Japan & Hong Kong 2012, Shisa Attack! Okinawa

Fourth stop within Japan was Okinawa. To get there we travelled from Kansai International Airport to Naha and then Miyako airport. It was a pretty packed itinerary for the tour and rather full on being the only foreigner in a Japanese tour group. In total we visited about 9 different islands so I’ll try to summarise it briefly:

Day 1:

  • Travelling around Miyako Island
  • Lunch at Ikema oo hashi (big bridge) on Ikema Island
  • Yukishio (snow salt) museum
  • Sunayama (sand mountain) beach

Day 2:

  • Hirara port to catch a ferry across to Irabu Island, and also visited Shimoji Island
  • Sawada no hama (Sawada’s beach)
  • Pilot traing airport
  • Toori ike (through pond/lake)
  • Toguchi no hama (Toguchi’s beach)
  • Lunch at Kaihou Kan (Sea Jewel)
  • Kurima Island, Yonahamae hama beach
  • Flight to Ishigaki Island
  • Visit to the island cave before dinner and rest

Day 3:

  • Starting at Taketomi island, visited the star shaped sand beach
  • Water bull cart ride around the village
  • Onto Iriomote Island for a mangrove cruise
  • Sakishimasuou no ki tree (which is about 400 years old)
  • After lunch, another water bull ride to Yubu Jima to look at the tropical plants
  • Boat back to Ishigaki Island before visiting a local market

Day 4:

  • Visited Banna Oka lookout point
  • Ishigaki Pottery Studio and Kabira Wan (Bay)
  • Glass boat ride
  • Ryukyu Pearl Store (visited by the royal family)
  • Ishigaki Yaima Village
  • Plane back to Osaka!



Some things I learnt during our time in Okinawa:

  • People are very shy to approach a foreigner. It wasn’t until we were leaving the tour that an English teacher was game to speak to me!
  • It isn’t fun to get sick overseas, but fortunately it isn’t as bad when your partner can speak the language
  • After several days of wandering around at your pace, a tour is very tiring!



Summary

  • What we did: 4 days as part of a Japanese tour group
  • Favourite part: Being the only foreigner in a tour group spoken completely in Japanese. Couldn’t understand much but it was a lot of fun
  • Best Experience: Relaxing and seeing the sights around all of the Okinawan islands
  • Worst Experience: Forgetting my coat on the plane when racing to meet our connection from Naha to Miyako airport. Due to the weather in Osaka when we were to return I was pretty panicked that I’d freeze before I could get another coat. Fortunately the staff were fantastic, found the coat and sent it on the next plane to Miyako and within a few hours it was at reception neatly packaged. Amazing!
  • Must See Attraction: The star shaped sand beach in Okinawa
  • Next stop: Back to Osaka, and then onto Nara!

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