Blogs from Okinawa, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Ishigaki Island April 9th 2023

Blog 11_Japan_2023 March 31 Port of Call: Ishigaki Island, Japan – Weather: Overcast skies – Temperature: 70°F/21°C – Wind 10 mph Second stop on our way to Taiwan was at the Island of Ishigaki. Our shore excursion experience, Highlights of Ishigaki, never came about as it was sold out early and our waitlisting never was fulfilled. We could have walked into town, about 40 to 50 minutes or taken a shuttle but that was a twenty-minute ride and from what other guests reported we made the right choice as it really was not worth the effort. So, we stayed on board and enjoyed another relaxing day. We have learned that due to the shortage of English-speaking tour guides not as many shore excursions were possible. The pandemic saw a large number of tour guides laid off ... read more
Entering port at sunrise.
Fish pens along breakwater.
Long road to town.

Asia » Japan » Okinawa April 4th 2023

Blog 8_Japan_2023 March 28 Sea Day – Weather: Overcast skies, Wind – 20.3 mph; Temperature 59°F/15°C First day out of Yokohama on our way to Naha, Okinawa was spent relaxing, reading and attending lectures. HAL has brought on a retired Dentist who is has an expertise in Japanese history and culture as well as being a Master at Tai Chi. Today he gave two one-hour lectures on the history of Japan from its beginning to present time. A really condensed overview but totally worthwhile in orienting us to this land and its people. Still having some difficulties connecting to the internet but slowly resolving the problems with the assistance of the Front Office Staff. Tonight, we enjoyed dinner in the Pinnacle Grill. As part of our original booking, we were offered three complimentary dinners per cruise ... read more
Friendly encounter
Pilot to lead us to port

Asia » Japan » Okinawa April 4th 2023

Blog 10_Japan_2023 March 30 Port of Call: Naha, Okinawa, Japan – Weather: Occasional light rain – Wind 23 mph – Temperature: 72°F/22°C After two and a half sea days we arrived at the island of Okinawa where we enjoyed our first shore excursion of this voyage: a visit to Shurijo Castle Park, Shikinaen Royal Garden and finally, a visit to Kokusai Street, part of the shopping district. Shurijo Castle was constructed in the 14th century and displays distinctly Chinese and Japanese architectural influences. Heavily bombed during the 2nd World War the structure was left in ruins until 1992 when reconstruction started. The castle complex was recognized in 2000 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, on October 31, 2019, eight of the main buildings were destroyed in a fire. Those struc... read more
Shurijo Castle main gate
Shurijo Castle middle gate
Shurijo Castle looking back through middle gate

Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Naha September 5th 2021

It was good to see Becka back doing tours in Okinawa. A knowledgable guide and explaining how Okinawa consists of 160 large and small islands including 47 inhabited islands. During the Pacific War, Okinawa was the site of the only land battle in Japan that involved civilians. After the war, Okinawa was placed under the administration of the United States. In 1972, Okinawa was returned to Japanese administration. We were in the port village of Tomari. We saw memorial stones relating to A Karate Master - The Origins of Karate can be traced back to Okinawa Island. A Kabuki story, & Commodore Perry. All well explained by Becka. As we walked towards the port area we passed a local school where Becka & James teach Karate and we saw the flower gardens that are tended by ... read more

Asia » Japan » Okinawa February 25th 2021 25th February- Shuri Castle: Legacy of the Ryukyu Kings Today our virtual guides were James & Becka, both from the U.K. living in Okinawa for some years teaching Karate. Situated on top of a gentle hill in Shuri, Shurijo Castle was surrounded by curving castle walls, and within these walls were numerous structures. Built in 1879 the castle was the central administrative body of the Shuri Royal Government of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It flourished as the center of politics, diplomacy, and culture in the Kingdom, and it was also the royal residence of the king and his family. Shuri Castle was destroyed by fire three times during the Ryukyu Kingdom period, and the fourth time in World War II. Each time, the Castle was restored. In 1992, the Seiden of the Castle was reconstructed, modeled ... read more

Asia » Japan » Okinawa December 21st 2020

I imagined Okinawa to be a tropical paradise. I was quite shocked while coming in to land to see that much of the island appeared to be urban. Turns out the southern portion of the island is largely one big conurbation. The few patches of green within it are generally air bases. Hence, I was equally shocked to learn that the US military still occupies almost 20% of Okinawa. However, we really enjoyed our 5 days on Okinawa and would recommend a visit. The parts that haven’t been built on are great and there is a lot of interesting history. Not long after we arrived in Japan in October 2019, Shuri Castle, one of the highlights of Okinawa, was destroyed by fire. It was big news at the time and Japan was very sad, it being ... read more
Nakijin Castle Ruins
USS Emmons, a US destroyer sunk by kamikaze planes during the Battle of Okinawa
Shikina-en, Naha

Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Ishigaki Island July 7th 2019

Japan was awesome! img= read more

Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Nago May 11th 2019

Excursion to central and northern part of Okinawa Having been told that my mother’s friend (she would be our personal guide of Okinawa on 16th and 17th April) would be coming to the hotel at 9 o’clock, we got up at 6.30 on 16th April. We went to the restaurant at 7.30 for breakfast. Okinawa is in sub-tropical climate – hotel’s chefs cooked a wide variety of fascinating-looking food using sub-tropical fruits, vegetables and spices, which looked a lot different from dishes served in main islands of Japan. We went to the main reception hall on the 1st floor before 9 o’clock. The driver, Mr Hiyane, was there and our personal guide, Ms Akamine, was waiting for us in his car. As my mother suggested, they came with his van. After leaving Naha city, Mr Hiyane ... read more
Henokozaki sea
Camp Station

Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Naha May 11th 2019

Excursion to Southern part of Okinawa At the end of 16 April, Ms Akamine asked us to come to Akamine station at 9 o’clock the next day. We got up and had breakfast early in the morning and headed for Akamine station by monorail. Unlike the previous day, it was brightly sunshining; Ms Akamine regretted planning to go to the beach the previous day. She brought someone who is currently a taxi driver and knows roads very well. After leaving Naha city, the driver headed for southwards direction. We were told that our first destination would be Peace Memorial Park. I’d heard that Okinawa had an extremely fierce battle at the end of the Second World War and an awful lot of civilians lost their lives in the most desperate and unimaginable circumstances. As soon as ... read more
View from the observatory
Peace Memorial Park's Museum

Asia » Japan » Okinawa » Iriomote Island May 31st 2018

Again, another visit to the beautiful Nirai Kanai, in the Ryukyu realm. This time I spent a few days driving in Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands. It's very convenient to leave from Osaka as they offer very cheap flights with PEACH airlines to Ishigaki Island. The first days we were in Iriomote, an Island that is 90% jungle and mangroves. The island is known to host the very endangered Yamaneko (or mountain cat) only to be found in Iriomote (and that is why the island will soon be on the UNESCO protected sites list). The island of Iriomote can only be accessed by ferry or boat, and that way you can see how tiny waterfalls plunge directly from the island onto the sea (awesome). We spent some time near haimida beach. The southern part of the island ... read more
Iriomote ruins
Okinawa flower
Near Haimida beach

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