Sefa Utaki parking lot to close
Nanjo City and Nanjo City Tourist Association announced that they have decided to close the parking lot of Sefa Utaki starting Nov. 5th.
The parking area is located just next to the entrance to the United Nations World Heritage Site. The reason, according to city and association officials, is that the parking lot has caused an ever worsening traffic problem in the area because of the increasing number of tourists who visit the spot. To compensate, the city and the association say they will increase parking space at the near-by Nanjo Products Promotion Facility that will become available in October.
Sefa Utaki was assigned the World Heritage Site status in 2000, and that has led to a drastic increase in the number of visitors to the monument. The number of visitors to Sefa Utaki reached 438,000 in 2012.
Even though there are parking spaces for only 35 vehicles on the parking area, sometimes more than 3,500 tourists visit the place in just one day, and that has created serious traffic problems. Moreover, there is a welfare facility for aged people near Sefa Utaki, and officials worry that the heavy traffic could create a serious problem in case of an emergency.
The new parking lot has space for 63 vehicles, and Nanjo City and the Tourist Association ask visitors to park their vehicles at Cape Chinen Park near Sefa Utaki, especially during the peak season.