パワースポット power spot: a “spiritual” spot, a place to refresh your mind, soul, and body. Many people believe that coming to these spots can sort of gain a spiritual power or energy within you. Some people also visiting these spots will imbue you with luck. There are many in Japan, especially in shrine or temple areas. So of course, in Okinawa we have quite a few. There are many small ones hidden around the island, but here are some of the more well-known places where you can power up. Just remember, these sites are considered sacred, so please treat with respect if you visit them.
Many of these power spots are also “utaki” 御嶽, a Ryukyuan term for “sacred place,” oftentimes a water spring, mountain, woods, cave, etc.
- Seifa Utaki 斎場御嶽: This is the location that the goddess Amamikiyo appeared after creating it. https://goo.gl/maps/sf1sEBoD7Vy
- Island of the Gods, Kudaka-jima 久高島: A short ferry ride away, this is considered a holy place and is where the goddess Amamikiyo first created the Ryukyu Kingdom. Take the ferry from Azama Sun-sun Beach. https://goo.gl/maps/mictMYUN5U32
- Gangala Valley ガンガラーの谷: limestone cave. https://goo.gl/maps/Goxb4RNErUk
- Shuri-jo 首里城: there are many utaki and other power spots concentrated within the grounds of Shuri-jo (castle) park. https://goo.gl/maps/qit4op7Edkn
- Shuri, Kincho stone pavement area, Big Akagi (acacia) tree 首里金城町の大アカギ: This tree survived the Battle of Okinawa, and is considered to be full of energy, a tree that a god descended from during the Ryukyu Kingdom era. https://goo.gl/maps/TsAKvi3J2GM2
- Hamahiga-jima 浜比嘉島: connected by bridge. Especially visit Amamichuu tomb (god that created the Ryukyu islands). https://goo.gl/maps/wRFVQZ4JwVL2
- “Happy Cliff” (actual name Kafuu-banta 果報バンタ): on grounds of the Nuchi-unaa (also called Nuchi-maasu) salt factory on Miyagi-jima connected by bridge. https://goo.gl/maps/tNx8dy8h4cQ2
- Nakagusuku Castle ruins 中城城跡: https://goo.gl/maps/SeEWW7tgTsw
- Futenma Shrine Cave: https://goo.gl/maps/jmWZaXs66q72
- Tera 渡口のテラ: located in Toguchi, Kitanakagusuku. The meaning of “tera” is the seat of a god; it is a small stone structure, which upon seeing it, makes you think it must be a shrine though it appears unremarkable. https://goo.gl/maps/y8buTrFYHjP2
- Dai Sekirinzan Park 大石林山: far up north in Yanbaru. Very popular spiritual power spot. https://goo.gl/maps/Y4DVwhYcats
- Kouri-jima 古宇利島, island of love: especially the “heart rocks,” connected by bridge. https://goo.gl/maps/8mwFDRjuN232
- Mount Gusuku 城山 (also called Tatchuu タッチュー in Kunigami area Okinawan language): Ie-jima 伊江島, a short ferry ride. Take the ferry from Motobu Port. https://goo.gl/maps/2sb2mcz43952
- Warii-banta ワリーバンタ: also called Bise no Warumi 備瀬のワルミ in Bise 備瀬 near the Aquarium. Unfortunately this place has been bought up by a private buyer, and it is unclear whether it will remain open to the public as of right now it is fenced off. https://goo.gl/maps/MwACDShbMvy
- Taataki ター滝 (English names: Taa waterfall, Tataki Falls): I hesitate to list this one, as the trek to get there can be a bit treacherous, and there have been accidents in the past. At another waterfalls trekking location (Aha Tanagaa-gumui 安波のタナガーグムイ), there was recently the death of a young military member. So please use caution if you decide to try to get here, and especially do not go during/after heavy rain– so many people have had to been rescued at these locations because they do not realize how quickly the water level rises. It might even be possible closed off for the time being, as the town/prefecture is concerned for public safety in these areas. https://goo.gl/maps/xqfMpcENehK2
- Shiokawa (salt river): An unusual water source, a salty spring. It is uncertain the mechanism that allows this water source to be salty. I heard there are only 2 places in the world like this, the other one being in Puerto Rico. https://goo.gl/maps/Ltk5Y8VYN1T2
Now, I may not particularly subscribe to the concept of “power spots,” but there is no doubt a refreshing energy you gain simply by visiting the beautiful outdoors in Okinawa. Many of these places have beautiful views with plentiful greenery, located outside the concrete jungle of the main island. Why not try visiting some of these spots while in Okinawa and see for yourself if they rejuvenate you. Or perhaps you will find a “power spot” of your not on this list.
*I will update with some of the “smaller” lesser known power spots soon.
As a side note, there are also “haunted spots,” sort of the opposite of “power spots,” known as 心霊スポット shinrei supotto (“ghost/spirit spots”)… perhaps I will make a list of some of these in Okinawa some time.