VIDEO: Walk in footsteps of Okinawan flying legends at Takatsukazan

A view of Takatsukazan from Motobu Park
A view of Takatsukazan from Motobu Park

VIDEO: Walk in footsteps of Okinawan flying legends at Takatsukazan

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

Takatsukazan is a hill located by Route 507 that cuts through the southern part of Okinawa. With the height of only 86 meters (approx. 282 feet), it may not look like anything special, but it is special to locals. This is the spot where the Tobiasato, a hometown hero, is believed to have attempted to fly in the air during the late 18th century.


According to the Haebaru Town’s Tourism Association, Tobiasato completed his flight around the same time as the Montgolfier Brothers went airborne in a hot air balloon in France back in 1783.

Like the Montgolfier Brothers, Tobiasato was a team, albeit father and son.  

Though Shutou Asato attempted a number of unsuccessful attempts, according to one of many versions of the historic flight, it would be his son who would reach great heights.

Asato’s son, Shushou, who would build a bamboo glider four meters in length, nine meters wide and two meters high that would successfully achieve Asato’s goal.

Shushou’s aircraft was capable of flapping the wings like a bird, something similar to what is called ornithopter today.

Slope to Takatsukazan

Monument of Tobiasato flight

Tobiasato (drawing courtesy of Haebaru Kankou Annaijo)

Replica of Tobiasato's aircraft

Monument of Tobiasato flight


Stone lion

Takatsukazan (entrance to the trail)

GPS Coordinates: N 26.185627, E 127.721952

Parking space for tourists in Haebaru Town (entrance)

GPS Coordinates: N 26.189601, E 127.724799

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