It's a slow day at work. Rainy, grey, uneventful.
So I am going to post not one, but TWO blogs!
I have been thinking a lot about my parents' arrival here in Okinawa (only 3 more weeks! Yay!!), and my freshman roommate Sarah's arrival in April (though she isn't coming just to see me ;)). So, I am now compiling a list of Must-See/Must-Do attractions that either I have seen, want to see, or think guests will like. :)
*****Snorkeling (maybe on an outer island if we can get out there!).
Okinawa is known for it's incredible scuba dive spots, but you don't have to have a license to see the marine life. There is plenty to see near the surface of the water, if you have the eyes and mask to see it!
**** Shopping on Kokusai Dori/ Makishi Market
The perfect place for all of your souvenir needs! Plus, there are always interesting performances and such during the weekend.
? Whale Watching Tour (dependent on weather)
Check out my friend, and fellow JET's, blog about whale watching. He lives on an outer island with direct access to the whales. Lucky!
Photo by the incredibly talented Dave Sensei.
The world's 2nd largest tank, whale sharks, free dolphin shows, manatees, and beautiful views?
Well, this is just an obvious choice.
****?Ocean Expo Park
This is actually the park that contains the aquarium. It is pretty extensive so I haven't checked it all out yet, but what I've seen is gorgeous.
I think this is a must-see at least once, though I'm not sure I am too keen on going back again. I would like to take some photos of the cave, since my lens immediately fogged up last time and I didn't have my un-fog wipes with me. At any rate, it is a good way to get a full dose of Okinawa culture in a hurry, though it is pretty commercialized.
And the habu show? just sad.
**** Hamahiga Island (and friends)
Gorgeous islands accessible by a scenic sea road just full of things to do. Pristine beaches, jungle hikes, breath-taking views, delicious food, and the birthplace of the first Okinawan.
*** Katsuren Castle
Interesting castle ruins near the sea road to Hamahiga. I arrived here just in time for the sun to set and it was beautiful to be surrounded by water on both sides while the sky lit up on fire. Will aim for sunset again. :)
Speaking of castles:
There are many castle ruins all over the island. Let's explore!
*** Pineapple Park
Take a pineapple-shaped car on a tour of the pineapple garden (with interesting commentary), sample pineapple-flavored everything (mmmm...), and check out the extensive shell display. I thought it was definitely worth the entrance fee, and a great rainy-day alternative. :)
**If we don't make it to Pineapple Park, we can just go to the Pineapple House in Naha instead! It is much smaller than the Pineapple Park, with no cool pineapple car tour, but they also have samples (though fewer) and their pineapple ice cream is delicious!
**** Fukushu-en Garden
A Chinese style garden which is a lovely oasis in the middle of the busy city of Naha.
I haven't explored all of the islands yet, of course, but I love what I've seen. There are some great islands close enough for a day trip, too!
? Pizza in the Sky
While we are up at the aquarium, we have to get the island's most praised (and most elusive) pizza! Apparently the views and the food are worth the attempt to find this place when it's open (though I have been three times unsuccessful... CLOSED on mondays and tuesdays and after sunset? Hmph.)
This is a view from the restaurant next door. I assume Pizza's is similar.
The name's a mouthful and the views' an eye-full.
****The restaurant near Hamabenochiya Cafe (er...what's the name again?)
This place is built right into the rock and also boasts gorgeous views of the ocean with similar seating to Hamabenochiya. They serve some delicious traditional Okinawan meals!
Used a point-and-shoot for this one. Sorry for the quality.
***Naha Harbor Diner (plus one more * for sheer coolness)
You can't miss eating in a tree (even if it is made of concrete)! Lunch is best because you get a salad/drink/soup/desert bar to make the prices worth it. I don't recommend the uni (sea urchin) salad though.... >_<
Other Places I Have Yet to Explore:
Photo by Shoshana. Not at the actual pottery village.
? Hiji Falls
I've heard these waterfalls are amazing, but the trip is quite a hike.
? Glass Bottom Boat Tour
I know you guys, Mom and Dad, liked your glass bottom boat tour during your cruise, and the launch point is just down the road from my house. :)