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Saturday, February 4, 2012

"The Higashi Museum"

Inside the Higashi Museum

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The Higashi Museum

     N 26 38.469E 128 10.029

The Higashi Museum

Probably one of many least known museums here on Okinawa, the Higashi Museum, for its size, is neatly crafted and well organized. If you are into birding or wildlife here on Okinawa, then it might be worthwhile to see their collection of 'stuffed' birds and other wildlife that are professionally on display. They even have a few live snakes in a glass case on display, to include the notorious and much feared, Habu. Much of the museums covers the agricultural history and the lifestyle of Higashi people of the past. Though nothing is translated in English, you do get a sense how life was like many years ago for the Higashi villagers. If you have a friend that can read Japanese and speak English, then recommend you bring him or her along to help you decipher some of the history surrounding this beautiful part of the Yanbaru Forest. Higashi and many villages further north on the eastern side of Okinawa contain many hidden cultural and natural 'gems' that even many Okinawans may not know about. A large part of it has to do with its location, with the north eastern side of Okinawa being less frequented by transients. The museum sits next to the Fukuji River and next to the museum is a small park and a view of the Higashi Mountains.

Fukuji Dam Back Entrance. If you were to pass the museum and continue on you will run into the back entrance of the Fukuji Dam (Yellow route above). Vehicles are not permitted at a certain point but you can walk inside and see what was once a family gathering area along the river bed. It is a very similar set up to that of the Haneji Dam Family Picnic Area in Nago where kids and parents can splash and have fun in the water. The staff had mention that it is being renovated (road construction) and hopefully some time this year it will accessible for vehicles.

Directions. The turn-off is something you wouldn't expect to lead you to a museum. Study the landmarks carefully. There are two posted. One is a 'vending area' for tourist and the other is the 'Y-Fork' in the road where you turn into. At the 'Y-Fork' turn-off you will see a radio antennae looking structure to the left. There will also be signs posted on the ground in Japanese. Click here to see what it looks like.

Note: They had at one time offered a brochure in English about Higashi and its cultural assets. Lack of English speaking visitors might have contributed to the temporarily halt of this publication. However, with more and more English speaking visitors arriving, it may re-ignite enthusiasm to providing more and more multilingual material for visitors.

Closed: Mondays, If holiday falls on Monday – closed on Tuesday. Closed on national holidays, Okinawa War Memorial Day (June 23rd), December 29-January 3rd.
Hours: 10am-6pm (Last admission 5:30pm)
Fee: Adults/College Students 200 Yen ( 160 Yen/ 15 or more). Elementary to Highschool Students 100 Yen (80 Yen/ 15 or more)
Phone Number: 098-051-2828
Taking Pictures: Allowed inside

Other places of interest nearby. The Sakishima Sappanwood Tree, Meoto Falls, The Azalea Festival (March Only).

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