Tsuken Island (Carrot Island)

Many moons ago, Mark and I decided that we needed to venture out to Carrot Island, an island just a short ferry ride away. It's been one of those trips that we would put off for any given reason because of how close it was to our house. Today we went for it and it was a beautiful day to do so!

Ferry Kugani

The ferry leaves from Heshikiya Port, near white beach. There are three boats that can take you to and from, but only one that can transport vehicles. You really don't need a car, but if you'd like to bring a bicycle or any type of water equipment (paddle boards, kayaks, etc...) you'll want to take the Ferry Kugani.

The ride was quick, maybe 15-20 minutes, and painless... Unless, of course, you're a terrified little puppy that has never been on a boat before. Ha! Maylee had a rough trip over - shook like crazy all the way there! We tried to comfort her, but our efforts failed.

Once we docked, we just started walking. We knew of a Geocache so we headed in that general direction with plans to wrap around to the the carrot observatory and Tsuken Beach. On our way to the cache, we walked through so many farm fields! I can only assume that they all produce carrots in February, "Carrot Season." 

There wasn't much growing, but it was still beautiful scenery! Both of us really enjoyed the stroll and Maylee loved being outside on such a gorgeous day. We found the cache, too, which was a nice touch.

From there, we just kept walking. Finding the carrot observatory is easy because you can see an electrical tower from anywhere on the island and it's right beside the carrot! The village seems a little deserted, but I assume that it's because carrots aren't in season. 

The view from the observatory is gorgeous. You can easily spot White Beach, making it easy to lay eyes on other key areas along the coast. We chose to enjoy our packed lunches here and I highly recommend that you pack one, too. We did find two small convenient stores at the end of the afternoon, but options are limited so come prepared. Don't worry, there are still plenty of vending machines so you won't go thirsty!

We clearly were taking our time throughout the entire day, stopping whenever we found it necessary. There are a few restrooms, but I'd bring toilet paper or wipes because I don't think they stock them very often. They are squat toilets so prepare yourself for that, if needed (it was my first time using one - yes, I've avoided it for 2 years). 

You may read in other posts that there is a trail around the island, but it's not kept up and you can't really navigate through the foliage. We attempted to fight it and then decided it just wasn't worth it since we couldn't see anything except over grown forest. Also, there are big spiders and I wasn't excited about that... not one bit!

Along Tsuken Beach, there are two "motel" style lodging options, but it appears that they are closed during the off season. The outdoor accommodations can still be accessed, lending a great spot for you to take a break from your walking adventures or to set up camp for the night. 

I think it would be awesome to come to Tsuken Island with camping gear, including food, and make an entire day of it! The beach was quiet, clean, and gorgeous. It would also be a great place to put in your kayak or paddleboard. 

We had done all of the exploring that we wanted to do after about 2 hours so we headed back to the port. The ferry only leaves from Tsuken every three hours so Mark spotted a small tatami area inside. We set up camp for a short cat nap while we waited. Who doesn't love a quick nap?

One the way home, I decided to sit on the floor with Maylee with hopes of helping her with her anxiety about the ferry. It seemed to be working and she was laying on me looking over my shoulder. Then, as what I can only describe as, seasickness set in and our sweet girl threw up. There were some happy Japanese men that eagerly helped us get some kleenex to clean it up. Bless 'em!

Overall, even if you include Maylee's ferry experience, we had a great day exploring a part of Okinawa that we'd never seen before. I do wish that we were able to snag some carrots, but I guess that just means we'll have to make a quick trip back in February. 

Ferry Schedule
Leaving Heshikiya Port: 730am, 9am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm
 Leaving Tsuken Island: 8am, 10am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm (530pm 10/1-3/31)

Ticket Cost
One-way ticket:  from 630-780 Yen for adults, to 320-390 Yen for children
Round-trip tickets: from 1200-1490 Yen for adult, to 610-750 Yen for children
*Price depends on season


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