Set up camp on Okinawa's Yoron Island

Photos by Allie Whalen
Photos by Allie Whalen

Set up camp on Okinawa's Yoron Island

by Allie Whalen
Stripes Okinawa

Yoronjima, also known as Yoron, is one of the Amami Islands and is located 22 kilometers north of Hedo Point on Okinawa. Yoron is close enough that you can see it from the mian island of Okinawa but it is uniquely different with plenty to love about the little island! We have been trying to slowly visit the islands around Okinawa while living here because once you figure out the ferries it is easy to island hop on the weekends.


One of the two bungalows available.

A-Line and Marix are the two ferry lines that make trips to Yoron from the Motobu and Naha ports of Okinawa. Their websites are easily translated with Google Translate on your internet browser so you can reserve a spot for passengers and cars.

Now to the good stuff – camping on Yoron! Yurigahama Campground is city-run and is the main campground on Yoron Island.  It was easy to reserve a camping spot through their email address. Checking in and paying for the camping spot when we arrived on the island was also a breeze once we found the city offices. The people couldn’t have been any nicer and easier to work with.

We drove around the campground first to get a feel for it. The city office are about a 10-minute drive from the campground so this part will definitely be easier if you have a car but not impossible if you’re walking or biking. However, with all the gear that goes along with camping (especially if you have kids!) I would not recommend trying to do this on foot. There are a few taxis on the island but since we took our van, we didn’t need one.

Despite having never been to Yoron or seeing the campground before, we decided to give it a try based on pictures from Google Maps. It is a beautifully manicured campsite with lots of landscaping and brush to give some privacy in he camp spots. It is also an easy walk to the bathroom facilities from all areas of the campground.

There are 3 different levels of camping available at the campground - tent camping, camping in an above-ground bungalow, and small cottages with two bunkbeds. They are each super affordable. I am not sure how busy they get in the summer, but when we went on Thanksgiving weekend, we were the only people on the whole campground!

The tent sites were all immaculately clean and had concrete tables with seats. They were spread out and provided the kids with lots of area to run and play. They’re also a short walk to the beach so it was easy to go back and forth between. We cooked at the campsite with our little stove but there are also covered areas with grills available for cooking and sinks for cleaning dishes. We brought a large jug of water for washing but we really didn’t need to with the nice facilities at the campsites.

The bungalows looked like a cool space to camp, too! If you are able to rent a bungalow you wouldn’t need to bring a tent but you would still want camp pads or an air mattress and bedding.

The cottages looked like they had been recently built. It was a basic design with a bunk bed on either wall and could sleep four total. They each had a porch with sliding doors leading onto it - super nice for hanging out in the evening. They are equipped with electricity so if you need a fan to sleep then these would be a great option to provide a camping feel with some usual “luxuries” of having a roof over your head. You would still need to bring bedding if you rent a cottage.

The shower facilities are closest to the cottages and farthest from the campsites. (The cottages don’t have bathrooms inside of them.) There is the option for a cold shower or you can pay 200 yen and have a hot shower. It’s an honor-based system with a box to leave your money for the hot shower. I thought it was great that you didn’t have to mess with codes to use the facilities.

If we have the opportunity to visit Yoron Island again we would most definitely camp at Yurigahama Campground. We stayed for two nights but would have stayed longer if we had more time.

Allie Whalen is a culinary artist and amateur photographer with a love for the outdoors. She has recently begun sharing her experiences online where she talks about natural and healthy ways to take care of your body and the world around you. She is a military spouse based in Okinawa near Camp Hansen. Allie and her family are excited make beautiful Okinawa their best move yet. There they enjoy the rugged, tranquil life on the northern parts of the island. You can find Allie’s blog at alliemwhalen.com, where she details her travels, basic conservation techniques, home education, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

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