Hyakuna Beach and Nanjo Cultural Properties

Nanjo 南城 meaning “southern castle” is unsurprisingly located in the southern area of the island. In Nanjo, there are many cultural and historical properties, most famously, perhaps, the Seifa Utaki 斎場御嶽 (also spelled Sefa Utaki).

**utaki 御嶽 is a Ryukyuan term for “sacred place,” oftentimes a water spring, mountain, woods, cave, etc.

The area I went to today qualifies as another “power spot” and it is quite close to Seifa Utaki. It is another spot related to the goddess Amamikiyo.

ヤハラヅカサ Yaharazukasa is the name of the monument submerged at full tide, and is totally revealed at low tide. It is located within the Hyakuna beach 百名ビーチarea.

The meaning is broken down into ヤハラ yahara, which can be soft, healed, gentle (柔らかい yawarakai, 癒されるiyasareru, 優しい yasashii in Japanese). The second part ヅカサ zukasa means mound, 塚 zuka in Japanese. So the meaning is something like a mound to receive gentle healing.

Amamikiyo touched down at yaharazukasa through Hamagaa utaki 浜川御嶽 (utaki means sacred spot) after Kudaka-jima; 浜川 Hamagaa would be normally be pronounced Hamagawa in Japanese (beach + river). Hamagaa utaki is a small “shrine” area with a spring (gaa 川, river/spring in Okinawan language) running through the Ryukyuan limestone cliffs. It was happily burbling as I explored the area. This utaki area was also supposedly a location where the goddess would rest and heal. She came from the sea kingdom Nirai-kanai, the home of the gods and created the Ryukyu Islands.

The Hyakuna beach is free; same with parking if you go all the way down to the end of the drive. If not, you can also pay for parking in a lot about halfway to monument area, more by the beach sports access area.

I did not check the tides since I was just wandering about so, alas, I ended up here at nearly high tide. Sometime I shall go down just for low tide to see the monument in its fullest.

Later we went to the parking and cafe area for Seifa Utaki to enjoy some cool treats at the 2nd floor cafe. I had a mango float and my husband had shikwasa (Okinawan lime citrus) kakigouri (shave ice). The view was quite beautiful and we chose to sit outside and enjoy.

address for Hyakuna Beach: https://goo.gl/maps/TJeUAGAzutK2
*When you park at the end of the road, you can see a sign pointing into the wooded area. That is where Hamagaa utaki is. From the utaki, there is a rock step path down to the beach directly in front of the yaharazakasa monument. There are some well-worn signage with both English and Japanese information.

Seifa Kitchen cafe せーふぁキッチン: https://goo.gl/maps/MhHZRJhzjMv

山の茶屋楽水: Yama-no-chaya Rakusui

山の茶屋 Yama-no-chaya means “mountain tea house.”

Located in Nanjo (南城市), the southern area of Okinawa, this charming restaurant is quite popular and offers beautiful views, delicious food, and a garden walk. It is very popular, so it is important to show up early. It has a sister restaurant called Hamabe-no-chaya 浜辺の茶屋 (meaning “teahouse by the beach”), a few meters down the way located on the beach front and offering a more casual menu. Hamabe-no-chaya also has nice view overlooking the ocean, but I much prefer the food at Yama-no-chaya.

From the parking lot, you will see some walking sticks at the base of the stairs; feel free to use these, although the “climb” is not difficult, it may make it easier for elders or fun for children. When you get to the restaurant, they will present you with an English menu if you do not look Japanese. Try to get one of the window seats on the top floor if possible, although the entire inside is gorgeous.

We order a wood-fired pizza, salad, and the Sachibaru set meal, which is a vegetarian teishoku: it usually comes as miso/asa/tofu soup, tenpura, purple rice, pickles, umibudou, fruit, jimami tofu, konbu/konnyaku side dish, some kind of leafy green and peanut sauce, and sweetened barley. It may change a bit depending on the season, but the set meal is really so amazing. A must-try.


Sachibaru-no-niwa さちばるの庭 is the name of the gardens on the premise, and if you eat there you can enter the gardens for free. It is a very pleasant area to walk after lunch, however be sure to utilize their free bug spray during summer months.

Not only this, but it is reasonably priced! For the two of us it ends up to by ~3000円 since we do not hold back, but overall the quality is well worth this price.

I can never understand why gaikokujin insist on going to the low-quality and overly touristy restaurant in the area (I will not comment the name, but ask any gaijin about “food with a view in southern Okinawa” and they will probably mention something about “thai in the sky,” a place I highly do not recommend!) when such a wonderful place like Yama-no-chaya exists!

Address: 〒901-0604 沖縄県南城市玉城字玉城2-1

BONUS: Hamabe-no-chaya pictures. This place shares the same parking lot as its sister restaurant, so just copy & paste the same address into google maps. You can sit inside or outside, or even on the rooftop tables. Here you will be closer to the beach.