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Published: April 28th 2010
Okinawa for us is a place, one would never think ever existed in Japan and our 5 days of exploring these vast islands was well worth every penny and a weekend away from the busy and hectic life of Hong Kong.
Okinawa is located between mainland Japan and Taiwan in the Pacific Ocean. This place is considered to be an International resort destination because it has its own natural settings. From what I've heard and read, Okinawa was once an independent nation known as "Kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands" until they were occupied by force by the west Japanese clan known as "Satsuma clan". After the invasion Okinawa was officially recognized as the Japanese prefecture (administrative district). Okinawa is also home to US navies and the presence of the US militaries in this area began at the end of WWII under US-Japan agreements. Navy camps and tanks are easily spotted in beaches and even closed buildings. I was overwhelmed to see their presence in Okinawa in so many different levels.
The hotel we stayed one of the Intercontinental group hotels called “Ishigaki Resort”, 40 minutes away from the capital city Naha. This trendy hotel is overlooking the tranquil waters
of Maesato Beach with beautiful ocean view rooms.
Some of the things and sights we have seen are:-
“Kokusai Dori” (International Street) in the capital city of Naha. Famous street in Southern Japan where all sorts of shops and restaurant, bars can be found in this mile long strip.
- I also love the food in this place and got to taste all sorts of traditional and distinctive Okinawan food. They are tiny portion of healthy veggies, seaweeds, stir fried noodles, tuna, pork and combination of soup arranged artistically and delightfully delicious. Japanese barbeque and taco rice are my favorites (makes me want to come back for more)
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium: A huge indoor aquarium full of beautiful and humongous creatures like whale, sharks, manta rays, tuna etc. It’s truly great to see all these magnificent creatures up close, but at the same time it’s sad to have them cage and capture for our entertainment.
Iriomote National Park: This is a wildlife sanctuary reserved for all sorts of wild life species and you can also get the chance to watch dolphins and whale performing in this park. It's like watching "Free Willy" 😊
(Hedo-misaki) at the north end of the island: - This place has Spectacular view of the coast and best scenic drive I’ve ever seen in Japan.
The nightlife where we were (Maesato Beach) was pretty quiet and we have to drive a few km to get to bars and clubs around this area. One thing we've avoided is the bars where the navies hang out more, but one in particular which I really like and recommended is called "Bamboo Cape". This is a very relaxing atmosphere in the beach that serves Caribbean and Jamaican food with live band playing Reggae music.
There are lots of things to do in Okinawa and driving along coastal line and checking out hidden beaches, forest and watching fishermen go about their day is quite peaceful.
Aside from all types of water sports like surfing, hiking and paragliding, fishing activities are also very active in this area. Unfortunately there was a storm the day we went fishing, so we weren't able to go further in to the open sea or catch a much bigger fish. This island also offers great diving site which is definitely what I would come back for someday.
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