When driving around Okinawa’s Motobu Peninsula on Route 449 there is quite a bit to see. There are mountains on one side and the beautiful blue ocean on the other. For some the drive itself is beautiful enough but if you’re like me and looking for something interesting to explore this is a great place to do it.
If you’re not careful you might miss the small white sign with a blue border and blue writing. The sign simply says “Natural Monument” and doesn’t look like much aside from a small sign on the street but if you pull over be sure to grab out your camera because this is a pretty neat little place.
As you follow the small path you will see a set of stairs which leads down to water and another path. Immediately you notice that there is seaweed growing in this river. For me it was strange because it looked like the seaweed I am familiar with from back home in New England. Long nasty looking brown strands. (I call it nasty because I think of going to be beach and getting my feet tangled in it. Ick.) Once following the path you come to an open field and then a monument. The monument has an inscription that exceeds my Japanese language ability but it stands there with a few offerings that had been left behind.
After later research I found that this river is special because it’s quite literally a salt water river. The salt content in the river is notable which is why it is considered to be one of Japan’s natural monuments. It is also known for the seaweed that was growing in it. Unfortunately the extent of my knowledge of the area ends there due to the rough translations that I was reading but it is a very interesting place to visit.