Tsuken Jima Okinawa Japan

Okinawans are running on a different schedule. Try to make an appointment with local at 9:00 AM, you may still be the first one to arrive even if you are 15 minutes late. The code is that it’s completely acceptable among the locals to be 30-60 minutes late for a meeting, and up to two hours for those with young children at home.

3000 kilometers north, in the capital of Japan, trains are expected to be always on time. If a train runs behind schedule, many will line up outside the train station manager’s office to obtain the Proof of Unexpected Delay, so they can prove to their boss at work that it’s the train that causes their late arrival to work. Why such dramatic difference within the same country?

Every society has its clock driven by the flow of goods and information. Okinawa has developed so much since WWII. Being a part of Japan’s economy, fuelled by the recent boom of tourism, the clock of Okinawa society is speeding up to catch its growth. Not long ago in Okinawa, goods were transported by livestock, now the majority of Okinawa families own automobiles, and a rapid train system is in the baking (as for 2018). Hardly is to come across the romantic image illustrated by Bokunen Naka, an Okinawa woodblock printing artist, who is known for capturing the slow Okinawa lifestyle by carving on wood blocks. In many of his work, you can see a couple of islanders napping under the shadow of screw pine by the ocean on a hot summer day. You almost can feel the breeze coming out of his artwork.

Bokunen Naka Artwork

With over ten million people visiting Okinawa each year, the slow life many come to experience in Okinawa is becoming harder and harder to find. About 30 minutes away by boat, there a small island call Tsuken island. How small is it? You can travel end to end on a bicycle in 20 minutes. As soon as you arrive in Tsuken island, you will feel the universe is back to its pace driven by the sound of the wave hitting the beach. Everyone on the island seems to be doing one thing and one thing only, growing carrots. The residents are so proud of the carrot they grow so they build a monument/vista tower that shapes like a giant carrot.

Carrot Towner of Tsuken Jima Okinawa

There are only a handful of general stores and restaurants that operate in the owners’ schedule. There is a sign at the ferry dock that reads “call this number if you need to rent a bike”. We called and a man picked us up with his mini pickup trunk. He took us in the back of his truck (no seat or seat belt) to his family-owned general store. The rental bike costs 500 Japanese Yen a day. It has an almost flat tire and we use the pump provided by the owner to add air. It was good enough for us to go round the island.

There is no famous landmark or attractions on Tsuken island. You will see carrot farms one after another, and then a beautiful beach with crystal clear water. The sea water here is so clear that you will want to drink it.

If you plan to visit Tsuken island, I recommend you bring your own bike (if you have one), or rent a decent bike from a local shop on the main island. Pack your own picnic box and have a nice beach. You can also travel by hoverboard or skateboard as the road condition is decent enough for mini vehicles.

In Tsuken island, you will find the lost “Okinawa Time” – driven by the flow of nature, not by technology. If you visit during carrot season, you may also be able to see a self-severed carrot stand where you put down 100 Japanese Yen and take home a big bag of freshly harvested carrots.

Tsuken island is one of the over 100 small island in Okinawa prefecture. Many of them are close enough to be visited by ferry on the same day. I hope you can take advantage of the convenience we have – living so close to paradise – to visit this beautiful modern oasis.

Useful Tip

To visit Tsuken island, you need to take a ferry from Hiradaiya ferry dock. Purchase a round-trip ticket in advance and be mindful of the schedule. The last ferry leaves before sunset, and it’s not fun if you are stacked on the island overnight.

Ferry Fare

One Way Round Trip Travel Time
3 Times/Day
Adult 640円 Adult 1220円 30 mins
Child 320円 Child 610円
Speed Boat
2 Times/Day
Adult 790円 Adult 1510円 15 mins
Child 400円 Child 770円

Time Table

Regular, Speed Boat
From Main Island From Tsuken Island Boat Type
1 7:30 8:00 Speed Boat
2 9:00 10:00 Regular
3 11:00 12:00 Regular
4 14:00 15:00 Regular
5 17:00 17:30 Speed Boat

Boat schedule may change over time, please refer to Official website for the latest schedule

  • The ferry to Tsuken Jima from Okinawa main island.

Discover more secrets in the map

Join 5,300+ Okinawa Lovers. Let's Discover Okinawa Together.

Where to Buy The Map

Outside Okianwa

You can order online, we ship to locations outside of Okinawa

Okinawa Store Locations


Google Pin: https://goo.gl/maps/imnQZg47aiL2
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 6:00 am – 3:00 pm

Okinawa City: BB Coffee

Google Pin: https://goo.gl/maps/Y8iewyaANBz
Open Thursday to Tuesday, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

Nakamura House Okinawa

Kitanakigusuku: Nakamura Residence (Japan National Heritage)

Google Pin: https://goo.gl/maps/f2Gx82AAycF2
Open Daily: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Kadena AFB: Kadena Gift Corner

Tuesday: 10:00am - 3:00pm
Wednesday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Friday 10:00am - 3:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 3:00pm

Similar To This

Heart Rock Kouri Island Okinawa Japan

Secret In The Map #8: Heart Rocks on Kouri Island

Kouri island is a small island in northern Okinawa, connected by once was the longest cross ocean beach in Asia. Kouri island has become a checkpoint for visitors, yet still relatively underdeveloped. The color of Read more…

Secret in Okinawa Map #7 The pineapple in Higashi Village

Secret In The Map #7: The Pineapple in Higashi Village Okinawa Japan

Did you see the pineapple hidden in your Okinawa map? Learn more about the story behind it and drive up north to experience it yourself.

1 comment
Okinawa Nago Dolphin Hunt

Secret In The Map #6: Nago’s Dolphin Tail

Just off the north end for Okinawa Cross-State Highway, you will see a sea of blue on your left. The view here is so beautiful, especial on sunny days. It is…

Categories: Okinawa Map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *