Yomitan

 By Michael Flemming   Jun 19, 2013

Yomitan Village on the East China Sea in Central Okinawa is well known for its pottery, beaches, castle, agriculture, and lighthouse. Known as Yomitan Son to the Japanese, Yomitan prides itself as the village in with the largest population in all of Japan; it has nearly 41,000 residents.

Historically Yomitan prospered as a part of the Ryukyu Kingdom due to the trade with China that arrived at its port, due to the military significance of Zakimi Castle high in the hills of the village, and the significance of the locally cultivated sweet potatoes. Today Yomitan is best known not only for its agriculture but for its many beaches and tourist sites as well.

A Pottery Village within Yomitan Village is a center where more than 40 potters make and sell Okinawa art.

Cape Zanpa in Yomitan Village is the first of many spectacular capes that dot the eastern coastline once exiting the heavily populated southern portion of Okinawa's main island. During the Okinawa rainy season each Spring the windy and wet spray of water from above and from the ocean blankets the smoothed over coral bluffs at this end of land. A beautiful lighthouse with a museum in it can be entered however at this present time it is being renovated and repaired. Many paved and unpaved walking paths in the area are lined with picturesque views and an endless array of monuments.

Romantic Zakimi Castle offers a commanding 360 degree view of central Okinawa, and a window into Okinawa’s past. Known as Zakimi-jo Gusuku to the natives, it is in ruins but the walls have been restored and the foundation of the castle manor inside is intact. The castle was built by Gosamaru in the 15th century, a local warrior and lord who helped unify Okinawa’s disparate nations into one Ryukyu Kingdom. The castle was designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 2000.

Nakagawa Farm is a farm as well as a restaurant, a petting zoo, a meat supplier, and banquet hall; and a good destination if traveling with children. The property features several cows, horses, deer, chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits, sheep, and goats as well as a monkey, peacock, llama, and turtle. The menu features horse, duck, beef, pork, and goat meat dishes. Signs on the wall advertise renting out the entire farm for a festive office or school party. For those preferring to cook horse courses at home Nakagawa sells raw meat as well.

Blue water beaches at Toguchu Beach and Park and several other sandy beaches south of Cape Zanpa offer water sports , swimming, snorkeling and clamming opportunities.

Travelers who want to enjoy a music festival during the month of October can attend the Torii Beach Rocktoberfest at the Torii Station American military Base in Yomitan Village. The festival is usually held on the first weekend in October from 14:00 ~ 22:00. Dates and entertainment have not been announced for this year. More than a dozen bands from Okinawa, Japan and often other countries perform for two days; admission to the event if free.

Visitors looking for a place to pray may want to stop by Belmont Church of Hija to see Japanese, British and Americans worshiping together. Belmont is a small non-denominational Christian church that offers all of its services and ministries in both English and Japanese. The Sunday church service is actually entirely bilingual. The announcements are given in English and then again in Japanese. The hymns are sung in either Japanese or English, but very often the verses alternate between each language. The sermon is in English, but a translator repeats the message in Japanese each time the pastor pauses. Prayers are also repeated by a translator. Even baptisms held at nearby Toguchi Beach are bilingual.

Written by Michael Flemming
Japan Travel Member

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