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Mt Katsuudake (Mt Katsu): One Of The Best Views On Okinawa Island

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Mt Katsuudake (also known as Mt Katsu / Mt Katsuu and used interchangeably) is a hilly peak in Okinawa, Japan. It is located on Okinawa’s biggest island and is one of the best hikes in the area.

What’s great about this hike in particular is that it doesn’t take very much effort to complete. It is a short and quick climb to the top of the peak without burning too much energy and the reward is unmatched.

There really is nothing better than a hike that doesn’t take very long but gives you fantastic views from the top. From the peak, you’ll get to see across all of Nago City and the surrounding coastline coloured with multiple shades of blue.

You’ll find lizards, banana spiders, butterflies and more along this trail that takes you to one of the best views on the big island. If you go at night, watch out for the deadly Habu’s that come out after dark.

Currency:Japanese Yen / JPY
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When you need to transfer money or check exchange rates during your overseas trip, consider using Wise. They have competitive rates and make exchanging foreign funds easy. I’ve been using them since 2015.

grassy steps along the start of the trail up Mt Katsu
The steps at the start of the trail from the car park
Stone steps along the Mt Katsuudake trail in okinawa
Stone steps about 5 minutes into the hiking trail

Trail Stats of Mt Katsuu

Length of Trail:

1.4 km (0.86 miles)

Time to Complete:

30 minutes one way / one-hour round trip

Elevation Gain:

148 m

The peak and view from Mt Katsu
The view from the peak of the mount

Location of Mt Katsu

Parking Location: Nago, Okinawa 905-0003, Japan

Mt Katsu itself is located on the west side of Okinawa Island near Nago City. It is situated in the middle of the island and about 1 hour and 15 minutes drive away from Naha City.

You can only reach the trailhead for Mt Kastuudake by car. It is hidden away in the dense forest and along a few narrow roads that don’t allow for public transport.

If you have your IDP and a full driving licence you should be able to rent a car during your time in Okinawa. It’s relatively easy to rent a car here, but you do need to book early to avoid disappointment. It’s a popular destination! Check out the rental car company I used during my most recent visit to the islands:

300*250 RentalCars English

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.

The car park near the trailhead of the Mt Katsuudake trail
The car park near the start of the trail


There is a huge car park available for visitors to take advantage of at the trailhead of Mt Katsu. Although there are no lines to identify the parking spaces, it is easy to find somewhere to park safely. There is enough space to easily park 30-35 vehicles but there would never be a situation where that many cars are there on the same day.

You should make sure to drive slowly and carefully because the road is made of gravel. If you drive too quickly you could push rocks up towards your car windows and cause damage.

Need some more inspiration for the outdoors on your trip to Okinawa Island?

A flat forest trail on the Mt Katsu hike
Part of the flat trail with orange and pink markers along the way

What To Expect On the Mt Katsuu Hike?

The Mt Katsu Trail

From the car park, you’ll find a small staircase in the corner near the restrooms that leads you through the forest. You’ll find yourself going up only a few minutes before it levels out flat again.

Because of how dense this forest is, you’ll find yourself in shade pretty much the entire way until you reach the peak.

You’ll walk through a wide clearing on the forest trail and down on your left side you’ll see quite a large underground cave. If you continue walking straight along the path you’ll eventually reach an area that looks hard to pass. This is because you will need to scramble and climb over the rocks.

Please note: Even on a dry day, this trail on Mt Katsuu can be slippery due to all of the mud.

As you progress along the trail there is only one direction you can travel in as there are not many other trails in the area. If you are concerned about getting lost, however, you will be pleased to know there are trail markers the entire length of the trail.

You’ll see some ribbons and plastic tags around trees and in the foliage. These are typically orange and pink so they cannot be missed.

Me at the peak of the hiking trail in Okinawa
Me at the top of the mount next to the peak pole

The Mt Katsuudake Peak

After just 25 minutes you’ll find yourself coming out of the forest to the first glimpse of a stunning view to your left side. Ahead of you are some rocks that you will need to climb over in order to get to the peak (pictured below). As you can see you are officially outside of the forest trail and only a few feet from the summit of this large hill.

Once you get over the final hump (literally) you will see the large pole which signifies the peak with the name of the mount along with the elevation.

What’s so great about this hike is you can see for miles once you reach the top. The view is truly rewarding considering it only takes 25 minutes to get there.

Final part of the Mt Katsu hiking trail
Part of the trail leads from the forest up to the peak for the final few feet.
View of the jungle below on Mt Katsuu
The view over the tropical forest from the peak

Safety Tips

Wear appropriate shoes
Much of the trail is not well maintained and you will need to climb over rocks. By having appropriate footwear you’re likely to have a better grip without losing your footing.

Bring water
Okinawa is tropical which means it is hot and humid. This means you should bring enough water to stay hydrated for the duration of your Mt Katsuudake hike.

Check the weather
Much of the hiking trail is muddy and not well-kept, so if it rains, this could become more treacherous. Plus it can be very windy at the peak which could be dangerous.

This is a very short hike (under 2 hours) so you likely don’t need to pack as many items to take with you. The main one is water due to the extreme heat if you plan on hiking in summer.

If you’re unsure what else to take with you on a typical day hike, check out this downloadable packing list below.

Me at the peak of Mt Katsuudake
Me sitting on a rock over the peak and the coastline

When To Visit Mt Katsuudake?

As this hiking trail is on an unrestricted hill, there are no closing times. This means it is technically open 24 hours a day.

Depending on the type of experience you are looking for during your hike, depends on the time of day you should aim for.

For example, If you want to see the sunrise from the peak, you should aim to have your car parked and start the hike about 45 minutes – 1 hour before the sun rises.

If you want to see the sunset from the peak, you should aim to be parked and hiking between 45 minutes – 1 hour before the sun sets.

Need to check the sunrise and sunset times before your Mt Katsuu hike? Check out this website.

Have you hiked Mt Katsu yet?

Do you think sunrise or sunset is the best time to visit? Let me know your thoughts below.

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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