A visit to Cape Zanpa Lighthouse

Cape Zanpa Lighthouse is a 30 meter tall, white lighthouse on Okinawa’s west coast in Japan, about 30 km north of Naha city and 5 km northwest of the historic Zakimi Castle. It’s a popular spot for tourists, so I included it in my Okinawa itinerary and went there at sunset for the best views.

When I visited, it was very windy, so I couldn’t go up, but that didn’t spoil the experience. The lighthouse, even from the ground, was impressive. It stood out against the blue sky with its perfectly painted sunset colours and the sea. For when you do decide to visit its interior, know that on the ground level of the lighthouse, a little exhibit space was set up in 2009 through a partnership between Yomitan Village and The Nippon Foundation.

The area around it is full of big, interesting rocks formed by volcanoes a long time ago, some covered by thickets of Adan (screw pine) trees. Right next to the lighthouse, there’s a statue of Taiki, a 14th-century diplomat sent by the Okinawan government to China to set up trade ties.

Just beyond this statue, a short walk leads to a smaller headland that offers a full view of the lighthouse and the entire cape.

Near the lighthouse, there’s a place called Zanpa Misaki Recreation Plaza. It’s got shops, places to eat, and things for kids to do, like a playground and a small zoo. There’s a big statue of a Shisa, a traditional Okinawan lion-dog, at the entrance called theZanpa Giant Lion Statue. It’s supposed to protect the place from bad spirits.

For a good meal, I recommend the Cape Zanpa Drive-In which has fantastic burgers and good coffees (they have soya and oat milk btw). If you want fries with your burger, go for the purple sweet potato fries, they really are delicious and considered a healthier Okinawan food.

Cape Zanpa is perfect to visit in the afternoon, for sunset. Some of the cliffs about as tall as a 10-story building, and the land up top is flat and easy to walk on. There’s a beach called Zanpa Beach close by. It’s a beautiful spot with white sand.

Please be cautious and stay on the marked paths. The rocky terrain is a natural habitat for the habu snake.

Nearby attractions include the Zakimi Castle Ruin and the Murasaki Mura, which is a theme park. You’re also just a 15-minute drive from the famous Okinawa Blue Cave if you are into diving and snorkelling.

Cape Zanpa Park

675 Uza, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa 904-0328, Japan

📞 Contact

🚉 Closest Station (Directions)

🕥 Opening Hours

Monday: Open 24 hours
Tuesday: Open 24 hours
Wednesday: Open 24 hours
Thursday: Open 24 hours
Friday: Open 24 hours
Saturday: Open 24 hours
Sunday: Open 24 hours

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory is a published travel writer and award-winning photographer. She travels full time with her husband and is passionate about creating in-depth travel guides. Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan. She has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries. Cory is multilingual and an alumna from The University of Manchester.


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