbaru is significantly less developed and more rural. The region contains an abundance of subtropical forested hills and endemic wildlife. In 2016, the Yanbaru National Park was established here as the 33rd national park in Japan.

Several endangered species of wildlife exist in the region. Among them is the Yanbaru Kuina (also known as the "Okinawa Rail"), which is a small, nearly-flightless bird only found in the Yanbaru region. Efforts are being made to preserve the species, and several kuina-related attractions have been established in the area.

Most tourist attractions in the Yanbaru region are nature-related and include walking trails through the forest, observation points and small museums devoted to the local fauna and flora. Below is a list of some of the places of interest:

Hedo Misaki (Cape Hedo)

Hours: Always open
Admission: free
Closed: No closing days
Hedo Misaki is the northernmost point of Okinawa Honto. At the cape there is a network of walking trails leading to several statues and scenic views of the coast. On a clear day it is possible to see Yoronjima Island located 23 kilometers to the northwest which is part of neighboring Kagoshima Prefecture.

Hiji Waterfall

Hours: Entry from 9:00 to 16:00 (until 15:00 from Nov to Mar)
Admission: 500 yen
Closed: during extreme weather
Hiji Waterfall is an impressive, 26 meter tall waterfall located at the end of a 1.5 kilometer hike through the forest which takes about 40 minutes one way. The area has a tranquil atmosphere and is probably the best trail for experiencing the undisturbed nature of the Yanbaru forests. A parking lot and campground are located at the trailhead.

Daisekirinzan Park

Hours: 9:30 to 17:30 (entry until 16:30)
Admission: 1200 yen
Closed: No closing days
Located five minutes by car from Hedo Misaki, Daisekirinzan Park is a nature reserve with hiking trails winding through a rocky, eroded limestone terrain. There are four hiking courses to experience, each with its own theme. All four trails start from the same building which is reached by shuttle bus from the parking lot.

Gesashi Bay Mangrove Forest

Hours: Always open
Admission: free
Closed: No closing days
The Gesashi Bay Mangrove Forest is the largest mangrove forest on the Okinawa Main Island. There is an observation deck and 400 meter long boardwalks through the vegetation. Canoe tours are offered by several companies.

Yanbaru Wildlife Conservation Center

Hours: 10:00 to 16:30
Admission: Free
Closed: Mondays, national holidays (except May 4-5), June 23, New Year holidays
The Yanbaru Wildlife Conservation Center, not far from the trailhead to Hiji Waterfall, teaches visitors about local wildlife around the region. Built in 2009, the facility has ample information and multiple displays focusing on nature protection and the Yanbaru kuina bird.

Okinawa Rail Ecology Center

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Admission: 500 yen
Closed: Wednesdays
The Okinawa Rail Ecology Center is a small facility dedicated to educating visitors about the kuina bird and focused on its preservation. It features a large cage in which a kuina bird is living and can be observed if you are able to find the bird. The center is located on the east side of the Yanbaru Region and shares a parking lot with a park golf course.

Okuma Beach

Hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 November to February)
Admission for daytime visitors: 1000 yen per person, 500 yen for parking
Closed: No closed days
Okuma Beach is an attractive beach located within the Okuma Private Beach & Resort, one of only a few resorts in the far north of the island. The beach stretches over a kilometer along the coast, and many facilities and water activities are available to staying guests and daytime visitors.

Getting there and around

Public transportation in the Yanbaru Region is limited to infrequent local buses along the West coast that do not serve all destinations, while buses along the more remote East coast are even more elusive. For this reason traveling by rental car is recommended.

How to get to and around Okinawa Honto

Hotels around Okinawa Island

Top rated on Okinawa Island
Budget:
    • Condominium Felicita Naha
      Budget-friendly
      Condominium Felicita Naha is situated in the centre of Naha, just 3.3 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum and 1.4 km from DFS Galleria Okinawa. The apartment, set in a building dating from 2017, is 1.5 km from Yachimun Street and 3.5 km from Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate. This air-conditioned apartment features 1 bedroom and a bathroom equipped with a bath and free toiletries. A flat-screen TV is featured. Off-site paid public parking is available nearby. Shuri-jo Castle is 3.7 km from the apartment. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from Condominium Felicita Naha.
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    • The LANAI HOSTEL
      Budget-friendly
      In a prime location in the Naha City Centre district of Naha, The LANAI HOSTEL is located 2.1 km from Naminoue Beach, 2.4 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum and 1.4 km from DFS Galleria Okinawa. With a shared lounge, the 2-star hostel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen, and luggage storage for guests. The hostel offers a sun terrace. Popular points of interest near The LANAI HOSTEL include Yachimun Street, Sakaemachi Arcade and Tsuboya Pottery Museum. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 5 km from the accommodation.
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    • 美らガーナハウス壷川
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Naha, near Naminoue Beach, Manko Park and Okinawa Prefecture Government, 美らガーナハウス壷川 features free WiFi. All units are equipped with air conditioning, and some have a flat-screen TV, washing machine, a kettle, completed with a kitchen. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 6 km from the apartment, while Yachimun Street is 2.3 km away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 3 km from 美らガーナハウス壷川.
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    • La Passione Boutique B&B
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring free WiFi and a terrace, La Passione is a secluded bed and breakfast in Naha. Guests can take a 10-minute walk to Naha Kokusai Dori or go to Jogaku Park, a 4-minute walk from the property. Bicycle hire is available upon reservation. All rooms have an electric kettle and a refrigerator, while some rooms are equipped with a private bathroom. A hairdryer is provided on site. Extra amenities include face tissues, cotton buds, hand soap, body soap, hair shampoo and conditioners. Guests can enjoy Western-style breakfast at La Passione. Luggage storage is available on site. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 500 meters away from La Passione, while Makishi Public Market and Yachimun Street are both a 10-minute walk away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, a 20-minute taxi ride from the property.
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    • Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street
      Budget-friendly
      Located within 1.2 km of Naminoue Beach and 3.7 km of Tamaudun Mausoleum, Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street provides rooms with air conditioning and a shared bathroom in Naha. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The capsule hotel features a sauna and luggage storage space. All units in the capsule hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Yachimun Street is 1.6 km from Y's CABIN&HOTEL Naha Kokusai Street, while DFS Galleria Okinawa is 2.7 km away. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from the accommodation.
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    • Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya
      Mid-range
      Located in Naha, 2.6 km from Naminoue Beach, Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. The property is around 3.8 km from Tamaudun Mausoleum, 2.3 km from DFS Galleria Okinawa and 4.3 km from Sonohyan Utaki Stone Gate. Local points of interest like Shuri-jo Castle and Naha Air Base are reachable within 4.4 km and 6 km, respectively. All units are equipped with air conditioning, a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. At the hotel every room is equipped with a balcony, a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV. An American breakfast is available daily at Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Yachimun Street, Noren Central Market and Tsuboya Pottery Museum. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 5 km from Condominium GOLF GOLF Tsuboya.
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    • Hotel Collective
      Luxury
      Hotel Collective features a restaurant, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and bar in Naha. Each accommodation at the 5-star hotel has city views and free WiFi. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests. The units at the hotel feature air conditioning and a wardrobe. Continental and buffet breakfast options are available every morning at Hotel Collective. The wellness area at the accommodation is comprised of a sauna and a hot tub. Popular points of interest near Hotel Collective include Naminoue Beach, Yachimun Street and Shijo Hondori. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from the hotel.
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    • Villa Coast Nishimachi - Guesthouse in Okinawa
      Budget-friendly
      Located just a 7-minute drive from Naha Airport, Villa Coast Nishimachi houses self-contained accommodations with free WiFi connection. The apartment houses a shared lounge with drinks and snacks vending machines. Each room is fitted with a full kitchen with a microwave and a washing machine. All rooms have air conditioning, a working desk and a flat-screen TV. Featuring a bath, private bathroom comes with a shower, a hairdryer and free toiletries. From the apartment, a convenience store is within a 2-minute walk. There are numerous local restaurants and shops within 15 minutes walking distance around the apartment. Naminoue Beach is a 10-minute walk and Asahibashi Station is a 13-minute walk away.
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    • Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku
      Mid-range
      Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku is situated in Naha, within 2.1 km of Senaga Kaichu Road Beach and 8 km of Tamaudun Mausoleum. Featuring a shared lounge, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Private parking is available on site. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a continental breakfast. The reception at Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku can provide tips on the area. Naha Air Base is 2.3 km from the accommodation, while Yachimun Street is 5 km from the property. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 1 km from Grand Cabin Hotel Naha Oroku.
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    • HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA
      Mid-range
      Set in Naha, 800 metres from Naminoue Beach, HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA offers accommodation with a restaurant, private parking and a bar. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and a concierge service. The air-conditioned rooms provide a sea view and come with a desk and free WiFi. At the hotel, all rooms are fitted with a balcony. All guest rooms in HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA are fitted with a flat-screen TV and free toiletries. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a ? la carte or an American breakfast. Tamaudun Mausoleum is 6 km from HOTEL ANTEROOM NAHA, while DFS Galleria Okinawa is 3.2 km from the property. The nearest airport is Naha Airport, 4 km from the hotel.
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