Cape Kyan: The Southernmost End of Okinawa, or Quietude in Okinawa

Cape Kyan3

I always hear the traditional Okinawan folk music some place nearby when I’m at work. It sounds peaceful, solemn, oracular. I know somewhere in this island, some of the locals are either kneeling or bowing down their heads to honor spirits. When the new year starts, the rests of the world light fireworks while Japan welcomes it with quiet worships to shrines, temples, or even domestic. The poets are writing haikus as another New Year tradition. Cities of Okinawa may be flourishing with modernity, exposed with American influences, or bustling with their daily work, but there is a definite serenity in the air. There’s an old woman sitting down on a bench, looking at trees or the green grass at the park. There’s a kid rolling his bike’s wheels down the streets. There’s noodles boiling on the stove waiting to be served in just a few minutes. A Japanese girl is giggling, barely laughing. They’re conservative, reserved, and polite.  It is considered rude to play loud music in public. Except during festivals, or when thundering taiko drums are booming by its beats and the performers yell out “Ha ii yah”. Even then, it’s something of a ritual. Okinawan traditions are still in tact, and continues in a routine basis. The true Okinawa lifestyle can never stripped from it. The slippers are left on the doorsteps, bare feet touching the wooden floors. The old will remain. The leaves of the trees in the jungle areas will continually sing with the wind. That sound of Okinawan instrument, sanshin, plays fluidly with the nature’s sounds.  There really is a certain tranquility feel enveloping this island.

Naha and Nago are in opposite ends of Okinawa. There are definite comparisons to both, but they are not completely opposite. One can experience both sides of the spectrum in each end.

1422519_10151984762288578_2054182370_n- Cape Hedo, NORTH END -

Nago (North) is much closer to nature while Naha (South) is more concreted.

Naha city- NAHA (South), the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture -

This is much to what Japan is about. It’s a land of juxtaposition, a country of great contrasts.

After having so much fun during our spontaneous joyride adventure to Cape Hedo, the northernmost end, it was only a matter time that I explored a planned trip to Cape Kyan, the southernmost tip of Okinawa. The irony couldn’t be any funnier. Our serendipitous exploration to Cape Hedo was smooth while our planned trip to Cape Kyan turned out to be a series of disastrous mistakes. To cut the story short, we had a map but we just couldn’t find make our way there. It was an adventure nonetheless. Although, it really worried me that we may not find it in time. The sun was starting to set. The cloud was getting gloomier. Luck did find us and we rolled to a stop before everything gotten dark.

Cape Kyan 5

Cape Kyan9

Cape Kyan7Cape Kyan8

Even though it was planned, none of us really knew what we were going to expect to see when we got there. Due to time constriction, we didn’t get to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was within our sight. So close! We particularly got to Gushikawa Castle Ruins. Instead of the lighthouse, we saw small caves.

Cape Kyan6

Last Calls …

This side of a more tranquil Naha shares a grim historical part of the Battle of Okinawa. Some of the final bouts of Battle of Okinawa took place here, and where many Japanese soldiers and civilian jumped off the cliff committing suicide.

Cape Kyan

- Cape Kyan -

Battle of Okinawa

- Taken from Battle of Okinawa Memorial Site -

I can almost hear quietude screaming its lungs out.

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Further Reading

Cape Hedo: The Northernmost End of Okinawa

Peace Memorial Museum in Okinawa

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46 thoughts on “Cape Kyan: The Southernmost End of Okinawa, or Quietude in Okinawa

  1. So good that you finally made it to your destination. Beautiful place of such sad history.
    The difference of the quiet there vs the noise in our US cities is wonderful. We are a nation of such noise and people don’t stop to listen to the true beauty of nature all around them.

    • Sometimes, I really question that. I partied when I was younger. I celebrate from time to time. But really, a lot of people in the US, their equation for having a good time is partying and drinking, and all material things. I just don’t get it.
      Japanese like to keep their reputation by not being obnoxious.

  2. Wow!! Honored to be your featured blog of the week!! Many, many thanks for the shout-out. I remember visiting the Battle of Okinawa site when I lived there as a kid. A very somber place. It was hard to believe then and now that something so terrible as a battle could happen in such a beautiful and calm area.

    • Weee! Just for the record, it’s not one of those award-chains. ;)

      It’s amazing though. After all the bombings during World War II, these sacred sites (utaki) in Okinawa didn’t get destroyed. Even the shrines esp. the one in Torii, and some some-100 years old banyan trees in the North that even up to now continues to stand today. It’s just cool to think about it.

    • WHOA! The US turned over Okinawa to their own in 1972. That should mean that Okinawa were still adjusting and were still just continuing to revive what they had then. It’s neat that you were there for that decade. It’s gotta beautiful then as it is now.

    • sorry, double post. i make a mistake. i know their feelings what they are going on after captured. but, if i were them, i would not do that. i don’t have such a courage to kill myself.

      • Somehow, those Japanese soldiers committing suicide turns out to be a honorable thing… somehow. It’s answering to their duties. The ones with civilians, esp. females, and nurses, those are really harrowing to think. They end their lives, really as victims, because of fear and misguided perceptions.

  3. “When the new year starts, the rests of the world light fireworks while Japan welcomes it with quiet worships to shrines, temples, or even domestic.”

    I like the way you put that. It is such a beautiful dichotomy.

    • Japan do celebrate New Year with a bang. :D But tradition still hasn’t died, the modern world is just adding things to their customs. They spend their New Year in quietude, going to shrines and temples, esp. here in Okinawa. Actually if you wikipedia Japanese New Year, Okinawa is used specifically as an example. ;)

  4. They say that’s what sets Japanese culture apart…even while they set foot into modernity, the air of homage to their traditions lingers as you similarly described it. I sense it every time I visit a Japanese home.

  5. You have described Japanese and its culture poetically. I always think Japanese are polite and disciplined (even with their closest friends) and they keep everything in good order, even when they celebrate festivals. Japanese food is carefully measured, remeasure, before they start making it. It’s easy to fall in fall with Japan, I did, and with great respect. I’m so happy you are enjoying Okinawa and appreciate their culture with an open mind.
    Great post! Thank you so much, Rommel!

  6. Gorgeous photos Rommel. I particularly love the simplistic way you describe the local culture. It brings life to your post and allows us to peer into Okinawa’s depths…beautifully written. :)

  7. gorgeous descriptive post both in words and photograhs, Rommel, especially your first paragraph…even a haiku magically appeared from your wonderful words.

    slippers, on doorsteps
    bare feet touching
    – the wooden floors

    thanks for sharing beautiful Okinawa. ☺

  8. Pingback: Memory Monday: Okinawa’s Gusuku « The Sophomore Slump

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