|The Rock Face at Furushi-dake|
View Map It! Okinawa in a larger map
|N 26 37.247||E 127 56.184|
*GPS to Parking Area
Just below Katsuu-dake (Mt. Katsuu) is its smaller sister, Furushi, whose summit blends in among the Katsuu landscape when viewed from a distance. The summit of Furushi-dake is more of a rounded hilltop than a pointy peak, and it's not her best feature — it's her rock face. This is what separates Furushi among her sister mountains in Okinawa. You will be on its edge..literally. The picture you see above (courtesy of Mikesryukyugallery.com) is of Mr. Map It! himself taking a little break near the rock's edge. If you love exploring and hiking, this area in Nago City is a great place for it. Part of the trail to Furushi is also shared by the trail that takes you up to Awa-dake, which sits across Furushi. Awa is an impressive mountain as well, taking about 5 hours to complete the entire Awa loop (next week's post will be on Awa-dake). See below for hiking instructions for Furushi-dake.
Elevation. 375 meters (1233 feet)(1)
Peak GPS Coordinate: GPS N26 37.711 E127 56.121
Rock Face GPS Coordinate: GPS N26 37.668 E127 56.070
Starting Point GPS Coordinate: GPS N 26 37.248 E 127 56.195 (Katsuyama Community Center)
Estimated Time to Peak: 1 – 2 hours (one way, includes visiting the Rock Face).
Parking Area Area: Same as starting point.
Recommended Emergency Rendezvous Point: Same as starting point.
Trail. Trail is marked off by colored tape.
Trail Map: 8.5 x 11 inch PDF (Full Color, Reduced Color), JPG (Full Color, Reduced Color).
Furushi-dake Hiking Sequence. Because the trail is not as straight forward like that of the trail going to Mt. Katsuu please read the following hiking sequence. You can also print an 8.5 x 11 inch PDF/JPG trail map above to get an idea of the trail layout as you review the hiking sequence.
1. Parking. Park your car at the Katsuyama Community Center (Green Thumbtack above). This is important. Do not park near the trail's main entrance. This will make it difficult for farmers to bring in their equipment to attend their crops.2. From the community center, you have to walk towards the main trail entrance that is designated by this sign (see also trail map and the map above).
3. From the main entrance, you will be walking almost due north about 500 meters till you reach a juncture in the trail. Along this stretch, you will pass through orchards on both sides and then the trail slowly creeps into the jungle forest.
4. The trail juncture. Towards the end of the 500 meter stretch, you will be inside the forest jungle. You have to keep your eyes open for color tape tied around tree branches on both sides of the trail. There may be small wood signs directing you the way, but this may not always be the case. The trail juncture splits into three separate trails. The trail to the left takes you clockwise to Awa-dake, the trail in the middle takes you counter-clockwise to Awa-dake, and the trail to the right takes you to Furushi-dake. (Note. If you wish to climb Awa-dake, it takes about 5-6 hours to hike the entire loop. You need to bring plenty of water and nourishments, especially during the warmer months of the year. See post on Awa-dake).
5. The Furushi-dake Rock Face. As you are hiking towards the Furushi summit, you will run into a T-intersection juncture. See photo here. Going right takes you to the Rock Face. Going left takes you to the summit.
6. Warning. The Rock Face is an impressive place to see but it does get really narrow and a little dangerous. You will see a wood sign that says “きけん” It just mean 'danger', and be on guard. From here you will be skirting a narrow trail along the edge of the rock face. You will have to hunch over many places along this part. Watch out for your head.
7. Warning. The narrow ledge. There is a part along the rock face that you have to climb a little to continue further. The trail ends about 40 meters later so it is not necessary to proceed ahead. It can be little nerve-racking at this point. The view is already impressive enough before this point. It is recommended that only a few people at a time proceed ahead as the entire ledge is narrow. Please see this YouTube Video to get a preview of what to expect at this juncture. For your comfort level, you may want to bring a carabiner and a safety harness. It is also recommended that you climb on and down from the ledge on your stomach. This will keep your center of gravity low and you will have more stability on the surface.
Recommended Guidelines (PLEASE READ!!!).
1. Age. Climbing is suitable for young adults who have good agility, mental awareness, and are physically fit. Parents must use their discretion on the ability of their children. Do not recommend bringing children to the Rock Face, but that is the parent's discretion.
2. Greatest dangers are tripping and falling. Wear shoes or boots that have good traction. Tennis shoes may be too slippery on some rock surfaces.
3. Snakes. Snakes, including habus, have been seen in this area. Be vigilant.
4. For your comfort level, you may want to bring a carabiner and a safety harness (Rock Face only).
5. Tuck in all loose straps to include shoe laces to prevent getting snagged and tripping.
6. Highly recommend hiking gloves of some kind. You may be required to climb using your hands in some areas.
7. Base your clothing on the time of year and comfort level. For this particular trail there are no specifics for attire.
8. Bring plenty of water and nourishments.
9. Recommend a good hat for shade or cover up with a moist towel.
10. Bug repellent. Bring per your discretion.
11. Let someone know where you are going, and recommend a climbing buddy.
Notes/Source of Information.
1. Elevation calculated at http://www.daftlogic.com/sandbox-google-maps-find-altitude.htm. This is not an official Nago City measurement. Official measurement can not be acquired at this time.
Directions/Parking. Take Highway 58 North and turn on to Highway 449 goings towards Motobu Town. About another 10 minutes later look for large street signs in English directing you to Mt. Katsuu (the Katsuyama Community Center is along this route). Look for the Katsuyama Community Center on the left. This is where you want to park. It will be across a white sign directing you to Mt. Katsuu. See map above for landmarks. Parking location is at GPS N 37.247 E 127 56.184.
Other Hiking Trails on Okinawa. Awa-dake, Katsuu-dake, Motobu Fuji, Yonaha-dake.