Adventure Google Maps Aerial Reconnaissance In Okinawa?

Google Maps is an excellent starting point in finding things to do in Okinawa.

You may click around place to place, or even do a search for something you want to find such as "Okinawa beach". Searching for this term will undoubtedly bring up all the popular beaches in Okinawa to include Naminoue Beach in Naha, Araha Beach in Chatan, and many more options to choose from.

Naminoue Beach satellite view

But what if you want to find something to do near, let's say, Naminoue Beach? Well, you could click around on each item, such as Ryuchu, and read reviews on it before you visit.

Or, if you're the more adventurous type, you can switch to satellite view in Google Maps. This will unlock aerial reconnaissance mode, so to speak, a term coined by @Exposing_the_Light. This is often used by me for finding places to visit or to find some new Okinawa photography locations.

But for now, let's focus on Naminoue Beach: As you can see, if you zoom out a bit Google Maps' satellite view, you can see Asahigaoka Park. If you're into history, you can learn more about the 834 school children that perished during a WWII attempted evacuation of Okinawa at the Kozakura monument.

Alternatively, you can walk up to the hill where you see this odd circle and find out what it is.

Asahigaoka Park satellite view

Turns out, that it's a really great picnic table...

Asahigaoka Park picnic table

With even better views of Naha and the East China Sea.

View of Naha from Asahigaoka Park View of East China Sea from Asahigaoka Park

In a park that my dog, @Marron, seems to enjoy quite much too.

Marron at Asahigaoka Park

Though, if you just went to the beach to swim or soak up the sun with a little more privacy, you can see that there's another, unmanned and unnetted beach, located just behind the cliff that Naminoue Shrine rests on. If you decide to go here as opposed to the lifeguarded Naminoue Beach, just be aware that you're entering the water at your own risk.

The best method to reach this area would most likely be to go through the Shrine and around the alleyway pictured in the walking path below.

Path from Naminoue Beach to private beach

Here's an area of southern Okinawa that is piquing my interest to hike around, or up and down, these odd-looking hills. I won't know if it's accessible until I go. But, I would've never found them without this tip.

Odd hiking hills in southern Okinawa?

You can use our Places directory or our Okinawa Pin Drops forum as a starting point for your Google Maps aerial reconnaissance experience.

So, get out there and make your own Okinawa adventure using this technique!
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
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About Author
David
David is the Founder of Okinawa.Org. When he's not busy with business and administrative dealings on the site, he's out looking for the smallest things in the largest areas that may be overlooked by many.

Comments

I love using Google Maps Aerial Reconnaissance. As shown in my screen shot below of one of my Maps you will see a simple yet effective tagging system. The Green flags are places I have pinned to explore and photograph and the Hearts are where I have finished exploring and photographing. I have used Google Maps to find Rocks and interesting foregrounds to vantage points overlooking cliffs and prefectures. I am so excited this has worked for others! Cheers to all our friends here!
 

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That's a lot of locations, both to have shot and on a list to shoot, @Exposing_the_Light!

I learned this method from you in some obscure subthread where you were using it for finding the perfect mix of "greens and blues" for an ocean shoot (Pacific side, I believe).

I thought... "Well, it absolutely works for photography, but can it open up urban (and hidden gem) exploration on Okinawa as well?" And sure enough, it can.

It took a lot of time zooming in and out, shifting around the island, and then going to places to see what a satellite sees versus what is actually there. Example being, I might see something really unique in the hills and a faint trail line. I'll take the trail line up and see that it's a tomb or a shrine, pay respects and leave on to the next find, all mapped out in an itinerary for the day.

But, sometimes I find some really cool stuff, both inner-city and in the middle of nowhere.

The above example of the beach is one of them. While there might be 100 people on Naminoue Beach, you just have to walk about 200 meters around to another section of beach and there might only be 10, if that, to get a little privacy or noise reduction... and it's practically the same water!

Even though I already knew about this beach section, and preferred it over Naminoue (after the bridge was built in about 2007ish), I had to illustrate that there are ways of getting there as opposed to around in the water where you're bound to get a whistle blown in your direction. And, what better way to do so than apply the aerial reconnaissance method?

Expect a lot more places to be posted that I've personally found off Google Maps, but really, on, if you look hard enough, for both for leisure and photography (even though I'm a novice; I'll let people like you be the judge of my finds in that department). ;)
 
That's a lot of locations, both to have shot and on a list to shoot, @Exposing_the_Light!

I learned this method from you in some obscure subthread where you were using it for finding the perfect mix of "greens and blues" for an ocean shoot (Pacific side, I believe).

I thought... "Well, it absolutely works for photography, but can it open up urban (and hidden gem) exploration on Okinawa as well?" And sure enough, it can.

It took a lot of time zooming in and out, shifting around the island, and then going to places to see what a satellite sees versus what is actually there. Example being, I might see something really unique in the hills and a faint trail line. I'll take the trail line up and see that it's a tomb or a shrine, pay respects and leave on to the next find, all mapped out in an itinerary for the day.

But, sometimes I find some really cool stuff, both inner-city and in the middle of nowhere.

The above example of the beach is one of them. While there might be 100 people on Naminoue Beach, you just have to walk about 200 meters around to another section of beach and there might only be 10, if that, to get a little privacy or noise reduction... and it's practically the same water!

Even though I already knew about this beach section, and preferred it over Naminoue (after the bridge was built in about 2007ish), I had to illustrate that there are ways of getting there as opposed to around in the water where you're bound to get a whistle blown in your direction. And, what better way to do so than apply the aerial reconnaissance method?

Expect a lot more places to be posted that I've personally found off Google Maps, but really, on, if you look hard enough, for both for leisure and photography (even though I'm a novice; I'll let people like you be the judge of my finds in that department). ;)
Looking forward to all the posts my friend!
 
Looking forward to all the posts my friend!
You'll have two more green flags to add by the end of next week then. :)

PS: Let me know when you hit that southern one up just above Naha (looking like quite possibly Senaga Island, which is a dud now with the airport being built in the way to an area that I am aware of in Tomigususku to as far south as northern Itoman). I live about 10 minutes away and would love to join in on that shoot!
 
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