Daisekirinzan – Okinawa's Ancient Limestone Forest
Daisekirinzan ( 大石林山) is an incredible natural wonder of Okinawa. Located in the island's remote north, the “Big Stone Woods Mountain”, as its name is translated, is a 200-million-year-old limestone “forest”, with bizarre rock formations and beautiful scenery.
Daisekirinzan is part of the vast Yanbaru National Park, located in the northern Kunigami District, which is Okinawa's least populated area. It's about a two-hour drive from Naha up Highway 58, winding its way along the wild, rugged coastline.
The jungles and forests in Yanbaru are full of wild boar, exotic birds found nowhere else on earth, snakes, and awesome flora and fauna. The drive takes you through tiny fishing villages and you quickly notice that there are no big hotels, supermarkets or convenience stores around. This is true, wild Okinawa.
To the locals, Daisekirinzan is part of a sacred space known as 'Ashimui'. The jagged cliffs and peaks of the park were believed to be created by god, and is even today known as a 'power spot'. Even the royal family of the Ryukyu Kingdom used to travel to this area to pray and converse with nature.
Today Daisekirinzan is accessible to the public and offers three different walking trails. Each one takes about 30 minutes to explore, so if you have time and good shoes on, you can easily do all of them in one visit. There is also one designated wheelchair or stroller accessible route.
Wonder of Rocks Trail: This one is definitely the coolest and should not be missed. As you walk you'll notice bizarre rock formations which look just like animals, such as a camel, a sleeping cat, a crocodile, a lizard, and even an alien. You can also walk through the 'Matchmaking Rock' to find love!
Churaumi Ocean View Trail: This one offers incredible views of Cape Hedo and Okinawa's pristine seas. There are a number of 'power spots' on this trail, such as the Stone Forest Wall, and 'Reincarnation Rock', which is said to give you an extra life if you walk through it three times.
Subtropical Forest Trail: You'll feel like you've really stepped back in time during this forest route, especially when you come across the giant 'Gajumaru' or Banyan tree, which is Japan's biggest and oldest. The locals believe that naughty forest spirits called 'Kijimuna' live in these banyan trees.
Nearby to Daisekirinzan is Cape Hedo, or Hedo Misaki, the most northern tip of the island. It's just a few minutes away from Daisekirinzan so it is highly recommended to visit both of these places if you make the long drive north. From Cape Hedo, you can see the four limestone peaks of Daisekirinzan in the distance. Though Cape Hedo is a famous spot, few seem to know about Daisekirinzan, which makes it a hidden gem.
Name: Daisekirinzan 大石林山
Address: 1241 Ginama, Kunigami, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-1422
Opening Hours 9:30~17:30 (Reception closes 16:30)
Adults – 1,200 JPY
Children (Ages 4~14) – 550 JPY
Seniors (Ages 65~) – 900 JPY