The magic of Okinawa’s mangrove forests
The Gesashi Mangrove Forest in Okinawa’s main island is truly a hidden gem. This rare ecosystem is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. One of the best ways to explore and appreciate the true beauty of this unique environment is through mangrove kayaking.
How to Get There
Reaching Gesashi is relatively easy, whether you choose to travel by bus or car. If you opt for the bus, you can take one from Naha Bus Terminal headed for Nago and get off at Nago Shiyakusho mae. From there, you can walk to Hokubu Godo Chosha mae and transfer to a bus bound for Onishi. Get off at Genka and walk to Genka Iriguchi, where you can transfer to a bus that will take you to Gesashi. The entire journey takes less than three hours. Alternatively, if you prefer to drive, you can take Route 329 north until it meets Route 331, which will lead you directly to Gesashi. The car journey takes a little under two hours.
The Gesashi Mangrove Forest is not only a natural wonder but also an officially designated national natural monument. This recognition highlights the importance of preserving and protecting this unique ecosystem. The area is also home to rare wildlife and unusual birds, making it a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
A rare ecosystem in japan
The Gesashi Mangrove Forest is the largest collection of mangroves on Okinawa’s main island. The Japanese government recognized its significance and designated it a national natural monument in 1972. Mangroves are a rare sight in Japan, but in Okinawa, they thrive along the coast. Heading north to Gesashi Bay offers visitors the opportunity to explore the mangrove woods up close and personal.
Kayaking through the mangrove forest
One of the best ways to experience the magic of the Gesashi Mangrove Forest is by kayaking. There are various kayaking courses available, catering to different levels of experience and time constraints. For those with young children or limited time, an hour-long kayaking session is recommended. This allows you to get a taste of kayaking through the winding mangrove forest. However, for those who want a more immersive experience, there are longer courses that can last up to five hours. These courses take you deeper into the mangrove forest, allowing you to paddle your way to the crystal-clear waters of the Pacific Ocean.
As you kayak through the mangrove forest, you’ll be mesmerized by the natural beauty that surrounds you. The tall mangrove trees create a unique and enchanting atmosphere, with their roots extending into the water. The interplay of light and shadow adds to the surreal experience, as rays of sunlight filter through the dense canopy above. The calm and peaceful waters make it an ideal activity for those seeking tranquility and a connection with nature.
Seeing the mangrove forest up close
Once you’re back on dry land, a visit to the Higashi Village Mangrove Park is a must. Here, you can learn more about mangrove trees and their importance to the ecosystem. The park also offers an observation tower, where you can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the mangroves. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to appreciate the vastness and complexity of this unique ecosystem. The panoramic view allows you to see the intricate network of roots and the lush greenery that stretches as far as the eye can see.
The observation tower at Higashi Village Mangrove Park not only provides a magnificent view of the mangroves but also offers a chance to observe the diverse birdlife that calls this place home. The mangrove forest provides a sanctuary for various bird species, including herons, kingfishers, and egrets. With binoculars in hand, you can spot these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. The peacefulness and serenity of the mangrove forest make it an ideal spot for birdwatching and photography.
In conclusion, the Gesashi Mangrove Forest in Okinawa is a hidden paradise that offers a unique and mesmerizing experience. Whether you choose to kayak through the winding waterways or admire the mangroves from the observation tower, you’ll be captivated by the beauty and tranquility of this rare ecosystem. It’s a place where nature thrives and offers a respite from the bustling city life. So, if you’re looking for an adventure or simply want to reconnect with nature, make sure to visit the Gesashi Mangrove Forest on your next trip to Okinawa.
Address And Maps Location:
53 Gesashi, Higashi-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa-ken