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Published: February 6th 2018
Sunday, 21st January 2018
Bus Service # 117 took an insane 2.5 hours to complete the 100km journey from Naha Airport to the Ocean Expo Park (2,500 Yen). This was where I would be based for the next 2 nights. I was thankful that I had taken a full breakfast at the airport prior to boarding the bus. The ride was uneventful for the most part as I slept through half of the journey. Things only picked up towards the final leg as the bus made a loop around the Motobu Peninsula with the beautiful Nago Bay on my left. Bus-Tip: The "Yanbaru Express" Bus does the same trick from the airport at a cheaper rate of 2,000 Yen. The best perk - there is a bus stop directly within the hotel premises.
I finally alighted at the Ocean Expo Park Central Gate stop where the Centurion Vintage Resort that I was staying was another 5 minutes walk away. As I was still early for check-in at 11.30am, I decided to venture out of the hotel compounds to have a better overview of the surroundings. There were 2 signs posted at the hotel entrance - the Emerald Beach
to the left and the Aquarium to the right. I made my way towards the right, passed through the massive multi-storey carpark complex and was at the Ocean Expo Park in no time.
Ocean Expo Park as the name suggest opens straight into the ocean with the iconic Ie-Jima Island forming the backdrop. The crowd was heavy with Japanese visitors even though I spotted a handful of Taiwanese tourists as well. I decided to check out the surroundings today before entering the aquarium the following morning after purchasing my advance ticket (1,660 Yen) that saved me some money.
There were a couple of free sites within the Park worth considering including the manatees and sea turtle enclosures as well as the perennnial crowd favourites - the dolphin shows that take place at the Okichan Theater 4 times a day! I managed to catch the 1pm show before proceeding for my Okinawan soba noodles lunch at the nearby foodstands.
I was just in time for check-in after lunch where I proceeded to freshen up and catch some rest before heading to the Emerald Beach in the late afternoon. Dinner was a simple affair within the hotel where I
opted for some quiet time before retiring early for the evening.
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