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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|
|Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?||Check here|
If you want to stay connected during your stay in Japan, you can purchase an 8, 16 or 31-day Japanese SIM card for your phone. As long as your order is at least 1 week in advance, it can be delivered to your hotel.
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
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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
|Day Hike Essentials||Why?|
|Appropriate footwear & socks||Less likely to injure yourself & more comfortable|
|Portable battery pack & wire||To charge your electronic devices|
|Water (0.5L per hour roughly)||To keep yourself hydrated throughout the hike|
|Food||Preferably lightweight but healthy snacks|
|Trail Directions||Phone/GPS device, compass or paper map|
|Mobile OR satellite phone||Helpful in emergencies to call for help|
|Clothing layers||To put on or remove based on changes in weather|
|Hat||To prevent sunstroke or keep warm|
|Sunglasses||To see better without squinting all day|
|First aid kit||To solve minor injuries along the way|
|Multi-tool||Multiple uses for multiple problems|
|Illumination||Torch or phone light to navigate in the dark|