Okinawa has a lot of nooks and crannies and my favorite way to see them is by complete accident when I purposely pick a spot and then get lost. Ikei island was todays trek. (I’m thinking thats an awesome hashtag! #todaystrek) Ikei is actually the island that falls directly after Miyagi in the set of Yokatsu Islands. Its northern most tip is taken up by a resort and a good amount of its beaches are known tourist attractions. They have netted beaches to keep the jellies away along with rental equipment and beach supplies. Wade and I tried to dive at one of these tourist beaches once and was told that it would cost extra money to dive even when we had our own equipment. Yea, no thanks! I’m not into touristy beaches. I was so very lucky to grow up in New England where, yes there were some popular beaches but there were plenty that were barely touched and you could sit in peace. That’s my idea of a beach day. But I’m getting a little off track.
Ikei is mostly made of flat farmland. They grow sugarcane and tobacco, which has beautiful pink flowers. Much different from North Carolina tobacco. I always explore the farmlands when I can. Always on the hunt for flora. On this day I had no luck with flowers but actually came across a really amazing historical site!!
The Nakabaru ruins were found while someone was excavating the land. The find was extraordinary in helping them understand how Okinawan’s lived towards the end of the Shell Mounds period. They found the walls of 23 houses along with tools, earthenware and even remains of people!! The artifacts they found were dated to be 2000-2500 years old!!! Obviously I don’t have to explain to you that what you are seeing here are not the originals, but they used the foundations of the dwellings they found along with other evidence to build these structures for this National historical site.
Ikei is also home to some great and funky artist. They have an arts and crafts show yearly, the next one is the weekend of the 19th-20th of this month. They hold art installations in the abandoned houses around the island, including this one. There are two houses that are covered in the painted wood planks. I really prefer this one. It has an open roof and exposed to all the elements which, over time will change the look of the wood and paint.
I was pretty excited with my find for the day, but it was 1:00 and I needed food and my beach. I started in the direction for my favorite beach on Ikei figuring I would hit up one of the small cafes at the bridge when I saw it. Once you have been to Greece you will never forget that blue, Grecian blue. It seems ordinary but when you fall in love the way I did, well that blue makes you hit your breaks and swing a hard sharp right down a narrow street and quick left down what is best called an alley eventually leading you to “Little Greek Kitchen”.
This little restaurant is amazing and if you want to know more, I have a full post about Little Greek Kitchen.
After eating a hearty meal of homemade Greek goodies; I dragged myself to the beach, cheesecake bulging belly and all.
Ikei also has some beautiful beaches that are long and peaceful. One of my favorites is on there, and I’d love to tell you the name but I honestly don’t know it. I have asked a few Okinawans and they didn’t know the name either. It isn’t posted on the map and I can’t read Japanese yet. (I’ll be taking a class shortly) We went camping on this beach for our six month Okinawa anniversary. When I desire a good beach day by my lonesome, this is my go to. Wide and long and great for walking. Clear and not to coral covered for swimming and enough scattered shells to collect.
Perfect find. Perfect lunch. Perfect beach.
Ikei Island is small and doesn’t offer a ton in terms of sightseeing but its perfect if you wanted to make a day out of exploring the Yokatsu Islands.
What type of beaches do you prefer? Touristy? Quiet? Small or long?