With stories of castles built by the grandfather of Sho Hashi, who unified Ryukyu, and of how a young boy from the island ascended to the very top of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Izena is an island full of eternal romantic history. But in addition to such obvious historical and cultural aspects, the island is also markedly defined by the strong impression of nostalgic Ryukyu left by its scenery.
Perfectly clear ocean and beaches of pure white sand, mountains covered in Ryukyu Pine, and paddy fields ripe with their harvests - the kind of scenery that is not seen so much anymore on the Okinawa Main Island is common all over Izena, and being enveloped in it stirs deep emotion. The island is so beautiful it could be described as a gem floating in the East China Sea.
Izena has untouched nature, and people have been living here for thousands of years. While lifestyles may have changed according to the times, what hasn't changed is the simplicity and warm humanity of the islanders. Delicious rice was made with gushing pure spring water, and this, alongside the bounties of the ocean, made for a spiritually rich way of life.
It is normal for families on Izena to have 3 or 4 children. Many of them playing on the beaches is a common sight in the evenings. Life is easy because of the rich natural environment and a spirit of cooperation. It seems that these are features which lead to it being easier to have children.
On Izena there are still many events relating to the royal family, such as the Shiimii tomb-sweeping at the Tamaudun royal tomb, as well as rituals to pray for bumper crops and large catches of fish. In general, these kinds of events disappear or change their style as times change, but on Izena they remain for the most part as they were in days of old.
While there are many quiet rituals, there are also harvest festivals full of energy called Unnaa, and a festival called Tirukuguchi that involves repeated singing of hymns imbued with thanks to the gods. Many of the events are for all islanders, including children and the elderly, and to them are a source of both pride and unity.