Favorite thing: Shuri castle is staffed by men dressed as if they were traditional Ryukyu courtiers, while outside the castle grounds, women dressed as court attendants try to get tourists to by photographic sessions in 19th century clothing. Meanwhile, in fancy hotels and resturants, you'll see displays of Okinawan kimonos. All of this brings one to realize that Okinawa has, and is proud of, their own distinctive traditional dress, separate from that of Japan and China. To the untrained style eye (e.g. me), the style looks to be a cross between Chinese and Japanese, though there are hints of Korean thrown in. In fact, the idea to have tourists pay to dress up as ancien regime courtiers is one I first saw in Seoul.
Favorite thing: Okinawa is has one of the highest concentrations of 100-year-old people in the world, and in general, its people enjoy some of the longest lives on the planet. A climate that keeps peole outdoors and active, a diet rich in rice, vegetables and seafood, low rates of smoking and shunning of midday sunshine are all factors in the puzzle, though genetics must also play a role. Maybe even the sake-like liquor of awamori has something to do with it, though a sip of that stuff almost killed me! Unfortunately, like most of Japan, Okinawa has coupled its longevity with a low birth-rate, which means the working population supporting the retired population is relatively small.
Finding shisha dogs in Naha is about the easiest thing to do in Okinawa. Just about every sesond store sell them but if you want to know more about the pottery area check this link out
As you will be able to find lots of pottery there or for some of the best pottery in Okinawa you can go to Yomitan
a couple of hours north of Naha by car where you will find some of the best pottery in all of Japan
Moon beach! Was rated under the top 5most beautiful beaches in the world
Fondest memory: Try not to speak english to the locals! They really hate Americans because there is still a usa airforce base on the island from WWII. So if you know another language... speak it!
In case you forgot; this is a sub tropical island...there is jungle everywhere! Just when you thought you are in the woods back home you spot a palm tree. There are bugs you are not suppose to touch and slugs on steroids!
Fondest memory: I love all of Okinawa!
I love Okinawa's sea, which changes colors with the tides and height of the sun. Okinawa's northern beaches and the outer islands are filled with amazing turquoise water with visibility up to 50 meters (150 feet).
Fondest memory: One of my best memories on Okinawa is swimming at an isolated beach with my wife and there is not another soul in site!
With a kayak you can explore the coastline and other islands with ease.
(You should always kayak with a guide or another experienced local kayaker. Weather conditions can change rapidly during certain times of the year. It is important to know the local sea conditions and hazards before entering the water.)
Fondest memory: Pulling up on a beach with my kayak and knowing that the sand here has seldom felt the soles of human feet.
The people are wonderful! Try to learn a few phrases before arriving, but don't knock yourself out - many want you to teach them English. Many women there desire to look American, while we covet their exotic beauty. Some clubs and restaurants will not allow white men to enter, but women of any color are welcome. They do NOT like to be called Japanese. They are happy island folk, who call themselves Okinawans. Scuba, fine dining, rock climbing, sailing, windsurfing, night clubs, etc - it's all there! This is also a cheaper vacation than Hawaii/Tahiti.
Fondest memory: This is an American woman's paradise! I was meeting my friends at a club, Apples, but they took forever to get there. As I was walking back to our hotel to see what was keeping them, 2 Okinawan men in suits asked if I wanted a drink. (Knowing the area & people well) I accepted and they bought me a shot. They invited me into a no-whites-allowed-club, and I met many women who were very friendly, and wanted to talk English with me to learn. One of the men who bought me the shot paid for my drinks all night, as well as offering to open the cigarette machine for me to take my pick. I was not allowed to spend any money at all! At the end of the night, I was asked to please return and have a good night. The next night I returned, and had a great time. They also took me to 2 other clubs where they knew the owners and I received the same treatment. (The men like to be seen with American women so they can act like you're "their woman." It's strictly for status and show.) American men take note!! ;o)
I loved Okinawa and look forward to going back sometime. Feel free to check out my pix and comments on my web page at:
Fondest memory: A solo bike ride around the perimeter of the island. Beautiful mountains up north and the view of the Pacific and East China Sea merging is spectacular!
Definitely not my favorite thing... Okinawa, like the rest of Japan is VERY expensive compared to other Asian countries. Here are some of the prices I paid for things in Okinawa:
Dragonfruit -- 850 Yen (US$8)
Draft Orion Beer -- 600 Yen (US$5.50)
Beer from Vending machine (!) -- 250 Yen (US$2.25)
Coke, 12 Oz, from vending machine -- 110 Yen (US$1)
2 Apples at grocery store -- 240 Yen (US$2.25)
Big bowl of soba noodles -- 800 to 1000 Yen (US$7.50 to 9.25)
Small (4 inch long) Shi Shi dog ceramics -- 4000 Yen (!) (US$37)
Favorite thing: if you we're here from january to april, one thing you can do is go on a whale watching tour. Humpback whales migrate to this part of the world to mate. I know our tour office on base offers eithera half day or one full day of sightseeing. Some of the boats they use are smaller and able to approach the whales quite close. This tour is quite an experience as long as dont get seasick.
Favorite thing: If you like flowers then Okinawa is heaven for you. There are lot of gardens in the island that you can visit and on jan 31 to Feb 02 there is a cherry blossoms festival in Nago. Like any other festival you have food booths, souvenir booths and of course the cherry blossoms
Japan's 2nd largest limestone cave with a total length of 5km, of which 890m are open for tourist walk as seen in the photo.
There is water dripping from the ceiling, and the minerals are building from it at a rate of 3mm per year. Up close you can see the newly formed white buildup with a slow drip of water hanging off the edge.
This is part of the Okinawa World Park, above ground of which also features traditional Ryukyu village with hands-on short seminars of traditional arts such as textile dyeing, glassmaking, pottery, and traditional music and dance lessons, etc.
The island once has been the land of an independent kingdom called Ryukyu from late 14th century to early 17th. Ryukyu was not under the rule neither of Japan nor of China. Ryukyu had established diplomatic relations with Japan, China, and Korea.
It seems that the intention of Ryukyu had turned to China rather than Japan those days, its influence still appears in existing buildings, culture or dialect.
Beautiful Ryukyu was merged into Japan which aims at the completion of country unification in the early 17th century, and was put under rule of the Edo Shogunate after that.
Under the WW2, Japan had no choice but once part with Okinawa.
As defending space for preventing the Allied Forces' mainland landing, Japan sacrificed the island of Okinawa and its residents including children.
And in the end, the US Forces raped this beautiful land (continuously until present).
In 1972, Okinawa was returned to Japan.
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