We investigated spatial distribution of lianas, and examined relationships between distribution and topography in a secondary forest on the northern part of the main island of Okinawa, south-west Japan. All lianas with a stem diameter exceeding 2 cm at a point 1.3 m from the root were inventoried, and stem diameter and root position were measured within a small watershed (16.0625 ha). Geographical information systems (GIS) were used to divide the watershed into 257 cells in total, each cell being 25 m × 25 m. Three topographic parameters were measured in each cell: slope angle, slope aspect and relief. In total, 930 stems from 20 species of lianas were recorded. Distribution of all liana stems and 14 of 15 species analysed were biased toward concave sites. Abundance of total lianas was higher in concave sites than in convex sites. Our results suggest that distribution and abundance of lianas are strongly affected by topography, and that lianas tend to be distributed in sites with more water and nutrients, which are formed by relief in the Okinawa forest. Factors affecting stem density differed among species.