Sunday, July 31, 2016

# Travel ♪ Diving, Fine Food, Shopping, Sightseeing! Everything You Need To Know About Okinawa!!




Everything You Need To Know About Okinawa!
11 amazing places that you can't miss!!

Planning for your summer holidays? How about somewhere you can relax and enjoy the sea at the same time?

The best place for your summer getaway is Okinawa in Japan!! Not only for oversea travelers, Okinawa is also a hot spot to visit for Japanese, just like Hokkaido.

Different from other prefectures in Japan, the climate in Okinawa is subtropical, so the average temperature is around 22 Celsius degrees. Since the climate is different, you can find unique local cuisines which are different from the Honshu of Japan (the main island of Japan)!

There are 11 places in Okinawa that you can't miss! Let's get started and explore this beautiful subtropical land together!!

  1. Scuba Dive in the mysterious Blue Cave
  2. Experience snorkeling in the Blue Cave
  3. Enjoy the blue ocean on sea kayak
  4. Snorkel at night under the starry sky
  5. Shop for star-shaped sands accessories
  6. Visit the best Okinawa beef restaurant
  7. Interact with buffaloes in Okinawa
  8. Try the American and Okinawa style Blue Seal ice cream
  9. Shop for limited edition souvenirs
  10. Visit the famous steak house on Kokusai Dori Street
  11. Have fun on the beautiful beach
11 amazing activities and spots in Okinawa


1. Scuba Dive in the mysterious Blue Cave

Speaking of Okinawa, of course we can't miss the beautiful ocean and the water sports!!

In the ocean of Okinawa, you can see awesome views in the coral reefs, so Okinawa is a water sports heaven for everyone! Ready to have some fun in the ocean! Let's go!


Even you don't know how to swim, you can still experience scuba diving!

One of the most famous and hottest spot for divers to scuba dive is the Blue Cave which is located near Cape Maeda in Onna Village. Just 5 meters below the surface, you can see the beautiful emerald-like color under the sea!

For the scuba diving course, a certified professional coach will accompany you all the way, so even if you can't swim or you are not good at swimming, you can still experience scuba diving safely. We highly suggest all the beginners to take this course first.

Scuba Diving in Blue Cave
Reservation in advance: 12,000 yen
Walk-in: 13,000 yen
You can make reservation by phone or email. (Up to 3 days before your experience)
English speaking staff is available.
Inquiries Tel.: +81-80-2730-7076
Email: contact@bluecavemarintour.com


2. Experience snorkeling in the Blue Cave

Snorkeling is another good way to experience the Okinawa's ocean. Actually you just need a set of simple equipment, then you can enjoy playing with the fish and the underwater world up to 5 meters below the surface of water. Of course you don't need to know how to swim or scuba dive to try snorkeling.  You just need to put on your snorkel, life jacket and flippers, then you are ready to go!

Snorkeling in Blue Cave
Reservation in advance: 5,200 yen
Walk-in: 6,000 yen
You can make reservation by phone or email. (Up to 3 days before your experience)
English speaking staff is available.
Inquiries Tel.: +81-80-2730-7076
Email: contact@bluecavemarintour.com


3. Enjoy the blue ocean on sea kayak

If you don't want to get into the sea, there are still other ways that you can enjoy the Okinawa ocean. For example, getting into a sea kayak and enjoying the beautiful sea and sea creatures from the surface of water! You can also paddle with your friends and have some great time together!

ZANPA Sea Kayaking
Reservation in advance: 5,400 yen
Walk-in: 6,400 yen
You can make reservation by phone or email. (Up to 3 days before your experience)
English speaking staff is available.
Inquiries Tel.: +81-80-2730-7076
Email: contact@bluecavemarintour.com


04. Snorkel at night under the starry sky

Enjoy the red sky in sunset and the shining stars in the dark sky while floating in the sea.  Night Healing Snorkeling is actually a special night time program which starts at 7 pm every day, and it is only provided from March to October.

Night Healing Snorkeling
Reservation in advance: 5,400 yen
Walk-in: 6,000 yen
You can make reservation by phone or email. (Up to 3 days before your experience)
English speaking staff is available.
Inquiries Tel.: +81-80-2730-7076
Email: contact@bluecavemarintour.com

Pendant with star-shaped sand inlay (necklace not included) 8,000 yen + tax
05. Shop for the star-shaped sands accessories

Mixed with the traditional Okinawa Yaeyama's woven fabric minsah and the modern presentation, simple and casual designed jewelries and star-shaped sands inlaid accessories can be found in Grace Anniversary Design Shop.

Rings with star-shaped sands inlay 9,200 yen + tax
For those we want to get something more special and bring home your memories, why don't you order a special jewelry at Grace Anniversary Design Shop where the design and ideas are coming from designers who live in Okinawa!

The most special ring they have is the one with traditional Okinawa Yaeyama's woven fabric minsah design, and it is said that if you give this ring to your lover, you two will stay together forever. How romantic is that!

Grace Anniversary Design (Onna Shop)
Address: Onna, Okinawa
沖縄県国頭郡恩納村前兼久124
Map Code: 206 096 202 4
Tel.: 098-964-3422
Hours: 10:00 - 20:00
(Closed on Wednesday on the 3rd week of every month)
Homepage (Japanese): http://www.grace-shop.jp/
Google Map


06. Visit the best Okinawa beef restaurant

The most famous Okinawa beef restaurant in Okinawa is ......... probably Ryukyu no Ushi!

You can always find a long line outside this restaurant! It is not just famous among the Japanese, even many visitors know about this place! Let us tell you two special tips about this restaurant!

Tip #1
Special lunch set
Steak Set served with steak, pickles, soup, salad, and rice
At Ryukyu no Ushi, they only provide the finest Okinawa beef and expert-selected nameless Japanese beef.

Even for the nameless beef, it is carefully selected by the expert, and the taste and quality are guaranteed just like the top grade beef! What's more? Prices of nameless beef are more reasonable! By the way, lunch menu is cheaper than the dinner menu, so you can visit them in the afternoon! You can also order their original cocktail at 500 yen plus tax to go with the beef set.

Lunch: 11:00 - 16:30 (L.O. 15:30)

Tip #2
Save your line up time


Since they don't take any reservation for dinner, if you want to avoid the long line, you can go to their shop 5 minutes before their dinner time starts!

Ryukyu no Ushi Onna
Address: 1F, 909-2 Maeganeku, Onna-son Okinawa
Tel.: 098-965-2233
Hours:
Lunch: 11:00 - 16:30 (L.O. 15:30) Reservation is accepted
Dinner: 17:00 - 23:30 (L.O. 23:00) No Reservation
Homepage: http://www.u-shi.net/english/index.html#
Google Map



07. Interact with buffaloes in Okinawa

Almost everyone knows about Okinawa is famous for their blue ocean, but actually there is a place where you can feel and experience the subtropical climate of Okinawa.

On Ishikawa plateau in Okinawa, there is a place called "Hills of Bios" where you can get a close look at the plants and animals in the subtropical forest of Okinawa.

Here in Hills of Bios, you can get on the buffalo carriage ride to enjoy the park slowly.

Buffalo Carriage Ride
Fees: 900 yen (Adults), 600 yen (From 4 years old to elementary school)
Entrance ticket is required
Time: About 25 minutes
Hours: 09:45 - 17:15
Location: Azumacho shop (10-mins walk and 200m from main entrance)

Reminder
Tickets can be purchased in Azumacho shop
Tickets are not required for children under 4 years old and do not occupy seat
Departs in every 30 minutes
Maximum 20 persons per ride


Tour Boat Ride

You can also get on the tour boat ride and enjoy the natural landscape and colorful orchids at Hill of Bios.

Fees: 800 yen (Adults), 500 yen (Children)
Entrance ticket is required
Time: About 25 minutes
Hours: 09:30 - 17:00
Location: Ayafune Square (Pier) (10-mins walk and 200m from main entrance)

Reminder
Tickets are not required for children under 4 years old and do not occupy seat
Departs in every 30 minutes
Reservation is required for group of 20 or above
Maximum 40 persons per ride


Under the beautiful Okinawa sky, enjoy your time with the cute animals like goats, pigs, or chicken. You can also try to feed them!

Hills of Bios
Address: 961-30 Ishikawakadekaru, Uruma-shi, Okinawa
Map Code: 206 005 263
Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (Last admission at 17:00)
Holidays: none
Tel.: 098-965-3400
Homepage: http://www.bios-hill.co.jp.e.vr.hp.transer.com/
Google Map

Access Information: http://www.bios-hill.co.jp.e.vr.hp.transer.com/access/

*By your own car
From Naha Airport: About 60 minutes (45 km)
From Ryukyu Village: About 15 minutes (8 km)
From Cape Manzamo beach: About 25 minutes (14 km)

*By bus

From Naha Airport, Naha bus terminal, Nago bus terminal

1. By Express Bus, Ryukyu Bus, or Okinawa Bus
Take Nago West Line (#20) and get off at Ishikawa IC stop, then use the taxi business association of central Okinawa (098-929-1818)

2. Take Nago West Sky Line (#120) and get off at Nakadomari (takes about 90 minutes), then use the taxi business association of central Okinawa (098-929-1818) (about 7 minutes)


08. Try the American and Okinawa style Blue Seal ice cream

Speaking of ice cream in Okinawa, almost everyone will think about Blue Seal. You can find this famous ice cream shop on Kokusai Dori, or even their products in smaller shops and convenient stores in Okinawa!

But do you know that where did the original Blue Seal ice cream come from? Actually it came from the US military base!

In 1948, USA-based Foremost Ltd. established a factory in the Tengan Military Base, Gushikawa City (now Uruma City) to supply dairy products essential for US military personnel stationed in Okinawa. This was the beginning of Blue Seals history. Back in those days, Foremosts products were valuable commodities, only available inside the base, and rarely encountered by the local people of Okinawa. (From Blue Seal official website)

Blue Seal is still the most famous ice cream brand in Okinawa!


First Blue Seal Outlet in Okinawa

This time, we will take you to the first outlet of Blue Seal in Makiminato. This shop was opened back in 1963, and from the inside out, the shop is still filled with the American 60's style.

The colorful boards, the 70's style counter and retro pop tables, these all creates a special and retro style of this shop.


Over 100 kinds of original American recipes are used here, but in order to fit the hot and humid climate in Okinawa, they made some fine adjustment on the recipes. Not just the locals, even visitors love the Blue Seal ice cream a lot!


Other than ice cream, you can also find cheese burger, hot dog, french fries, apple pie, and popcorn etc. at Blue Seal, but please note that the menu in each shop varies.

Tropical Mountain Sundae 1,000 yen + tax
Limited time only! (June 9 to September 30)
Summer limited edition fruit sundae

What can be better than having fruits and ice cream together in the hot summer! How about sharing this sundae with your friends!


Come here and try the American originated Okinawa style ice cream with the US military!



Just follow national highway 58, you can find the big sign of Blue Seal outside the shop. Don't forget to take a picture outside the shop!!

Blue Seal
Address: 5-5-6 Makminato, Urazoe City, Okinawa Prefecture
Map Code: 333 415 3510
Hours: 09:00 - 24:00 (Sun to Thur), 09:00 - 25:00 (Fri & Sat)
Tel.: 098-877-8258


09. Shop for limited edition souvenirs

If you love those limited edition products, we have a good news for you! Do you still remember we have introduced you the famous Nagatanien Ochazuke in our previous sharing? This time, we will show you their Okinawa limited edition!!

Nagatanien Ochazuke - Okinawa Limited Edition

Bitter melon stir fried mixed flavor
AGU pork flavor
Mozuku Tea (seaweed tea) flavor
600 yen + tax

Homepage (Japanese): http://www.nagatanien.co.jp/product/detail/7/28/528/



Wanna get Okinawa souvenirs at one stop? We have a good suggestion for you!

Just 15 minutes walk from the OMOROMACHI station where the biggest Duty Free Shop in Okinawa is, you can find this supermarket "Okinawa Takajima Apple Town Shop"!

Okinawa Takajima Apple Town Shop
Address: 2F, 3-3-1 Omoro-machi, Naha, Okinawa
Map Code: 331 888 77
Hours: 11:00 - 20:30
Tel.: 098-863-8305
Homepage (Japanese): http://www.feenu.co.jp/shop/shop08.php
Google Map


3 special flavors come in one pack!!

Bitter melon stir fried mixed flavor - Okinawa bitter melon with pepper
AGU pork flavor - Okinawa famous pork with spice
Mozuku Tea (seaweed tea) flavor - Okinawa seaweed, added with plum

This is guaranteed one of the best souvenirs to give your family and friends. Share your Okinawa memories and the Okinawa taste with them! Come and get it in "Okinawa Takajima Apple Town Shop".



10. Visit the famous steak house on Kokusai Dori Street

Let's visit the famous American style steak house in Okinawa, Steak House 88,  which has been running their business in Okinawa for 60 years!


There are 7 Steak House 88 outlets in Okinawa, and even on Kokusai Dori, there are a few Steak House 88 outlets.  Today, we will take you to the one in Matsuo!

Steak House 88 is famous for their big portion American style dishes, and they also provide other choices like taco rice, Okinawa style bitter melon stir-fried mix etc. At the reopened Matsuo shop, you can find excellent service and food!

Left: T-bone (250g) set - 2,980 yen + tax (served with soup, salad, bread or rice)
Right: Hamburger steak (230 g) with deep fried prawns set - 2,400 yen + tax
At Steak House 88, you can find American style steaks made with Ishigaki beef and other kinds of Okinawa beef. Steak set comes with soup, salad, bread or rice too! How about ordering a glass of red wine too?


Steak House 88 Matsuo Shop
Address: 3-1-6 2F, Matsuo, Naha-shi, Okinawa 900-0013
Map Code: 331 572 83
Hours: 17:00 - 25:00 (L.O. 24:00)
Tel.: 098-866-3760
Homepage: http://s88.co.jp/en/matsuo
Google Map


11. Have fun on the beautiful beach

In the north part of Okinawa, there is a beautiful island called Kouri Island which is famous for the blue ocean! Just 1.5 hours drive, you can reach this beautiful place!!

With the beautiful ocean and the interesting shaped rocks, Kouri Island is also famous among visitors, and it appears in many movies too!

Since a 2 km long Kouri bridge was built in 2005, you can just go to Kouri Island with you own car from Naha airport in just 1.5 hours. Tourism is improved since the bridge was built!

Kouri Island
Address: Kouri, Nakijinson, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Map Code: 485 722 490 3
Homepage (Japanese): http://kourijima.info/
Google Map

01. The beauty of Kouri Island

Just look at the blue ocean and the beautiful sky! You will never forget this amazing place once you visited!


02. Free Parking




There is a free parking area at the entrance of the Kouri Island. It is a photo spot where you can take some nice pictures of the ocean! So why don't we stop here for awhile and take out our cameras now!

It just takes about 30 minutes from here to get to the famous Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. We can also visit the famous aquarium after we have some fun in the sea!

03. Water sports and activities



If the Blue Cave is good for water activities like scuba diving and snorkeling, then Kouri Island is good for other water activities like jet surfing and banana boat etc. Of course the most popular one is the Flyboard now!!


Since the Kouri Island ocean is not too deep, it is good for swimming and water sports. Of course we can't miss the hottest flyboard!!

A Flyboard rider stands on a board connected by a long hose to a watercraft. Water is forced under pressure to a pair of boots with jet nozzles underneath which provide thrust for the rider to fly up. (Information from wikipedia)

This new sport is definitely the coolest for both the player and even the ones who are just watching it!!


Just get in the inflatable boat with 2 or 3 friends and enjoy another kind of surfing! The boat pulling you will not treat you too nicely! Hold the rope tightly or otherwise you will be thrown into the sea!! What an exciting game!!


Of course the most popular banana boat can also be found here. Get on it with your friends and enjoy some great time in the sea together! Who will be thrown off the boat first?

Kouri Ocean Side
Address: 328-1 Kouri, Nakijinson, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Tel.: 080-7985-8355
Map Code: 485 722 490 3
Hours: 09:00 - 18:00 (depends on weather)
Reservation online or by phone (only Japanese website is available)
Fees:
Flyboard - 7,500 yen, Online Reservation
Inflatable Boat Surfing  - 2,000 yen, Online Reservation
Banana Boat - 1,500 yen, Online Reservation
Homepage: http://www.flyboard-kouri.com/

Access
From Naha Airport: Around 1.5 hours, 90 km
From Naha: Around 1 hour and 20 minutes, 82 km
From Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium: Around 30 minutes, 20 km
Highway toll: 1,000 yen


After reading our sharing today, do you think that Okinawa is the best place for your summer getaway in Japan? We will leave you to explore this beautiful subtropical land by yourself!

Please also check out our previous sharing here:

# Travel ♪ Water Sports in Okinawa! Scuba Diving in the Blue Cave with Marine Support TIDE ZANPA!!

# Travel ♪ Exploring the Okinawa Ocean with Marine Support TIDE ZANPA!!

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