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Sunday, January 22, 2012

"The Golden Forest Utaki"

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The Golden Forest Utaki

     N 26 37.391E 128 01.709

The Golden Forest Utaki – Nago City

This is the Golden Forest Utaki* in Nakaoshi of Nago City. It sits along one of Nago City's back roads near the base of the Nago Mountains. The name 'Golden Forest' harmoniously describes the immediate surrounding area. Off in the back you will see shades of gold tinted foliage and leaves. The stones in the foreground too are covered in tinted shades of gold. The inscription on the back of the main stone reads:

"This is a sacred utaki of Nakaoshi. Because of construction, part of the road now covers this utaki. This monument is built to pray for the safety of those who live in this region. 1986 February."

If you were to venture off to the tree line in the back you will eventually see a small rock-side waterfall. See photo album above. The entire area is very quiet and peaceful with a slight breeze swooshing through every now and then. 

Getting there. The are two simple ways you can get to this utaki. If you are familiar with the Haneji Dam/Highway 18 route, you can approach the blue designated route (in the map above) from the south. The landmark (radio tower) at the beginning of the blue route is your signal to turn. See post on Haneji Dam/Scenic Route 18 for more information about this route. The other means is through Highway 58. The landmark for the turn-off will be a small statue of a little boy. The utaki will be on your right as your are driving.

Parking. There are no designated parking areas near this utaki. You have to find a wide area in the road nearby to park safely. Be careful of on coming traffic. Because the utaki sits along a somewhat unknown backroad, vehicles tend travel little faster along this route.  

Hunting Season Advisement: Though not often known, Okinawa does have a hunting season (November 15-February 15). CAUTION LEVEL: VERY LOW You won't see any hunters near any public places, nor this utaki. They usually go deep in the Nago Mountains away from any kind of population. This advisement  is for those who may wish to venture off later in the Nago Mountains after visiting this utaki. Only qualified and trained personnel are allowed to have such a license. It is mainly to hunt pest such as wild boar or other animals that have a negative effect on the land, crops, and other wildlife. Should you decide to go on a vehicle excursion in the Nago Mountains just be advised. They will be wearing bright orange, and sometimes organized in groups. There should be little to worry about if you travel on public roads and to known public areas. 

Note1: *'Utaki' is a place of worship in Okinawa
Note2: Not all icons will appear on the same map from earlier post. For example, the Haneji Dam/Scenic Route 18 do not appear in the above map. Much like Google's search results, you have to click 'Next' or 'Prev' to see the next group of icons when you view the map in screen size. This is a Google protocol and is trying to be resolved.   

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