Hiji Falls allows visitors the opportunity to see Okinawa's natural habitat. So much of Okinawa is built up that sometimes it is easy to forget that it is a semi tropical rain forest environment.
The hike to Hiji Falls is about 1.7 kilometres and although, the brochure estimates the time it will take as just 35 to 40 minutes this depends on the age and fitness levels of walkers. If you are walking with children or just want to spend some time admiring the surrounding nature then budget 3 or 4 hours for the round trip. The path is well maintained with stairs and walkways throughout. This makes it possible for almost anybody to walk but be warned, there are many stairs going both up and down in both directions. Children as young as two walk the path but you will often see weary parents carrying little ones up endless stairs. The path follows the river through thick jungle. Therefore, you can spot numerous small pools and rapids as well as wildlife such as lizards, birds, butterflies and snakes. The path is very protected so even on windy days it can get stifling hot. However, dense foliage does protect hikers from direct sun.
Near the beginning of the path, there is a spot in the river where you can enter the water for a swim to cool off either at the beginning or at the end of your walk.
At the halfway point of the hike, there is a 50-metre suspension bridge 17 metres above the river gorge below. The falls themselves are 25.7 metres tall and quite lovely. There are rocks around the area where most people will have lunch or at least a snack. There are “no swimming” signs all around the falls area. Most people ignore the signs and can’t resist a dip in the refreshingly cold water. The rocks are slippery and the water at the base of the falls is deep with strong currents. So take care and realise that you are swimming at your own risk.
At the entrance of the hike to the falls is a camping area where you can camp overnight for ¥2000 per tent per night. There are also pay showers, a BBQ area, tables and chairs.
From Kyoda Expressway exit travel north on Route 58. After crossing the river in Okuma turn right. It is the same road as the one leading to JAL Private Resort Okuma but the opposite direction. Look for Hiji Falls on the right hand side of the road.
From Nago Bus Terminal take bus number 67 to Okuma Beach Mae Bus Stop. Hiji Falls is a 10 minute walk from the bus stop.