Culture Sefa Utaki — The Most Sacred Site Of The Ryukyu Kingdom

Most people will recognize Sefa Utaki solely by one picture alone.

The Sangui formation at Sefa Utaki in Nanjo

Yet, there's much more to the most sacred site of the Ryukyu Kingdom than merely that rock formation.

In fact, there's a significant history behind the place; so much so, that it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with 8 others in Okinawa, under "Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu."

Getting there these days with GPS isn't a challenge, especially using the pin below.

However, with the uprise in tourism, parking can be. If you want to park closer to the roadway leading to Sefa Utaki, you may need to wait a while. Alternatively, you can go to the overflow parking nearest to Cape Chinen.

Take note of the building as you approach. It's not only a souvenir shop, and the first parking lot, but also where you'll purchase tickets.

Shopping center and souvenir shop for Sefa Utaki tourists

Only groups will need to use the ticket counter, but, it does have a map, hours, and tour times on a sign above it.

Map to Sefa Utaki, opening hours, and times that groups go through

Singles and families purchase their tickets from the vending machine.

Sefa Utaki ticket machine: Purchase tickets for adults and children

Once you've picked your tickets, grab them and go.

Grab your tickets from the machine dispenser for entrance to Sefa Utaki

Head towards to post office, the orange "JP" building across the road, and swing a right.

Take the roadway right after the orange JP Post Office building to get to Sefa Utaki

You'll know you're headed in the right direction if you're on a roadway with tourist trap after tourist trap selling merchandise and shaved ice, which can be a delight if you choose to go on a hot summer's day.

Eventually, you'll reach the entrance to Sefa Utaki in which you'll hand in your ticket through the window, be guided to a room to learn more about the site where you can wait up to 30 minutes to resume on, and then be off on your way after enough people have left.

Sefa Utaki entrance Sefa Utaki ticket window Waiting room for your time to enter Sefa Utaki

Once your group is ready to go, optionally stamp the back of your pamphlet as you exit the rear of the building for a token of visiting and follow the sign through.

Stamp the back of your pamphlet Follow the pathway to Ujoguchi, the entrance to the Sefa Utaki sacred site

You'll end up seeing the pathway leading to Uroka first. This place is off-limits, so continue on to the entrance Ujoguchi, the entrance to the Utaki. Be careful walking this path though. The slight uphill walk can be quite slippery.

Ujoguchi: The entrance to the Sefa Utaki site

Continue on the path straight through, stopping at Ufugui, the first place of worship, rounding the stone walkway and making your way to Yuinchi, or, the "kitchen" at the time.

Sefa Utaki: Ufugui - The hall and the salon with a brick praying place up front Sefa Utaki - Yuinchi - The kitchen and storage place from harvests

From this point, you'll turn around and then head back to the "T" in the road.

Sefa Utaki: The path that leads to the Sangui rock formation

This time, you'll swing a left where you'll pass the Shikiyodayuru and Amadayura Jugs, two jugs placed to collect holy water dripping from stalactites above, before seeing what appears to be a cave, but in fact, the entrance that might've only came to experience.

Sefa Utaki: Shikiyodayuru and Amadayura Jugs Sefa Utaki: Pathway to the Sangui

After the turn through the rocks, you can't help but notice the Sangui; the two stalactites in a triangular formation, each a place of worship, pictured above.

Beyond that, there is an excellent opening. Through it, there's a clear view of Kudaka Island in the Pacific to the east.

A view of Kudaka Island to the east once you pass under the Sangui of Sefa Utaki

The entire walk-through of Sefa Utaki should take no more than 30 minutes, and, remember to be careful to watch your step on the stone pathway back out.

Slippery path through the Sefa Utaki course

If you go on a summer's day, the exit will have some covered benches to rest on with misting fans to cool you off, much like the one seen at the entrance.

In the event that you're still too hot as there's a long walk back, you can always grab some cool drinks or ice cream from the souvenir shop when you're all done!

Sefa Utaki souvenir shop with gifts, ice cream and cool drinks
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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

An amazing place to visit!
So amazing that I think I did two tours, looking back at the tour schedule of 30-minutes each, as opposed to just the one I paid for. 😆

One can walk through and see all that one needs to see in the 30 minutes (or even less), but I stayed "behind" my group to really suck in nature and hovered around each site much longer than to just take a quick glance and leave.

I really enjoyed Sefa Utaki as well! Next time, I will have to bring my daughter along.
 

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