What? Controversy over parking & more!

Stairway to Heaven: No Parking
Odd "no parking" signs by residents of Okinawa


Okinawa.Org Staff
Dec 26, 2018
If you've been in Okinawa for some time now, you'd know that there was some controversy over parking near the Stairway to Heaven in late 2017/early 2018, as to why we cleared that issue up for SOFA personnel when writing about our experience there.

There was a notorious resident of the area that would write people fake parking tickets and placed them on windshields while they were in the middle of their fitness routines. When word got around that these were indeed not real parking violations, and to be ignored shortly afterward, a sign popped up, seemingly overnight.

24/7 Currently 24/7 Off Limits All Military Persons - Sign seen at the Stairway to Heaven

However, most caught on immediately that this particular sign was not official, unless perhaps for a unit event, with different instructions at least. Though, it did catch some off guard wondering whether the Stairway to Heaven was really off-limits to military personnel that both the Camp Director of Camp Foster and Marine Corps Installation Pacific had to make official announcements about it days after it appeared with the, now overused, caption of "Fake News".

Nonetheless, they did address the parking issue and requested everyone to not park on the street or in the surrounding area. A while after, they did come to the agreement that no parking in the surrounding area will be tolerated as seen in the informational thread on the Stairway above.

No parking at the Stairway to Heaven for SOFA vehicles

It even turned into somewhat of a joke with people selling t-shirt variants, which appear to no longer be in stock and a one-hit-wonders, with the sign's phrase on it.

24/7 Currently 24/7 Off Limits All Military Persons 2017 Okinawa T-Shirt

Now, I tend to agree with the residents of the community to some degree. After all, street parking can become a big issue on these very narrow roads in Okinawa, especially with many going out to the Stairway for their fitness fix while others are merely trying to get to work in the morning hours.

There are often times that I even have trouble getting into my own parking spot because there are so many street parkers, from rental car company car returns and deliveries to delivery trucks, so, I do feel empathy for the neighborhood having to had dealt with the issue for so long.

Be that as it may, nothing comes close to what I've witnessed on Ikei Island. And, there are two sides to this story.

One is that a resident that lives near the below pinned corner that doesn't like cars parking there, even with enough clearance for their driveways. They will come out to yell at you to move and even go as far as breaking property if nobody is around. The other is that schoolchildren designed a sign to make tourists aware that there are potential break-ins and mischief in the area.

I tend to lean with the former myself, as for one, it's Okinawa, and secondly, it's Ikei Island where the population can't be as bad as other areas of Okinawa (Frankly speaking, mainly American influenced zones).

But, there is this warning sign out there that I was a little leary of:

No parking on this corner street of Ikei Island. Or damage?

I noticed this sign before trying to get an iconic shot of the red bridge that connects Miyagi Island to Ikei Island from the side out on a seawall. Needless to say, I had my wife wait in the car while I did my thing, just in case. Unfortunately, my 15 or so minutes of time didn't amount to anything as good as to what I believe this one came to be:

So, if you want to try and capture a photo of the bridge connecting the islands from the side, walk out on the seawall, or even go for a dive in the crystal clear waters, you might want to rethink parking on this corner, just in case.

The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.

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