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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mount Yonaha

The trail to Mt. Yonaha


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Mount Yonaha (Yonaha-dake)

     GPS*
     LatitudeLongitude
     N 26 43.919E 128 12.545
       
       *GPS to parking area



Mount Yonaha, Kunigami Village

The highest mountain on the Okinawa main island is in Kunigami Village. It is Mt. Yonaha (Yonaha-dake) standing at 503 meters above sea level.(1)(i) The hike is about a 2 to 2 1/2 hour trip to the top. The trail is well beaten down with a mild grade towards the peak. It is a very easy climb for those who wish to bring their children. The scenic view at the top, however, is essentially non-existent since dense vegetation surrounds the entire peak as well as much of the trail along the way.

The Highest Point. As of November 21, 2013 there was no official sign designating the highest point of the mountain (503 meters). There was, however, a sign marking 498 meters (near the top). With recent amenities added (improved parking area, a toilet facility, new signs etc.), there is indication in the near future that the Kunigami Village Office may officially mark the highest point for tourism purposes.

So Where is the Highest Point? It is believed that the 503 meter point is the hill just before you reach the 498 meter marker. In fact you pass it without realizing it. As of November 21, 2013 there was a small tree right along the trail with three rings of red tape around it and the number 503 marked on it. The GPS of that location does seem to match the Google terrain map as the highest point, but this still remains unofficial till the Kunigami Village Office formally places the marker.

Summary of Information.
Name: Mt Yonaha, Yonaha-dake (与那覇岳)
Elevation of Highest Point: 503 Meters (1650.26 ft)
GPS Highest Point (503 Meters): N26 43.029 E128 13.118 (unconfirmed)
GPS 498 Meter Point: N26 42.974 E128 13.085
GPS Starting Point: N26 43.925 E128 12.546
Parking Area: 100 meters from the trail starting point
Estimated Time of Completion: Round Trip 4-5 hours
GPS Recommended Emergency Rendezvous Point: Same as parking area
Difficulty Level: Very Low.
Parking and Toilet Facility: Available near the trail starting point
Cellphone Reception. Signal received at the top (Au phone)

Recommended Guidelines. (PLEASE READ!!!)
1. Age. Climbing is suitable for young adults as well as children. The path is well beaten but there are areas where you can trip on tree roots and cut yourself on low lying branches, particularly broken bamboo. You may also find areas where trees have fallen along the path that you may have to negotiate. Parents must use their discretion on the ability of their children. Children must avoid running or playing along the trail. A good trip and you'll risk a good cut to the facial area.
2. Wear shoes or boots that have good traction. Tennis shoes should be okay.
3. IMPORTANT!!! Bring plenty of water. This is about a 4-5 hour excursion. Recommend bringing snacks or a light lunch. Pack out what you pack in.
4. Tuck in all loose straps to include shoe laces to prevent getting snagged and tripping.
5. Highly recommend hiking gloves of some kind. You may be required to climb using your hands in some areas to include fallen trees.
6. Base your clothing on the time of year and comfort level.
7. Bug repellent. Bring per your discretion. Mosquitoes are more prevalent in the hotter months.
8. Let someone know where you are going, and recommend a climbing buddy.
9. This is a wildlife protected area. Please do not take anything out of the forest; this includes plant life.

Notes.
i. The highest mountain in Okinawa Prefecture is Mt. Omote in Ishigaki Island at 526 meters(2)

References.
1. Mt. Yonaha, Highest Mountain on Okinawa main island, www.okinawastory.jp
2. Mt. Omote, the highest in mountain in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan National Tourism Organization

Directions. Take Highway 58 north to Kunigami Village. There will be a sign directing you to Hiji Falls (near the Family Mart). Take this same road. About 250 meters you will then turn left on the second paved road. You may see this sign on the left-hand sign. About 250 meters you will run into a main road (this sign will be to your front). Going left takes you to an elementary school. You will want to go right. Immediately, you will be moving up hill. Follow this road straight. About 5km (3 miles) later you will run into a T-intersection. You will see a Peace Pole to your front and a parking area to the right. You will also see a explanation sign about Mt. Yonoha. The beginning of the trail is about another 150 meters to the east. The vehicle route to the parking area is marked in blue in the map above.

Other Hiking Trails on Okinawa. Awa-dakeKatsuu-dakeFurushi-dake, Motobu Fuji.

Other Places of Interest Nearby. The Yanbaru Forest Toy Museum.