While Miyakojima is filled with scenic nature, the most beautiful part of the island has to be Cape Higashi-Hennazaki (東平安名崎). The cape, located on the eastmost of Miyako Island, is a designated spot of Japan’s National Places of Scenery Beauty. The promenade that stretches from the car park to the white lighthouse at the tip of the cape is going to be one of the most amazing walkways you will walk on in your life! However, the wind is most likely to be strong up there, so keep an eye on your hat (^_-)-☆.
From the 2km long narrow cape, you will get the most spectacular ocean view with rock features and coral reefs spread under. When the sea gets a little bit rougher, the gargantuan waves make the scenery awe-inspiring.
Situated at the easternmost point of Miyako-jima Island, Cape Higashi-Hennazaki is also a renowned sunrise viewing spot. So if you are an early bird, join the others and start your day with the astonishing Cape Higashi-Hennazaki sunrise view!
Of course, on a clear day, the dark sky is filled with hundreds of thousands of stars at night (^_-)-☆. But you will need a proper torch as the flashlight on your phone won’t be enough.
Tip: In May, June, and from September to winter months, you might even be surrounded by fireflies at night!
Cape Higashi-Hennazaki Observation Deck (東平安名崎見晴台)
Before you drive onto the cape, park your car and trek on the small road to Cape Higashi-Hennazaki Observation Deck. It is the only spot where you can see the entire cape!
Hora Fishing Port (保良漁港)
If you are parking your car at the cape’s car park, you can make a detour to the Hora Fishing Port observatory (保良漁港上展望台). The view of the fishing port serves as an appetizer before the scenery at the cape’s tip blows your mind away!
You can descend to the port for the small beach next to it. We can guarantee this beach won’t be crowded (^_-)-☆.
The rocks that scattered on the water’s surface were from the cliffs. Some of these Ryūkyū limestone rocks are dispersed on the cape. How? By the hugely powerful tsunami!
Tsunami-iwa Rock (津波岩)
If you wonder how powerful the waves can be, check out the Tsunami-iwa Rock at the side of the promenade. The rock that is more than 6-meter-tall was thrown up in the air by the tsunami in 1771 and landed 20 meters above its original position!
Mamuya’s Tomb (マムヤの墓)
Another thing worth mentioning is a cave-like tomb called Mamuya’s Tomb. The tomb with a picture of the beautiful young Mamuya has a tragic and sad love story behind it.
Mamuya was the name of a young lady who was so beautiful that people said she was just like someone who walked out of a painting. But as we all know, having an extremely charming look isn’t always a blessing. Her beauty had attracted many suitors, which led to tragedies.
Long story short, Mamuya lost a bet to a man called Nugusuku (野城) and was forced to marry him. Mamuya later found out that Nugusuku already had a wife and children. Her heart was completely shattered when she learned that because of the children, Nugusuku would choose his wife over Mamuya if he could only take up one woman. Ultimately, she threw herself off the cliff of Cape Higashi-Hennazaki.
What links to this sad story is the appearance of the ladies in Hora Village (保良村). Because Mamuya didn’t want the same thing to happen to other women, she prayed to god before she jumped off the cliff, saying, “What had happened was all because I was born too pretty, so please prevent any nice-looking girls from being born into the village”.
It is said that after her prayer, the ladies from the Hora Village all had very ordinary looks…
But this prayer might anger other village girls who wanted beauty. So there is one way to break this cursed-like prayer. If you know you are carrying a girl in your womb, find a hollow on Cape Higashi-Hennazaki’s lawn filled with water. On a full moon night, wait for the water in the hollow to reflect the moon and drink the moon’s reflection by scooping it with your hands.
Is the ritual effective? Many current Okinawan beauties are from the Hora Village!
Note that the above is just one version of the story.
The Coral Reef, Panari (パナリ)
The massive coral reef on Cape Higashi-Hennazaki’s east coast is called Panari by the locals. It is another site in the area linked to a sad story.
The folk tale is known as the Tale of Panari Utaki (パナリ御嶽物語). It is said that a village called Panari was initially located where the coral reef is now. One day, the god of the sun descended to play with the village girls and got really close to one of them. They later conceived a child.
But one day, a babysitter angered the god of the sun. As a result, the village was trampled and was formed into Kurima Island (来間島), south of Miyako-jima. What is left is the incredible coral reef with moss-covered rocks scattered in between.
Hennazaki Lighthouse (平安名埼灯台)
The white Hennazaki Lighthouse at the tip of Cape Higashi-Hennazaki is one of the best observation spots in Japan. It is also one of the only two lighthouses in Okinawa that you can enter. So make sure you arrive at the cape before it closes for the day!
The lighthouse has a height of 24.5 meters. So before it presents the breathtaking panoramic ocean scenery, you have 97 stairs to climb. But we promise you that you won’t regret making that effort once you have reached the top!
If you go around the lighthouse’s top floor, you can see the Pacific Ocean to your east and the East China Sea to your west.
As a side note, Hennazaki Lighthouse is the southernmost lighthouse in Japan.
Hennazaki Lighthouse’s Opening Hours and Admission Fee
- Hennazaki Lighthouse is open from
- 9:30 am to 5 pm on weekends and public holidays between March to September
- 9:30 am to 4:30 pm otherwise
- The last admission is 15 minutes before the closing time
- The admission fee is 300 yen for junior high school students and above.
The Best Time to Visit Cape Higashi-Hennazaki
The best season to visit Cape Higashi-Hennazaki is late spring, from mid-April to early May. It is when the white easter lilies blossom across a side of the cape. But with more than 200 kinds of vegetation covering the rocky cliff, you can find something blooming throughout the year.
Tip: If you understand Japanese, hire a rickshaw at the car park. Not only will your guide introduce you to the local plants humorously, but they can also sing Miyako-jima’s folk songs to you!
The rickshaw here is called Tōya (灯八).
How to Get to Cape Higashi-Hennazaki
- Cape Higashi-Hennazaki is around a 30 to 40-minute drive from Miyako Airport (宮古空港).
- If you plan to take a bus, get off at Aragasuku Boraga Line’s (新城保良線) bus stop, Yoshino (吉野).
Discover Other Awesome Attractions on Miyako Island
On top of the breathtaking beaches, Miyako Island also has a couple of attractions in other categories. There are, of course, farmers’ markets and food-related spots on the island that await your visit!
For more information, refer to our article on Miyako Island (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.