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11 Selected Spots in Okinawa for Watching the First Sunrise of 2024

In Okinawa and Japan, there is a tradition of watching the first sunrise of the year. We introduce 11 recommended spots in Okinawa for watching the first sunrise, which usually occurs around 7:15 AM from the southeast. Start the year by watching the sunrise and pray for good luck.

South Okinawa

[Nanjō City] Chinen Cape Park

A park on the cape known for its scenic views

Chinen Cape Park, located at the eastern end of the Chinen Peninsula, offers stunning views surrounded by sky and sea. The well-maintained park includes a viewing plaza, walking paths, and pavilions. From the cape’s tip, you can see Komaka Island and Kudaka Island. The sunrise can also be viewed from the park’s northeast parking area.

🏠 Address: Chinen Kudeken, Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: Open all year round, with free entry
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily (no regular holidays)
💰 Admission Fee: Free
🅿️ Parking: Available, free of charge. Capacity for 70 vehicles.

[Nanjō City] Azama Sun Sun Beach

Capture photogenic moments with the beach’s swing

Azama Sun Sun Beach, an artificial beach with exceptional water clarity, features a long stretch of beautiful white sand. Adjacent to Azama Port, the ferry terminal to Kudaka Island, it offers a wide swimming area suitable for bathing, marine sports, and barbecues. The beach swing, set against the clear sea, is popular for its Instagram-worthy shots. Capture beautiful photos with the first sunrise.

🏠 Address: 1141-3 Azama, Chinen, Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily. Note: May close temporarily due to bad weather (e.g., typhoons)
💰 Fees: Facility Fees: Changing rooms & showers: 200 Yen, Locker: 200 Yen, Usage Fee: Free
🅿️ Parking: Available

[Nanjō City] Nirai Kanai Bridge

Watch the sunrise from bridges symbolizing “an ideal land beyond the sea”

The approximately 660-meter-long Nirai Bridge and Kanai Bridge connect Prefectural Road 86 and National Route 331, forming a large curve. “Niraikanai” means “far beyond,” symbolizing an ideal land beyond the sea. As you descend the road from Tsukishiro, a panoramic view of the southern sea opens up. The bridges, equipped with walkways and observation decks, are popular for sunrise viewing, attracting many visitors each year. However, parking and stopping on the bridge are prohibited, so park nearby and walk to the spot.

🏠 Address: Chinen Chinen, Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: Open all year round for free viewing
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily (no regular holidays)
🅿️ Parking: None

[Itoman City] Peace Memorial Park

Watch the sunrise while praying for peace

Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City’s Mabuni, the site of the final ground battle of World War II and the most intense battle of the Okinawa campaign, is a beautiful park overlooking the blue sea and covered in flowers and greenery across about 40 hectares. The park includes tombs, memorials, and a museum displaying Okinawa War artifacts, themed around “consolation, prayer, and peace.” On January 1st, the park opens before sunrise, offering an opportunity to watch the sunrise while praying for peace.

🏠 Address: 444 Mabuni, Itoman City, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: Open year-round from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM (closing time)
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily.
💰 Admission Fee: Free entry. Separate fees apply for the Okinawa Peace Hall and Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum.
🅿️ Parking: Available, free of charge. Capacity for 531 vehicles, including EV charging facilities (free).

[Nishihara Town] Nishihara Kira Kira Beach

A sunrise spot beloved by locals

Nishihara Kira Kira Beach, a 550-meter-long large beach popular for swimming and various marine sports, includes facilities for barbecues and multi-purpose fields for soccer and baseball, catering to both children and adults. The shallow waters and proper safety measures make it a secure and enjoyable beach. It’s a popular sunrise spot that attracts many visitors every year, yet it’s not overly crowded.

🏠 Address: 17 Tozaki, Nishihara Town, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture, inside Creed Nishihara Marine Park [Google Pin]
💰 Admission Fee: Free entrance to the beach
🅿️ Parking: Available

Central Okinawa

[Uruma City] Katsuren Castle Ruins

Overlooking Nakagusuku Bay from the castle walls

Katsuren Castle Ruins, situated on a hilltop on the Katsuren Peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean, dates back to the 12th century. In 2000, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The elegantly curved teikaku-style castle walls have been restored. It’s famous for its sunrise view overlooking Nakagusuku Bay from the castle walls.

🏠 Address: 3908 Katsuren Haebaru, Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily (no regular holidays)
💰 Admission Fees: No separate entrance tickets for Katsuren Castle Ruins. Combined ticket with Amawari Park – Adults: 600 Yen, Children: 400 Yen
🅿️ Parking: Available, free of charge. Capacity for 131 vehicles, including 6 large buses and 125 cars.

[Yomitan Village] Zakimi Castle Ruins

Overlooking the East China Sea from a 127m high hill

Zakimi Castle, built by the powerful local lord Gosamaru after the unification of the Ryukyu Kingdom, is known for having Okinawa’s oldest stone-built castle gate and intricately constructed walls. It offers a splendid view of the East China Sea from its hilltop location, approximately 127 meters above sea level. Despite being on the west side of the main island, its elevated position allows for viewing the first sunrise.

🏠 Address: 708 Zakimi, Yomitan Village, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: Open for viewing all year round
🗓️ Holidays: Closed during bad weather
💰 Admission Fee: Free for general viewing. The Zakimi Castle Ruins Yuntanza Museum is paid
🅿️ Parking: Available, free of charge. Capacity for 52 vehicles.

[Uruma City] Kaichu Road

Enjoy a refreshing drive on the seaside course

Kaichu Road, approximately 4.7 km long, connects the Katsuren Peninsula with Henza Island. The Kaichu Road Road Park in the middle has a product hall and restaurant at the Umi no Eki Ayahashi Hall, adjacent to a crystal-clear beach. From the pedestrian bridge, you can view Kaichu Road and access the beach. A seaside drive here offers a refreshing experience of welcoming the sunrise.

🏠 Address: Yonashiro Yahirabar, Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: Open 24 hours a year
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily (no regular holidays)
💰 Admission Fee: Free
🅿️ Parking: Available, free of charge. Capacity for 266 vehicles.

[Nakagusuku Village, Nakagami District] A beautiful World Heritage Site

Nakagusuku Castle Ruins, spanning Nakagusuku Village and Kita-Nakagusuku Village in Nakagami District, represent the peak of Okinawa’s castle construction history. The different stonework techniques suggest varying construction periods. It’s one of the most beautiful castle ruins among the approximately 300 Gusuku sites in Okinawa and was designated a World Heritage Site in 2000. Witness the beautiful ruins and the first sunrise up close.

🏠 Address: 1258 Tomari, Nakagusuku Village, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (New Year’s Day open at 6:00 AM)
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily
💰 Admission Fee: None
🅿️ Parking: Available

[Uruma City] Kafu Banta

Visit nearby power spots after watching the sunrise!

Kafu Banta, at an elevation of about 120 meters, is an off-the-beaten-path spot with stunning views. “Kafu” means fortune and happiness, and “Banta” in Okinawan dialect refers to a cliff or precipice. The contrast between the sky, greenery, and emerald green sea is breathtaking. The “Nuchi no Hama” beach below is a natural spawning ground for sea turtles on full moon nights. Nearby are three power spots: “Ryujin Kaze no Michi,” “Miten Uza,” and “Hanari Gok.” After watching the sunrise, it’s worth visiting these spots.

🏠 Address: 2768 Yonashiro Miyagi, Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: Open all day
🗓️ Holidays: Open daily (no regular holidays)
🅿️ Parking: Available

Northern Okinawa

[Kunigami Village] Cape Hedo

Watch the first sunrise from the northernmost cape of Okinawa Main Island

Cape Hedo, a scenic spot with cliffs of raised coral reef, offers views of Yoron Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. The cape’s tip was once used to signal a wish for reversion to mainland Japan. It’s a powerful sight with waves crashing against the cliff walls. You can see a beautiful sunrise over the horizon.

🏠 Address: Hedo, Kunigami Village, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture [Google Pin]
Business Hours: Open all year round
🅿️ Parking: Available, free of charge. Capacity for 100 vehicles.

The spots introduced here allow you to witness the beautiful sunrise over Okinawa’s blue sea. When visiting, remember to check the weather and timings. Bringing a camera for photogenic shots is also recommended. The parks and beaches mentioned are famous tourist destinations, so after watching the sunrise, consider exploring nearby areas or bringing breakfast to enjoy a leisurely morning. Let these recommendations help start your year beautifully.


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It is important for readers to independently verify the details and do their own research when planning their visit to the destinations mentioned in this article. This includes checking the latest travel advisories, confirming operating hours, and making reservations in advance.

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Happy travels and have a wonderful time exploring these destinations!