On a rainy day, I headed out to Sueyoshi shrine located within the Sueyoshi park 末吉公園 in Naha near the Shuri area.
There are a few parking areas; I parked in the larger parking area, off of rt 82 here. There is also another parking lot by the Mori-no-ie MinMin 森の家みんみん community center, but it is also located next to a nice open area where the elder people play bocce ball or gateball so it might be crowded. These parking spots are at the OPPOSITE end of the park from the shrine, so if you only want to visit the shrine, drive to just north of the park, where there is a small area you can park in. However, I decided to enjoy a nice walk through the park today.
Despite the drizzle, it was a nice day to walk around. There are many inner paths weaving through the forested area and crossing the stream. Most of the paths are easy to follow, but some are a bit slippery. There are a few historical markers to check out along the way too, in both Japanese and English. This park is especially known for the fireflies (hotaru 蛍, ホタル) during May-July! Well, right now it is autumn, so obviously, none for me today. There were also plenty of places to have a nice picnic or rest; tables and benches seemed to pop up all over the park. And there were trash bins and toilets convenient in a few areas. I also noticed (despite the rain) a guy and his kid with bug-catching nets, so the wildlife is plentiful considering it is in the city.
At the community center, I picked up a paper map, though it was not terribly useful but combined with my phone GPS I was able to get around okay, just matching the “park sites” to google maps (the walking paths nor park sites are not labelled in google maps). The paper map got sufficiently crumpled by the end of my “hike.”
I made my way to the shrine; warning it was a descent into the park and then a decent slope upwards, some stairs, etc, so it was not exactly a leisurely stroll. It was not terribly strenuous, but I did burn some calories. Up at the shrine, there was an old man manning the booth for omamori and fortunes (and bottled drinks), and another old man sweeping. Then inside the shrine there was another older man assisting with prayer. Honestly, this was much busier than I expected! It was peaceful and quiet though small, and had gorgeous views over Naha (I climbed higher than I realized getting up there). The original shrine was destroyed in WWII during the Battle of Okinawa, and was restored in the 1970s.
Afterwards, I walked around all the small areas for worshipping various local gods, and over to the Ginowan-Udun grave, the Ginowan-Udun mural, and eventually making my way through the wooded paths back to the parking area.
1. Don’t wear slippahs, wear real shoes with good grip. I fell on my okole after slipping on some slimey, mossy rocks.
2. Depending on the season, bring bug spray (maybe in winter you will not need it). It is usually a damp forest, a few mosquitoes are around, though it is not so bad compared to other places.
*A great place to stop afterwards for croissants is nearby! Kouign Croissant Bakery: クロワッサンの屋クイニー
photos on imgur link below (if you go to the site itself you can also see some of my commentary):
address for parking area: https://goo.gl/maps/FfVwcNG9CQN2
address for Mori-no-ie Minmin community center: https://goo.gl/maps/atfh1QWbZgP2
address for Sueyoshi Shrine: https://goo.gl/maps/13nVSyQ9oZt