VIDEO: Tiny Sesoko Island big fun in Okinawa

VIDEO: Tiny Sesoko Island big fun in Okinawa

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

Sesoko-jima is a small island with a circumference of only eight kilometers. If you have been to Expo Park on Okinawa’s main island, you’ve probably spotted this island off Motobu Peninsula’s coast. To get to Sesoko, cross the Sesoko Ohashi, a 762-meter-long bridge.

This island is a good destination for those who are looking for a relaxing and cozy place to spend a day. On a hot summer day in July, I went there for the first time in a while. The last time I had been there, it was during winter.

Like other remote islands of Okinawa, Sesoko boasts beautiful beaches. One of them is Sesoko Beach, located in the northwest. That’s where I went first.

Sesoko Beach has a sandy shore where visitors enjoy a panoramic view of the crystal blue waters and Ie and Minna islands in the distance.

Visitors may notice many guests from the nearby Hilton Okinawa Sesoko Resort, which opened July 2020, enjoy Sesoko Beach. It is not a private resort beach, however, so feel free to enjoy the relaxing vibes here as it is a public area.

The waters off Sesoko Beach are known for being exceptionally transparent, according to the beach website. Morning rains on the day of my visit made the water a little murky, but the water condition did not deter snorkelers and swimmers.

As for me, I just wanted to soak in the water to take some time off from the summer heat. Sesoko Beach is known for its shallow waters, but the surface of the water was already reaching my neck at just 5 to 10 meters from the shore likely due to the high tide.

Don’t worry about box jellyfish, there is a net closing off the swimming area. So, relax and have the liberating experience of just floating in the ocean under the sun. I surrendered to the waters absent-mindedly for about 30 minutes and then hunger kicked in. It was time to go back to shore and grab lunch.

Fortunately, Sesoko Island is also known for its many fancy cafés and eateries. Among them, UKAUKA, a pizzeria on a slope overlooking the eastern coast, is one I’d had in mind. Luckily, a table on a terrace was available when I went there. From my seat, I had a nice view of the ocean and the bridge.

Ukauka is known for serving authentic Naples-style pizza and offers 15 different varieties. It seemed hard to just pick one, but I was soon drawn to the Siciliana (1,500 yen), with garlic, oregano, anchovies, olives, and capers advertised as “a flavor for adults.”  I coupled that with a glass of mango juice, which was for free during lunchtime.

To be honest, I was not sure if my taste was mature enough to try this pizza. With one bite, however, the distinct flavors of garlic and aaother ingredients hit the right chord with my taste buds. For a guy like me who is only familiar with regular pizza such as Margarita and pepperoni, it was a taste that I had not experienced before. The Italian-style thin crust was a delight and this superb pizza paired well with the beautiful view. I only regretted I was alone because it was definitely the kind of experience you want to share with someone.

With a full stomach, I headed to Anchi Hama, another beach on the east end of the island. Along the way, I swung by Yanbaru Baisen Kobo for a little caffeine for 180 yen. The coffee shop offers pastries and fruit juices for a quick pick-me-up or post-lunch dessert.

While Sesoko Beach provided a panoramic view of the ocean, Anichima, located just under Sesoko Ohashi, presented a nice view of the bridge and Okinawa’s main island. It was shortly past 2:30 p.m., and the sunlight was still scorching the sandy shore of the beach. Fortunately, I could take shelter under the shade of the bridge. Seated on the sandy shore in the shade I sipped my coffee. The freshly brewed joe felt very rejuvenating.

I could see families and couples swimming in the ocean. The idea of getting in the ocean for the second time crossed my mind, but I saved it for my next visit. My schedule was to leave the island before 4 p.m. I wanted to spend the rest of my time on the island enjoying the landscape. So, for about an hour, I cruised around making occasional stops in my car.

The island’s east coast provided a nice view of Okinawa’s main island. And Anchihama was very picturesque when looked at from the bridge above. I got lost in the wonderful landscape, and it was already past 4 p.m. when I finally crossed the bridge to go back home.

Sesoko island was not a destination on the top of my list when it comes to trips to the north, but now I can’t wait to go back. Its beautiful beaches, great food and views made my day.


Sesoko Beach

GPS Coordinates: N 26.649998, E 127.856318

Hours: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (subject to change)

Parking: Available (1,000 yen per day)




GPS Coordinates: N 26.646442, E 127.870069

Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Lunch) Closed on Tue. and Fri.

*From Sept through Jun., this place opens for dinner between 5:30 – 9 p.m. (last order at 8 p.m. reservation required.)

Parking: Free parking available for five vehicles.


Yanbaru Coffee Baisen Kobo

GPS Coordinates: N 26.647460, E 127.868230

Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Tue. and Fri.)



Anchihama (beach)

GPS Coordinates: N 26.649317, E 127.873936

Parking: 500 yen


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