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Hiji Falls on Okinawa Island & hiking the tropical forest path

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Hiji Waterfall (also known as Hijio Falls) is a tall waterfall in Yanbaru National Park in Okinawa. In order to reach this picturesque waterfall you will need to walk 15 to 20 minutes along a well-maintained boardwalk trail.

This is a hugely popular tourist attraction that many people visit during their time on the island. It’s one of the top waterfalls in Okinawa and is most definitely worth a visit if you enjoy natural attractions and being outdoors. This waterfall hike has a little bit of everything!

If you want to see the tallest waterfall in Okinawa, head to Iriomote Island for Pinaisara Falls.

You may not be able to swim in the pool beneath the falls but it is certainly pleasing to the eye and worth the trek up each of the jungle staircases.

Although it’s one of the favourite waterfall hikes on the island, you will be unlikely to see many other hikers along the trail. It is located in a quiet area and especially during the summer months, this is not the most pleasant place to hike in the peak of humidity.

I would rate this as a moderate hike simply for the fact that there are so many staircases and the weather is often so hot in Okinawa.

Country:Japan
Currency:Japanese Yen / JPY
Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?Check here

Want to stay connected during your trip? You can purchase a Japanese SIM card for 8, 16 or 31 days and have it delivered to your accommodation.


Wooden staircases on the way to Hiji Falls through the forest

Hiji Falls & Hike Stats

Length of Trail:

1.8 km (1.1 miles) one way / 3.6 km (2.2 miles) round trip

Time to Complete:

20 minutes one way / 40 minutes return

Height of Waterfall:

26 metres tall

Check out the other waterfalls in the area:

Plus why not try hiking Mt Katsu if you have the time too?


Large rocks and a small clear water pool in the forest
a flat forest trail on the way to a waterfall in Japan

Location of Hiji Waterfall in Okinawa

Entrance Location: 781-1 Hiji, Kunigami, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-1413, Japan

Hiji Falls (also known as Hijio Falls) is located roughly 20 km north of Nago in the Kunigami District on the main Island of Okinawa.

The waterfall is tucked away in the Yanbaru National Park in the northern part of the Island and is best reached by car. That’s not to say you couldn’t reach the falls by public transport, but you would have to walk for a significant amount of time to reach the destination after reaching the closest bus stop.

Arriving by Car

Providing you are above the legal driving age in Japan and have a full licence and IDP, you should have no trouble renting a car in Okinawa. By renting a car you have the ability to travel on your own schedule and can drive all the way to the falls’ car park.

Should you need to rent a car, you can take a look at the company I have personally used for my own trips, below:

300*250 RentalCars English

Parking

For those arriving by car, you’ll be pleased to know there is a good amount of parking spaces for visitors (around 12 if I remember correctly). Depending on the time of day and day of the week you arrive, depends on how many of these spaces are available.

As with many tourist destinations, it can often be beneficial to arrive earlier than later in the day. This gives you more chance to guarantee a parking space. Plus, the weather in Okinawa is often very hot by midday, so the earlier you get there, the earlier you can leave without getting too hot!


signpost in front of foliage showing the way to Hiji waterfall in Okinawa

Opening Times & Ticket Cost of Hiji Falls

The park in Okinawa where you’ll find Hiji Falls has different opening times depending on the time of year. During the summer season, between April and October, the park is open from 9 am – 4 pm.

During the winter months from November to March, the park is open instead from 9 am – 3 pm.

Since it can take up to 20 minutes to walk the trail in either direction, the last admission is usually 1 hour before closing time so you have just enough time to get in, see Hiji Falls and get back out before they shut down for the evening.

Ticket cost

Adults: 500 JPY (£2.75)

Child (under 15): 300 JPY (£1.65)

Check out some of my favourite waterfalls around the world:


Hiji waterfall in Okinawa cascading down into a deep pool
slanded cliff faces underneath a flat boardwalk trail leading down some steps in yanbaru national park near Hiji Falls

What to Expect at Hiji Waterfall in Okinawa

After parking your car and paying for your entrance ticket, you will need to walk around 20 minutes to reach the waterfall.

You’ll start off in a park with some wooden platforms where visitors sometimes sit and rest. There will be public restrooms and some vending machines by the entrance too if you get any cravings. Please make sure to have cash on you as these machines do not accept cards.

This trail will take you along a variation of forest paths on your journey to Hiji Waterfall. You’ll walk up wooden staircases, along suspension bridges and down small hills. There is also one flat section near the start of the trail where you can get into the river for a paddle. This is the only safe place to do so in the park and it is signposted.

After rainfall, these boardwalks can be very slippery so it is worth using the handrails if you need to. Please use caution. These are some of the main dangers of hiking in this area.

You’ll find some parts of the trail are much more narrow than others so you might have to use your hands to move the trees and branches out of your way. This walk along the side of the river sums up the majority of the forest walks in Okinawa until you reach Hiji Waterfall at the end. The thick foliage and wildlife you find are also seen all across the island.

The viewpoints

There are a few different viewpoints for you to enjoy the river view and the final viewpoint is by Hiji Waterfall. The viewpoints are not necessarily signposted, but you won’t be able to miss them.

Each one has a clear opening in the trees and a slightly bigger space on a wooden deck than the rest of the trail. Each of them is strategically set up in an area where the view is a little more interesting.

Luckily, if you don’t stop to take any photos on the way down to Hiji Waterfall, you’ll be heading back out on the same path to take pictures of anything you missed!

wooden bench facing a river below a short walk away from Hiji waterfall in Okinawa

Amenities near Hiji Falls

Near the entrance, you will find vending machines that only accept cash (pictured below) and some public restrooms. These are the only ones you will have access to along the trail so this is your first (and last) opportunity to get refreshments and use the facilities before your 40-minute round-trip hike.

In the park, you will find a few places to sit down in the picnic and seating area which is just a few minutes away from the entrance. The next places you will find to take a seat are the occasional bench scattered along the trail in the forest.

Be aware: Much of the hiking trail is not wheelchair or pushchair accessible.

3 vending machines

Don’t forget to get travel insurance to cover you if something bad happens. One company I have personal experience with is Safety Wing. Not everyone needs the same coverage, so make sure you get a personalised quote that suits you and your trip plans.


Safety tips on visiting Hiji Falls

Stay on the marked trail.
There are barriers and signs keeping you on the trail. Some parts of the river are steep and dangerous.

Do not climb on the rocks
Many of the boulders and rocks are slippery and hazardous so if you climb them you could end up falling and getting injured.

Be careful on the boardwalk
The trail can become slippery but it can also be dangerous in some places. Parts of the trail are up steep cliffs where there is only a rope instead of a guard rail. Please supervise your children.

Don’t touch the wildlife
You will likely see native spiders and other wildlife that live in the area. Some are dangerous so it’s best that you leave them alone.

Have you been to Hiji Falls? What did you think?

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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