The population of Kudaka Island is around 270. There is an elementary and junior high school in the island, but the number of junior high school students is quite low, so a facility called “Kudakajima Ryugaku Center (Kudaka Island study center)” accepts junior high school students from all around Japan for them to study and experience life in a rural area.
Many of the houses in the village are old, but there are some modern apartments and buildings unlike other small islands of Okinawa, maybe because Kudaka Island is not so far from the main island of Okinawa and therefore they can get the materials easily.
I sometimes saw cats hanging around the village, which is a typical sight in the isolated island of Okinawa.
The sea around Tokujin Port, where ferries depart and arrive, is transparent and beautiful. There is a beach called Megi Beach (Megihama) next to Kudaka Port which is a short walk to the north from Tokujin Port. Megi Beach is maintained as a swimming beach, so people in Kudaka Island usually enjoy swimming at this beach. Of course, the end of January when I visited the island is too cold to swim, and I didn’t see anyone swimming at the beach.
After leaving the beach, I walked through a path surrounded by trees and passed through the village, and then I came across “Fukama Don” located near the edge of the village. This is an important place in the island for religious services which enshrines seven gods including Amamikiyo, the creator goddess who formed the land of Ryukyu. An event is held here on the former New Year day.
Minshuku (inn run by a local family) or restaurants gather around Tokujin Port. There are about three restaurants around Tokujin Port, and as I wanted to try irabu (sea snake), which is a specialty of Kudaka Island before leaving the island, I headed to “Parlor Sabani” before noon. Parlor Sabani is a cafe and restaurant (they also rent bicycles) located on the left side on the top of the slope leading from Tokujin Port.
I ordered “Irabu Nerikomi Soba (irabu mixed soba noddle, which is 1,100 yen).” Irabu (sea snake) is mixed in the noodle, and is also used in the soup. They also have “Irabu Iri Soba (soba noodle with chopped irabu meat, which is 1,600 yen)” and a famous “Irabu Soup,” but as this was my first time to try sea snake and I didn’t have the courage to eat sea snake meat, I decided to try irabu mixed soba noddle first.
Irabu mixed soba noodle had a little smell, and the taste was better than expected (bit stronger than normal Okinawa soba noodle). Tebichi (well-boiled pig’s feet) is placed on the top of the noodle.
Honestly speaking, the taste of normal Okinawa soba noodle is better for me, but it is said that irabu (sea snake) is effective for rejuvenation, so I could eat it everyday. Next time I visit Kudaka Island, I will definitely try the meat of sea snake.
After having finished the meal, enjoyed a hot tea served with the food and relaxed in the restaurant for a while, and then went outside to walk around the beaches near the port until the ferry departure time.
When relaxing in the nature of the small isolated island of Okinawa, I rarely feel stressed, although I get bored sometimes. Unfortunately I couldn’t feel the existence of gods while staying in Kudaka Island, which is called “the island of gods,” for two days, but I felt satisfied as I could refresh myself in the beautiful nature of the island. I boarded the ferry departing at 1:00 p.m. and left Kudaka Island. I will visit this island again in the future when I get tired of life in a big city.