Yambaru National Park

A diversity of life thrives in this subtropical forest and its mountains

The park displays a diverse and varied natural environment; its subtropical evergreen laurel forest is Japan's most extensive and is a reflection of the process which formed the Ryukyu Islands. The sea cliffs, karst limestone formations, and mangrove forests are home to a wide variety of rare animals and plants living in the park.

Visiting Japan's National Parks

Yambaru National Park, like all of Japan's national parks, has no entrance fees, no opening and closing hours, and a permit is not required to enter or stay in the park. The national parks of Japan differ from national parks worldwide in that the land within the national parks is not exclusively designated for national park use and is made up of private property as well as public and protected areas. Visitors are free to enter and leave at any time.

Park Highlights

The cultural landscape of day-to-day living and nurtured traditions are special to Yambaru's natural environment. Visitors can enjoy this bountiful natural subtropical stage in Yambaru National Park by taking a drive, touring the scenic spots, trekking, canoeing, or animal watching. The park offers visitors an opportunity to interact with the tremendous natural beauty the area offers.

DON'T MISS

  • Head to the top of the highest peak in Okinawa—Mt. Yonaha
  • Hike the 4km course in the surroundings of Mt. Nekumachiji and Mt. Shioya-fuji
  • Take to the water and explore the Mangrove forest of Gesashi Bay

Yambaru is a region in the northern part of Okinawa Island, with a mountain range and extensive subtropical laurel forests. In particular, the zone centered on Kunigami Village, Ogimi Village and Higashi Village is home to endemic species including the Okinawa woodpecker and Okinawa rail. The biologically cohesive forests are in a relatively sound condition.

CAPE HEDOMISAKI

This cape at the northernmost end of Okinawa Island offers visitors a nature trail. It presents the karst topography peculiar to limestone, with prominent sea cliffs. Its excellent view takes in seashore scenery and Mt. Hedo, as well as Yoron-jima Island, the southernmost point of Kagoshima Prefecture.

KUNIGAMI FOREST PARK

With a 3 km prepared course, this park is a spot to enjoy birdsong and the seasonal flowers and trees. Bungalows and camping ground are also available.

MANGROVE FOREST OF GESASHI BAY

Stretching over about 10 hectares at the mouth of the Gesashi River, this mangrove forest is the largest on Okinawa Island. Three types of mangrove thrive in the forest: Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Kandelia obovate, and the Asiatic mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata), which finds its northernmost habitat here. Visitors can enjoy a wooden path and canoe tours to observe the creatures of the mangrove forest and tidal flats.

SHIOYA BAY

This bay is one of the eight most famous scenic spots in Okinawa. Ungami, a Shioya Bay festival to pray for the harvest, is a nationally designated intangible folk culture asset.

About the Park 

Yambaru National Park, located in the northern part of Okinawa Island, was designated as the 33rd National Park in Japan on September 15, 2016.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Date of National Park Designation: September 15, 2016
  • Area: 13,622 ha (136.22 square kilometers)
  • Location: Okinawa

PARKS RULES & SAFETY 

As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to Yambaru are required to observe the following rules for safety and to protect the area's natural biodiversity:

  • Carry in, carry out: Take all of your trash with you.
  • Do not pick wildflowers or damage plants.
  • Do not feed the wild animals.
  • Hunting is not permitted.
  • No fishing unless with a certified guide.
  • No smoking while walking.
  • Campfires are only permitted in designated areas.
  • Danger of landslides when raining.
  • Be considerate of the islands' wildlife when driving.
  • Do not bring invasive plant/animal species and pets to the islands.
  • Watch out for the Okinawa habu viper and other dangerous creatures.
  • Do not get any closer than necessary to take photographs of wildlife, and refrain from publicizing the exact locations of rare species.
  • Please respect that utaki sacred places and uganju prayer spots because they are important to the faith of local residents.