Okinawa

Ancient volcanoes create hexagonal art at Tatami Rock

Scenes of stunning beauty that rival the world’s greatest works of art – only in Japan!

Ou jima

When you first catch a glimpse of the mysterious hexagonal pattern rising up out of the emerald-green sea, you might think it’s a giant turtle shell! But Tatami Rock, located 100 km west of Okinawa Island on Ojima and accessible by bridge from neighboring Kumejima, is actually a work of natural art formed by ancient volcanic activity. This amazing landscape is designated as one of Japan’s Natural Monuments, standing as a reminder of the island’s volcanic past.

The six million year history of Tatami Rock

Tatami Rock comprises a cluster of hexagonal rocks about one to two meters in diameter. But these hexagonal shapes are actually just cross-sections of huge rock columns that stretch far underneath the earth, in a formation known as a columnar jointing. The columns were formed about six million years ago, when magma near the ocean floor cooled and hardened into andesite rock. Flat columnar jointing of this size are believed to be quite rare.

The best time to see Tatami Rock is at low tide

Much of Tatami Rock is submerged underwater at high tide, so if you want to get the best view of this mysterious rock formation, it’s best to visit Ojima when the tide is out. The brilliant, emerald-green sea stretches out toward the horizon, making the perfect backdrop for a stroll along the shore. The nearby Kumejima Sea Turtle Museum is another of Ojima’s main attractions. Visitors can learn all about these creatures and their biology and see them up close in giant aquariums.

Raising kuruma prawns in deep-sea water

Kumejima is Japan’s number one source of kuruma prawns. The prawns are raised on farms in water drawn from the deepest parts of the ocean off the island. Be sure to stop by the local restaurants to sample a kuruma prawn dish or two!

An excursion to Hate Beach in a glass-bottom boat

About 5 km off the east coast of Kumejima lies Hate Beach, a gorgeous island made of pure sand. A glass-bottom boat can take you there.

INFORMATION

Location/Access Ojima, Kumejima-cho, Okinawa-ken
About 35minute by plane from Naha Airport to Kumejima Airport → about 30minute by rental care from Kumejima Airport
Inquiries Kumejima Tourism Association
TEL 098-896-7010
https://www.kanko-kumejima.com/

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