In case you wish to hike, rock climb, swim (or on the very least, get your ft moist), and if in case you have a great sense of journey, there’s an incredible hike ready for you in Okinawa, Japan.

Okinawa is the most important of the Ryukyu Islands situated between the East China and Philippine Seas. We traveled there to spend time with our navy son, Mike, who was stationed there. We deliberate 2 weeks within the Naha (southern) space, and we did this hike throughout our week in Okuma, within the northern half.

The hike is 3 miles spherical journey (out and again) within the city of Ogimi, close to Kunigami-Gun. It’s an incredible mixture of mountaineering, trekking by means of the Henan River (sure, you hike in the river), and mountaineering, all inside a lush, tropical setting. The payoff is the distant, 50-foot-high Ta-Taki waterfall.

Listed here are my prime ideas for mountaineering to those attractive falls.

1. Know The Climate

I hate to start out off with such a critical tip, however I have to. You’ll be able to’t get this one unsuitable.

This hike is wonderful, astounding, astonishing, and each different awe-inspiring superlative when the climate is nice, however when the climate will not be good, this hike is simply as equally harmful, hazardous, and even life-threatening. That’s why climate is the primary place to start out.

Watch the climate. Know the climate. Be certain. This space is liable to flash flooding when it rains, and also you don’t need to mess with that. In September 2020, two Marines shifted from taking this adventurous hike to saving more than a dozen hikers in a flash flood right here.

We did this hike in February, and we had a dry day and not using a drop of rain in sight.

A sign at the beginning of the hike

An indication originally of the hike

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

2. Go Early To Keep away from Crowds

It was a Friday, and we received to the parking zone proper at 10 a.m. once they opened. We paid a modest payment to the parking zone attendant and parked our automotive, and we had the place to ourselves.

This signal within the parking zone confirmed the mountaineering route — you possibly can river-hike the entire thing, or you possibly can stroll the street initially after which get within the river half manner downstream (we did the second choice). The red-headed character on this signal made it seem like a enjoyable little jaunt, however to be sincere, I used to be a bit nervous.

The signal provides the bottom guidelines, and mercifully, they had been additionally translated into English:

  • Keep out of the river when it’s raining. Flash floods can happen.
  • Don’t contact or take residence any creatures. [There was no one to ask about this curiosity.]
  • Don’t go away rubbish behind.
  • There are properties within the space. Please be respectful and preserve the noise down.
  • The city of Ogimi will not be accountable for any accidents. Thanks for understanding.
The author's son guiding her and her husband on the hike

The creator’s son guiding her and her husband on the hike

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

3. Have A Information

This isn’t vital, however it’s a nice-to-have. It’s even nicer if the information is the one that you love navy son who was stationed in Japan. He had finished the hike earlier than, so we knew we had been in good fingers.

Within the absence of a information, widespread sense goes a great distance (see remaining ideas). Because the route is out and again, you possibly can’t actually do it unsuitable.

The short road hike before reaching the river

The quick street hike earlier than reaching the river

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

4. Get pleasure from The Preliminary Highway Hike (However It Received’t Final)

In case you do the street hike to start out, this half is innocent. We walked alongside a slender, rural street with the Henan River to our proper in a really thick, wooded setting. On the left past a black fence, we noticed a residential space with blooming crops and flowers. Mike was carrying a drawstring bag and Dean was carrying water. I used to be a free agent, carrying solely my digital camera (Dean all the time tells me to “journey mild” and for as soon as, I used to be).

There’s one other massive signal on the entry level into the river. It reiterates the significance of Tip #1 in regards to the climate: “Precaution for prime waters within the higher reaches of Henan River throughout rain. Even when it’s not raining within the decrease reaches of the river, there could also be heavy rain upstream. There are incidents yearly the place persons are left behind attributable to sudden swelling of the river attributable to rain. We ask these guests who’re river trekking or partaking of different actions to be nicely knowledgeable of the climate studies.” 

Professional Tip: Because you’ll be mountaineering in a river, convey a dry bag or plastic bag to maintain your telephone dry alongside the way in which (reception may be weak, anyway). One other packing tip that didn’t apply to us is to convey some heavy-duty bug spray. From what I’ve learn, this forested river hike might be buggy.

Jambu shoes

The creator’s jambu sneakers

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

5. You’ll Be Glad You Wore The Proper Garments And Footwear

And so — into the river we go. The water is low and shallow and reasonably heat. And it regarded fully clear and clear!

Mike had informed us to put on bathing fits underneath our garments as a result of we’d be mountaineering in a river. We wore wicking garments that had been quick-dry in the event that they received moist. Dean and Mike wore tennis sneakers, and I wore my JBU by Jambu sneakers (like these) with good treads on the underside.

I had learn on-line that generally the river will get waist deep! It was ankle deep for us — a stunning little hike within the river.

Ropes and vines on the path to Ta-Taki Falls

You’ll be glad there are ropes and vines alongside the way in which

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

6. Use The Obtainable Ropes And Vines

Certain, it’s a stunning little hike within the river… till it isn’t. The hike was up and down, within the river (principally) and out of the river — over and previous rocks and roots. It’s a rugged hike. There have been ropes and vines in place to assist us navigate across the extra rugged areas and several other cliff-like areas.

Rock climbing along the way to Ta-Taki Falls

Mountain climbing alongside the way in which to Ta-Taki Falls

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

7. Take Your Time, And Seize A Hand If You Want One

The important thing to this hike is to take your time and to lean on one another if it’s essential to. Seize a hand to assist regular you, if wanted. There’s no disgrace in that! The hike is steep in elements. It’s rugged. It’s wonderful.

Dean and Mike in the pool of Ta-Taki Falls

Dean and Mike within the pool of Ta-Taki Falls

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

8. Carry A Snack To Get pleasure from At The Waterfall

It took us about half an hour from the entry level into the river to get to the waterfall. Dean and Mike went into the water. I suppose it was a bit chilly! Nice father-son bonding, however I handed on that motion. I appreciated hanging on the market, taking photographs, and listening to the roar of the waterfall echo in opposition to all of the quiet.

Mike stayed within the water even after Dean received out and simply splashed round a bit and loved the break. It was good to see him enjoyable and having enjoyable. When he received out of the water, we sat on the rocks and talked and laughed. We drank some water (the day wasn’t scorching, however we’ve hiked sufficient to know the necessity for water even with out thirst) and shared a snack.

Hiking in the Henan River to Ta-Taki Falls

The unforgettable hike within the Henan River to Ta-Taki Falls

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

9. Be Cautious On The Hike Out

Relying on health and power stage, it’s simple to get sloppy on the hike out. Keep in mind these earlier recommendations on taking your time and grabbing ropes, vines, and serving to fingers? All of it applies once more. We received again to the automotive safely and chatted in regards to the distinctive expertise.

Professional Tip: You would possibly notice all this river mountaineering has given you a strong urge for food. It’s virtually a criminal offense to be in Okinawa and crave a burger, but when so, Captain Kangaroo Hamburger is the place to cease. Take your decide from a traditional burger, or jazz it up with a taco burger, teriyaki hen burger, or attempt the fried onion/bacon combo of a Sparky burger. This place attracts a crowd, so attempt to go at an off time.

Shioya Bay in Japan

Shioya Bay

Picture credit score: Joan Sherman

Bonus Tip: Cease At Shioya Bay For Unimaginable Views

About 4 miles north of Ta-Taki Falls, don’t miss the overlook on Shioya Bay, rated one of many prime eight views on Okinawa — and it’s simple to see why.

We parked the automotive and adopted the quick path on the prime of the mountain, previous a trellis, to an commentary platform. We noticed a big register Japanese, which we couldn’t learn, however it might need mentioned, “Drink on this attractive view and be glad to be alive.” Certainly.

The hike by means of the Henan River to the attractive Ta-Taki Falls is one other bucket record, memory-making journey. These sorts of actions all the time make me grateful for the time, cash, and well being to journey. It’s such a present! And it was particularly great to see the father-son interplay between my husband and son. I soaked it all in.

If you go to Okinawa, examine the climate, and if it’s clear skies forward and also you’re up for it, comply with these 9 key ideas and take this hike by means of the crystal-clear Henan River to the attractive Ta-Taki Falls. You’ll be so glad you probably did.

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