Henza Island: Old Yonashiro Town ②
The first island you will reach after you cross the Kai-chu-doro bridge is Henza Island. This tiny island had flourished in the mid-1900s due to its location which was easily accessible for commercial merchant ships from both the north and the south.
As you continue to drive you will see many large oil tanks spread throughout the island. These tanks are managed by the Okinawa Oil Company CO., Ltd. Originally it was founded by the Gulf Oil Corporation from United States in 1970. At the beginning, the Gulf Oil Corporation was looking to establish a business venture on Okinawa, and at first, asked Miyagi Island to set up its operations. The citizens of Miyagi denied their request. Henza Island, on the other hand, accepted it with the condition they build an ocean road connecting the island to the mainland. Thus in 1972, the ocean road, which was only a two-lane road at the time, opened for the very first time.
Responsibility for the road then transferred from the Gulf Oil company to Yonashiro Village (before it became Yonashiro Town) in 1974. Subsequently, the road was upgraded to prefectural road status in 1991 and was renewed in 1999 with four lanes and included a park along the side and then later, the Ayahashi Road Station opened.