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