So what else is there to do on Ie Island besides the Lily Festival? Lots of beautiful sites!
Our first stop was Waji, which means spring, is located on the north side of the island, not far from the lily fields. Spring water is produced here and back in the day people used to come here to fetch water. But after the war, water pipes were installed by the US forces which made things convenient (people didn't have to come grab water everyday) and solved the water shortage problem on the island.
The main draw here is the view! The 60 meter bluff right along the gorgeous ocean is a wonderful site.
After Waji, we drove to the south side of the island to check out the Nyatiya-gama cave.
Our next stop was Nyatiya-gama Cave.
We went down the stairs through greenery into the cave. This cave is also referred to as the Sennin-gama which loosely translates to "The Cave of 1000 People". This is because it was used as a bomb shelter and housed over 1000 Okinawans during the war.
Once inside this pretty grotto, there are spots of sunlight shining through and holes where you can catch views of the turquoise ocean.
Inside the cave there is also a "pregnancy/fertility stone"; also referred to as the Bijiru-ishi (holy stone). The stone is believed to have a living god inside and it's believed that female infertility can be cured by holding it up. In addition, it's also believed that it can determine the gender of a newborn. It's a boy if the stone feels heavy for the woman picking it up, and a girl if it feels light. #goodtoknow
Next stop on Ie Island - Mt. Gusuku (城山 Gusuku-yama, Tatchuu (sharp object)). This is the only mountain on the island and rises 172 m (565 ft). It's historically served as a landmark for sailors since you can see it from a distance and the mountain is considered sacred to the locals.
Next to Mt. Gusuku, there's an abandoned building that was the old municipal pawn shop. During World War II, Ie Island had heavy shelling but the pawnshop was the only building to maintain it's original shape. You can still see numerous bullet holes and shell markings. This was made a historical landmark on the island to help remind future generations about the horrors of war.
Driving around the south side of the island towards GI Beach we also saw the Ernie Pyle Memorial. Ernie Pyle was a Pulitzer Price winning journalist from World War II. His reports were read buy millions of Americans and he was known by the troops because he would get down in the trenches with the military and write from their point of view. He made sure he got their names and hometowns right of hte men he was covering. During one of the battles on Okinawa he was hit by a sniper. The Army unit he was covering erected a monument in the spot he was killed because he was so beloved.
Our final stop and a great way to end the day was GI beach; located on the south side of the island, not far from the Nyatiya cave. It has about 100 m of sparkling white sand and turquoise waters. It almost feels like your own private beach and is very peaceful #score #beachlife
We then headed back to port to wait for the next ferry. While waiting, there was a little shop at the ferry terminal with lots of options for drinks and some snacks. All in all, great day trip to Ie Island and a must if you're living on Okinawa!
Follow in our Footsteps:
Google Map Coordinates: 26.7331613,127.78961509999
〒905-0501, 552 Higashieue, Ie, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 905-0501, Japan
(also can hike this. It's short and steep - takes around 20-30 mins)
Higashieue, Ie, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0501, Japan
Ernie Pyle Memorial
Kawahira, Ie, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0503, Japan
1347 Kawahira, Ie, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 905-0503, Japan
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!