Miyakojima’s Picturesque Cape of Higashi Henna Zaki
24 July 2015
Higashi Henna Zaki
The cape of Higashi Henna Zaki is a long, narrow protrusion extending from Miyakojima, where the waves crash dramatically against the steep, jagged limestone cliffs. The ocean sparkles blue in contrast with the lush greenery of the cape and the limestone. At the tip of the cape is a picturesque white lighthouse, perfect for viewing the coral-dotted ocean panorama below. Smelling the salt-tang of the sea’s breeze and hearing the ocean waves bat against the cliffs like so much natural music, we think you’ll agree that just walking the cape is a feast for the senses. With its secluded location, captivating ocean views, and striking solitary lighthouse, Miyakojima’s Higashi Henna Zaki is a place not only to be seen, but to be fully experienced in all its wonder.

 

History Steeped in Romance and Tragedy

In addition to its natural beauty, the cape is also famous for the tragic love story of a chieftain named Nugusuku-Anji and a stunning young girl, Mamuya. According to the legend, Mamuya and Anji fell in love and began a relationship. But Anji already had a family and betrayed Mamuya. Mamuya threw herself off of the cliffs at Higashi Henna Zaki. There is a tomb dedicated to her that is located near the entrance to the cape. In some versions of the story, Mamuya hoped that no girl would have to face the same pain as she did, and so she prayed that “No girls with pretty faces would ever be born on the island again” before jumping off the cliffs. Whether this haunting legend is true or not, there is nothing at all far-fetched about the romantic feelings that Henna Zaki often brings out in the people who visit.  
 
Lilies in the spring

Chosen as One of Okinawa’s 13 Most Beautiful Locales

The cape is one of 13 sites in Okinawa that is officially designated as a Place of Scenic Beauty on a national level. Exquisite flowers, such as trumpet lilies and evening primrose in spring, bloom on the cape in all seasons. Because of the strong winds, there are no tall trees on the cape. Instead, the area is lush with local plants and greenery like isomatsu, sea-lavender flowers, and tennoume, Emperor Plum plants.

On the cape and in the sea below there are many straggling rocks which actually look as if they are rolling. Some believe that these rocks drifted out to sea during a tsunami in 1771. Others say the rocks are pieces of the cliffs themselves that fell in the water due to erosion. The massive rock sitting impressively below the very tip of the cape is known as the “Tsunami Rock” and is about 6–8 meters in length. In the sea to the eastern side there is another giant rock known as “Panari.” These unique rocks are popular among fans of geology, but can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates the marvels of nature.

 

A Solitary Okinawa Lighthouse Awaits

At the edge of the cape stands the classic white lighthouse, which takes about 5 minutes to reach from the parking lot on foot. This Okinawa lighthouse was built in 1967 with assistance from the Japanese government after repeated urging from a man called Mr. Sunakawa, who was head of the local fishing union and had become concerned by several severe boating incidents near the coast of Higashi Henna Zaki. The lighthouse was maintained by the Japanese government, and later the coast guard, before becoming a viewing tower for the public in 1996. At 43 meters above sea level, it has a range of 18 nautical miles, offers 360 degree views of the ocean, and is especially popular at sunrise. It is also an ideal place to view the first sunrise of the year (hatsuhinode), a pivotal event which is thought to bring fortune all year round to those who see it. There are also excellent views of the coral, in particular the reef on the northeast side of the beach. Entrance into this rather isolated pinnacle of paradise is only 150 yen, making it an ideal place for those who cherish a bit of peace and quiet.

 
Sunrise at the Higashi Henna Zaki

Things to do on Miyakojima’s Famous Cape

The two kilometer-long peninsula is located at the most southeastern part of Miyakojima just 25 minutes away from Shigira Resort by car. It takes about one hour to walk to from the Bora bus stop at Boraga Beach. If you have a scooter or a car, you can ride to the end of the road next to the lighthouse and park for free. You can even get a ride on a rickshaw for 1,000 yen one way or 2,000 yen round trip.

You can plan a slow-paced and fun day around seeing the Higashi Henna Zaki cape. If you are not in rush, why not start the morning at Yoshino Beach? This is one of the best beaches for snorkeling and coral viewing on Miyakojima and is easily accessible by cab or rental car. Once you arrive, you need only to swim out a few meters before soaking in the wonder of the coral reef with its plethora of colorful tropical fish. All equipment can be easily rented on site, or you can make arrangements for a tour. From there it is just a short drive to Boraga Beach. In addition to the beach, there is a swimming pool filled with fresh natural spring water. You can rent sea kayaks or snorkeling gear inside the pool complex as well as stock up on refreshments. There are no shortage of things to do on the cape!

If you are looking for even more adventure, you can take a guided tour of a nearby limestone cave with unforgettable stalactite formations, one of which is even shaped like a pumpkin. The cave itself, which can only be accessed at low tide, is believed to be a sacred space—it gives off a mysterious spiritual energy that is well worth experiencing. After spending a day at the beach, head up to the cape to savor spectacular sunset views at the lighthouse. You can pack a picnic for a scenic, relaxing dinner, or buy food from nearby stalls. No matter how your trip begins or ends on the cape, you’re sure to have a great experience at Higashi Henna Zaki.
(Travel time: 20-25 minutes by car from the Shigira Resort.)

 

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