The largest resort area on Okinawa’s main island is the west coast. This coast is part of the Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park. In the south is Onna Village, and in the north is the city of Nago. It is a beautiful coastline fringed with craggy coral. The coast includes Cape Manzamo, a precipitous cliff shaped like an elephant’s trunk. It is one of Okinawa’s preeminent sights. The top of the 20-meter elephant’s trunk cliff gives beautiful views of the East China Sea.
Since it is an elevated part of the coast, it is also famous for sunsets.
A symbolic natural formation not found anywhere else in Okinawa.
Tip of Cape Manzamo. The lawn on the cliff 20 meters above sea level has natural grass. The cliff has a 10-minute walking trail affording great views of the west coast.
After entering the walking trail, you can see on the left (west side) the “elephant’s trunk.” The unusual rock formation with a huge hole looking like an elephant’s trunk is an unforgettable sight of Okinawa.
The color of the East China Sea can range from emerald green to cobalt blue, depending on the time of day. The tranquil ocean is just so beautiful.
You can understand why it is such a famous scenic spot.
Of course, sunsets on the west coast are also impressive.
Check the sunset time before visiting.
Grand view of the west coast from a 20-meter-high precipice.
With the elephant’s trunk behind you, if you walk further, you will see another different grand view.
The cape’s dynamic, rocky face reveals a variety of features.
In the distance on the right, you can see the rich greenery of the Motobu Peninsula in Yanbaru.
On clear days, you can see Iejima island’s Tatchu mountain above the ocean 20 km up north.
On the latter part of the walking trail, looking eastward across the cape is the white-sand Manza Beach and the white ANA Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort. They are a striking contrast against the deep-blue ocean.
In the ocean right before you are two rocks next to each other. They are the Wedded Rocks. One is dedicated to Sho Kannon and the other to Jibo Mother Kannon (called “Tobera” in Onna Village).
Cape Manzamo trivia such as the origin of the name, natural monuments, and plant life.
The name “Manzamo” originated from what the Ryukyuan King Sho Kei said when he visited this place: “A field where 10,000 people can sit.” “Manzamo” consists of kanji characters meaning “10,000,” “sit,” and “open field.”
The vegetation growing along the Ryukyuan limestone is designated as a Natural Monument of Okinawa Prefecture. They include species endemic to Cape Manzamo such as Zoysia pacifica grass, Heliotropium foertherianum, Pandanus odoratissimus, Viola utchinensis, and Phyllanthus leptoclados.
One more thing. Northward of Cape Manzamo (the left side when you face the ocean) is the “backside” of Cape Manzamo. There isn’t anything special unless you’re a fisherman, but there is a totally different view from the “front” side. If you have the time and interest, ask a souvenir shop for directions. It might be fun.
So how do you like it so far?
Besides the “elephant’s trunk,” the west coast offers grand views.
Do come and see for yourself. Okinawa’s major tourist sight and quintessential attraction.
- In the afternoon, the elephant's trunk is backlit by the sun, making it unsuitable to photograph. Therefore, visiting in the morning is best!
- Nabee Beach and Manza Beach nearby offer a variety of marine activities. With a water scooter, etc., you can see Cape Manzamo from the ocean.
- Be aware that it is always crowded in front of the "elephant's trunk." You may have to wait your turn to photograph it. To beat the crowds, going early in the morning is better.
To take nice shots of Cape Manzamo, using a C-PL polarizing filter is recommended. Since it reduces the water reflections, you can capture the dramatic sea bottom as well. The best time to shoot is from morning to noon!
- Spot name(Ja)
- 2870-1 Onna, Onna-son, Okinawa
- 098-966-1280 (Onna Village Commerce and Tourism Section)
- Parking lot