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Monday, January 2, 2012

"Azaka Falls"

Azaka Falls

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Azaka Falls

     N 26 38.767E 128 05.418

Azaka Falls

Surprisingly, this waterfall sits wide open, inconspicuously next to a road about 200 meters away. There are no signs that point to it and though it makes a loud thundering sound from a distance, you wouldn't hear it if you had your car windows rolled up. Perhaps more people pass right by it on their way to see the Taa Waterfalls just down the road. But if you happen to look at the right moment as you are passing by, you will notice a tiny pocket view of water streaming down between the trees. A closer view however, gives you something more impressive to see. This is the Azaka Falls of Ogimi Village.

At a vertical height roughly at a 100 meters, this natural beauty is not your typical waterfall with a straight vertical drop. It has several cascading levels where the gushing water descends down upon. Gold tinted colored rocks in which the water flows through gives the scenery its majestic ambiance. And unlike most waterfalls here on Okinawa that are surrounded by high vegetation, the Azaka Falls are pretty much under open skies, allowing the sun to shower you as you embrace the cool air from the streaming water. Bring a friend and lunch, this is a great spot to inhale the nature.

Caution. The view from down below is impressive enough to get a good picture. There are no designated trails, however, that take you to some of the cascading levels. Use extreme caution if you decide to skirt the landscape to get a higher view. Have good shoes and use the '3 Points of Contact' rule. It is easy to slip or trip. Climbing is not recommended for young children.

Getting there. Getting there is not too difficult, but you have to look for visible landmarks. If you drive north on Highway 58 just as you pass into Ogimi Village you will approach the Henan Bridge (there is no sign marker of the Henan Bridge in English characters on the southern side). But look for the bridge that has two Okinawan traditional flower hats known as 'hanagasa' on each side. You can either take the turn-off immediately before the bridge or immediately after the bridge. About 1 km after the turn-off, look for a small bridge and building. Park around here off the road. The trail to the waterfall is a vehicle trail along the stream. Don't bring your vehicles on it. Farmers still use it to tend their farms next to the waterfall. The walking distance to the waterfall from the road is about 200 meters.

Other places nearby of interest: Taa Falls.

Other waterfalls of Okinawa (沖 縄 滝).
Fukugawa Falls, Hira FallsMeoto Falls, Ogimi Waterfall, Taa Waterfall, Todoroki Waterfall, Kijoka Falls, Fukugawa II, Nameless Waterfall (Kunigami).