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Okinawa Japan photography group featuring unique pictures of Okinawa
Topping the list of “things to do” while on Iriomote Island for most visitors is a trip up the Urauchi River. The longest river in Okinawa running a total length of 39km and colored a muddy brown the scenery along the banks is naturally spectacular.
Boat tours can be easily booked at most hotels or through travel agents. A trip up the Urauchi river first passes under the Urauchi bridge then reveals a subtropical rainforest complete with the twisting, winging branches of the sakishimasuo trees. There are also ample opportunities to see some of the wild life and do some bird watching.
The highlight of most trips up The Urauchi River however are the waterfalls and rapids, particularly Maryudo waterfall and Kanbire waterfall which are about a 30 minute walk from the sightseeing boat through the forest. So whatever you’re looking in a nature trip this experience has a little bit of it all.
Known on Iriomote Island as “the place where God sits.” This seemingly religious title relates back to creation myth of the island. The story says the God of Iriomote invited the God of Japan to this very spot, making this part of the river a sacred place.
Totaling a length of 200 meters and 50 meters wide Kanpiree Waterfall descends in stages. The water flows fast over the sand rock of the river bed here and shoots up in a white mist at the bottom. The mist can be quite refreshing on a hot Okinawa summers day after walking through the jungle to get here.
The only waterfall in Okinawa to be selected for the list of “the top 100 waterfalls in Japan.” Mayudo Waterfall is in the center of the Iriomote Island, up the Urauchi River. The falls has a height of about 16 meters and descends the river in three stages.
The get to Mayudo Waterfall you must first pass Kanpiuree Waterfall. The trail through the jungle first leads visitors to an observation platform allowing the falls to be viewed in their entirety. Continue walking down the trail for about 10 minutes more and it is possible to have an up close and personal experience with the cascading water. Legend has it that a large alligator lives in falls and will eat anyone who pollutes the river so be sure to take out what you bring into the jungle.