Book Now







Connecting with nature in Yambaru is an experience to enjoy food, culture, and interaction with people.

Humans have lived in nature for a long time. In the history of human life, it is only recently that people have come to live in urban areas. Perhaps that is why, when I enter nature, I feel a mysterious nostalgia. I also feel a gratitude for nature and a kind of unknown fear. This may be an emotion that humans originally had.

Oriental Hotel Okinawa Resort & Spa (hereinafter referred to as Oriental Hotel Okinawa) is located in Yambaru, an area in the northern part of Okinawa Prefecture. Yambaru is one of the most abundant ecosystems in the world, and in the deep forest where time seems to stand still, fresh water bubbles up and spills over creating many streams. There are a variety of rare wild animals that live here. In Yambaru, our eyes are focused, our ears listen carefully, and touching nature becomes a wonderfully moving experience. As we harmonize our senses with our surroundings while walking in the forest or playing in the river or swimming in the sea, we enjoy the feeling of becoming a part of the nature that is Yambaru. Because I am visiting such a deeply moving place as Yambaru, it is not enough to just look at the natural landscape and go around pre-determined sightseeing spots on marked-out routes. But as I slowly take in nature, my mind and body relax, and my journey helps me regain the power and feeling of becoming one with nature.

Not only that, but an encounter with the people who live here leaves an impact. Meeting people makes traveling interesting. If you want to experience the forest, it is best to rely on local guides or those who are qualified in forest therapy. The guides who are familiar with Yambaru are forest observers and nature professionals. They will help you notice things that you would otherwise miss: small insects, reptiles, animals, the noises they make, rare plants and flowers, edible things and things you shouldn't eat, and other forest life. You may feel like you are touching the rhythm of the forest. There is also a physical healing that can take place in the forest which is called the Phytoncide Effect. Phytoncides are aromas given off by bacterial action in the forest which have a beneficial effect on the human body. Both children and adults are curious about the mental and physical effects of being in a forest. These positive effects will probably not be experienced by rushing around the sightseeing spots.

Because Yambaru is such a rich forest, the sea connected to it is also beautiful. The ocean is filled with various species of fish, seaweed, coral, and so on. One way to enjoy the ocean is by riding a traditional Okinawan wooden boat called a sabani. The sabani is a product of the wisdom of our ancestors. Using the wind and paddles, the riders work together to move the boat. Feeling the wind and the ocean is truly an experience we can share with people from long ago. Of course, there are also encounters with guides who know the sea well. They are people who live with the sea and know how to read the wind. If they were not familiar with nature, it would be impossible to enjoy the sabani. Your time will be much more memorable if you listen carefully to these masters of nature before you go out to sea.

After enjoying nature in these ways, the real pleasure of traveling comes with savoring the food that is grown here. Yambaru is abundant in produce. Vegetables and fruit are cultivated by farmers, fresh fish is caught by fishermen, and pigs are raised in a natural environment. These activities are a normal part of life for those who live here and diligently care for preserving the goodness and richness of Yambaru. The chefs at Oriental Hotel Okinawa restaurants have a respect for the environment that nurtures these ingredients. In order to preserve the richness of Yambaru, they carefully utilize texture, aroma, umami, bitterness, and sweetness of the ingredients themselves as they cook. Of course, there are many restaurants in the area that are connected with local producers and they all serve different specialty dishes. A place where local produce is healthy is evidence that the people and the land have an intricate and important relationship. If you have an opportunity to talk with people who work at restaurants, you can learn a great deal about local ingredients and the delicious tastes in your mouth will be even more memorable. You will have found true pleasure in traveling to Yambaru.

If you are planning to buy souvenirs, be sure to pick up a hand-made item born from the nature of Yambaru. Toys and tools are created from the Adan (Screw Pine) tree and Kurotsugu (Formosa Palm) leaves as well as bamboo bark, Itajii (a species of evergreen) and Sendan (Chinaberry) trees. These are all part of the history and culture of people’s lives. Like the restaurants, the stores that carry these items are the spokespersons who convey the feelings of the creators. You will want to cherish the story contained in each work of art.

Whether it's entering nature or learning about culture, traveling is something special that is engraved in your heart only if you communicate with the people who live there. At that moment, Yambaru should be more than just a travel destination; it should be a place where you want to meet the people again. Oriental Hotel Okinawa is a base for your fascinating journey with Yambaru. This site is a place for you to be introduced to a variety of opportunities to meet the wonder of Yambaru.