VIDEO: Exploring Okinawa: On lookout for habu near Cape Maeda

Photos by Shoji Kudaka
Photos by Shoji Kudaka

VIDEO: Exploring Okinawa: On lookout for habu near Cape Maeda

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

On my way home, I decided to swing by Cape Maeda. Before the pandemic, this location was packed with many tourists who were there for snorkeling and diving. I was curious to see how this tourist spot would look in post-COVID days.

With COVID restrictions finally lifted, seeing many tourists there should not have been a surprise. Still, the sight of snorkelers and divers in their wetsuits walking around the cape took me back to the pre-pandemic days.

As I walked toward the tip of the cape, I was expecting to see more tourists swimming in the ocean. However, what I found was just four to five boats around the famous blue grotto. This was far from a “traffic jam” of boats and swimmers in the sea I saw five years ago.

I found that the gate leading to the shore entry point was closed. The closure could be one reason why the water was less crowded with snorkelers wanting to enjoy the blue grotto.

Just as I decided to head back to my car, a small, paved walkway caught my eye. This path led me through shrubbery and past a sign for something called a summerhouse. Excited at the prospect of the beautiful ocean view the summerhouse might provide, I continued despite signs warning me to watch out for venomous habu snakes.

Though it was a cloudy day, it was warm enough for the snakes to come out of the shrubbery.  A rodent crossed my path and made me think there might be a habu lurking somewhere to prey on it. I decided to carry on, although at a faster pace.

Soon I reached the summerhouse sitting on a small cliff protruding on the coastline. Or to be precise, it was just a picnic area with a small pavilion. From here the waves below were crashing and making a huge splash. In the distance, Cape Maeda looked like a small rock.

Had the weather been nicer, the summerhouse would’ve had a better view and maybe even a great sunset. Luckily, I made my way back down the path without spotting any snakes.

As the weather warms and summer approaches, the chance of encountering a habu snake will rise. The view from the summerhouse under the deep blue sky and the golden sunsets this spot promises, however, might just be worth another quick-paced, habu snake-dodging walk in the shrubs.

Cape Maeda
GPS Coordinates: N 26.445117, E 127.771438
*parking space available (7 a.m. – 7 p.m., 100 yen per hour)
*Please refrain from parking your car on the road.
*Watch out for habu snakes. If you spot one, leave the scene carefully. Don’t take chances!

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