When you hear the word “nostalgic”, what comes to mind?
Most people would probably associate it with a yearning for the past,
and the healing that comes with it. With this goal of “healing” in mind,
we now present to you a trip through time!
The entrance to this journey in time is a rural farm road,
excavated from the cliffs of the Southwestern part of Henna, Hidonbaru and Kagenaku.
It’s official name is “Hidon Farm Road”, but it’s common name is “Waitoui”,
taken from “wattetotta” in Japanese, which means “to break and take away.” For centuries,
the local villagers had to travel up and down steep mountain slopes,
but from 1932 to 1935 they joined together and used hoes and poles to cut away the rock
and form crossing roads. The towering walls of rock left on either side of these roads is a fascinating view!
When you glance above the rock walls, you can see Indian Floral rising above,
their roots dug deep into the rock, and mysterious scene from years long gone extends before you,
reminding you of the eternal ebb of time.
This 150 metre long cliff, with a max height of over 20 metres looks even larger compared
to the cars passing through!
This Waitoui road, built from the efforts of people now long gone, is still used frequently,
and is important to the villagers’ daily lives.
Next is “Gaara Bridge” inside the Katsuren Peninsula.
At first glance it seems like just an ordinary bridge, but when you go down the side stairs…
Amongst lush plants and greenery lies a beautiful arched stone bridge.
It was built in 1928 from trees cut from the mountain forest,
as a school route for children attending the Yonashirojinjo Middle School.
The bridge was originally built from wood,
but after heavy rains threatened to destroy and sweep away the bridge,
it was rebuilt from stone for the children’s safety.
This 5 metre high, 2 metre wide and 5 metre long stone bridge compresses under
the weight of people and cars passing through,becoming only more robust as time wanes one.
It’s structure is so impressive,
it’s even been studied by modern architectural researchers – yet more wisdom from our predecessors,
giving us guidance even now.
Next, let’s travel to the “Heshikiya Takino” on a small hill in Heshikiya.
Standing at only 70 metres high, it’s a relatively small hill,
but it’s said to have been made from a pile of dirt dug by village leader
Choubin Heshikiya in 1727 when his people were suffering from drought.
Near the top of the hill lies a monument and description dedicated to him.
It’s famous for it’s beautiful view stretching all the way from the Katsuren Peninsula to the Pacific Ocean.
Below you can see the US Military Base White Beach, beyond which stretches the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a scenic spot where, in addition to Uruma City’s various islands such as Henza Island
and Tsuken Island, you can even see Chinen Peninsula far in the distance!
On sunny days, it’s also the perfect spot for a romantic sunset view.
After descending a small hill from Heshikiya Takino,
suddenly a brick chimney appears amongst the green scenery.
This is a nationally designated cultural asset, the “Heshikiya Sugar Factory Ruins”.
The bright red brick contrasts beautifully with the surrounding greenery, making for a picturesque scene.
The Heshikiya Sugar Factory was built in 1940 by the Sataya Group (sugar manufacturers)
located in the Katsuren Heshikiya Area, who merged to create a their own co-owned sugar factory.
After the “Ten-Ten” Air Raids (raids by the United States on Okinawa during the Pacific War)
the factory was forced to stop manufacturing, and lost two of their three chimneys to attacks from U.S. forces.
The factory’s surface, marred by gun bullets, tells a story of Okinawa’s hardships and misery during the war,
and even now the chimney quietly tells of it’s history.
This factory, which has stood watch over the Katsuren Peninsula for over half a sentury is filled a sense of nostalgia.
The Katsuren Peninsula is filled with places where you can listen to the thoughts
and history of the many people before us. Lose yourself in the flow of time,
and enjoy the “time slip” trip of a life time. Actually, the day we went to gather material was rainy and grey.
That rain made the moss glow greenish blue, and every drop became a portal to a different world.
Even on rainy days, the scenery is breathtaking.
Location/ Okinawa Prefecture Uruma City Katsuren Heian
Location / Okinawa Prefecture Uruma City Uchima
Location/ Okinawa Uruma City Katsuren Heshikiya 3483
Heshikiya Sugar Factory Ruins
Location / Okinawa Prefecture Uruma City Katsuren Heshikiya