I finally crossed a big activity off my Okinawa Bucket List, biking on Ie island with friends. We woke up super early and made it to Motobu Port for the 9am ferry to Ie-jima. The plan was to rent scooters and ride around the island, but of course sometimes things don’t go as planned. Apparently we needed reservations to rent scooters especially during peak season (Lily Festival season), but it was either go on a tour or rent bikes. We decided to go with the bikes because we didn’t want to be on a tight schedule and on a bus all day. It was an awesome experience, even if it nearly killed me, lol!
Our first stop was the Ernie Pyle Monument, honoring the Pulitzer-Prize winning American journalist who worked as a travelling correspondent during WWII. He was killed in combat on this spot in Ie-jima during the Battle of Okinawa. Wanna know the craziest part? We visited his Monument on the 70th Anniversary of his death, and we had no idea!! While on the port we heard there was a memorial for him at 10:00am, so we wanted to make that our first stop. We parked our bikes and Ernie (another American visiting the Monument/not the deceased) was so happy to see us, he told us how it was the anniversary of his Ernie Pyle’s death and he thought no one else was going to visit the Monument. The memorial was actually planned for the next day and we were kind of sad we were going to miss it.
We did a lot of stops, especially to take pictures, but mostly because there were tons of big hills on the first part of our day. Our second stop was the Houkon Memorial Tower, where 3,500 lives lost on Ie-jima during one of the fiercest fights of the Battle of Okinawa are commemorated. There is a memorial celebrated at the Memorial Tower every 21st of April and we also missed it by a couple of days.
^^ Exploring the island was super easy thanks to all the signs and maps! ^^^^ of course i had to get a picture at the cutest flower wall ^^
Next we stopped at Mt. Gusuku, the only mountain on the island, although it’s more of a rock than a mountain. We thought it was going to be a nice hike, but actually it was more like super steep stairs all the way up. We stopped at got some Kakigōri (shaved ice) and we enjoyed them on the way up. The island consists mostly of farms and the beautiful view from the top of Mt. Gusuku was the whole reason i wanted to come back to Ie-jima.
^^ the boys trying to figure out where to go next! ^^
^^ incredibly surreal experience in this cave, because in 1945 150 villagers commited suicide inside ^^
Our next stop was the Ie-jima Country Club where we had the most delicious lunch. Sadly we were soo hungry/tired that i forgot to take any pictures, but trust me it was a feast! Next we paid a little fee to go into this pretty garden that had a beautiful variety of flowers; let’s just say we got our flower fix.
Our last stop of the day was the Lily fields. Sure the whole point of coming to Ie island was to visit the Lily Festival, but sadly we came too early and the flowers weren’t bloomed. We got some Ie Soda refreshments and walked around the cliffs instead.
^^ no trip to Ie island is complete without a little Ie Soda refreshments ^^
After walking around the cliffs for a few minutes we realized we had an hour to be back at the port; the last ferry leaves at 4:00. We were all so tired from biking that we actually thought we were going to miss it, but thankfully it only took us half an hour to get there.
^^ WE MADE IT!!! ^^