One of the few temples/castles (?) in Okinawa, Shuri Castle is a very famous one. Since I’m already in Naha, I figured I might as well go.
It took me a while to find it as I decided to walk rather than pay the JPY100ish bus, and the main entrance the google maps was pointing at is closed for renovation. Hence, I had to go around the castle, and boy, was it a big castle.
PS. Eat before coming here! The food in the cafeteria is NOT good, and it’s such a waste when Naha’s food is one of the best there is!
I figured if I’m going to do activities that scare the crap out of me, I’d rather do it in Japan where safety is a pretty big deal. So. Scuba diving.
I booked the tour with Marine House SEASIR Naha through Japanican.
How much: JPY12,000
What is included: hotel pick up, boat ride, all gear rental, lunch, personal guide.
What do you do: three stops – two for snorkeling, one for diving. So I strongly recommend against booking snorkeling, as with a little premium, you will have diving on top of snorkeling. Oh, and they’ll take your pictures too, no worries. So you only have to bring yourself.
Minor detail: You cannot fly 24 hours before and 24 hours after diving, apparently. It’s due to the air pressure stuff.
So around 7 or 8 in the morning, a van with their logo picks me up at my place of accommodation, then we get our gear from the shop (based on size). We then walked to where the ship was docked, and had a quick orientation and test run (e.g. how to breathe, hand signals). Off the boat goes, and we can snorkel from the first stop to the third stop. You get to choose when you wanna do the diving – I did mine in the second stop. Around lunch they serve food, while drinks (including hot coffee/chocolate) are available the entire time.
That’s all I’m gonna say – everything else is up to you to experience. ;P
Okinawa has a LOT of themeparks. Okinawa World has basically two parts – the cave and the themepark. Since the latter seemed like the not-better version of Ryukyu Mura, I decided to just go with the cave .
How To Get There
Take bus 83. Now, the bus system in Naha are is lot more complex for a Non Japanese speaker like me. Actually, it’s not complex. It’s just that I can’t find the relevant information anywhere. (to be fair, it’s probably available… in Japanese)
Either way, bus 83 passes through the south part of the Kencho – city office. So look for the Kenchominamiguchi. It doesn’t show in my google maps, but Kenchokitaguchi does. So I searched for Kenchokitaguchi and located the pin.
Kencho is city office, kita is north, guchi is entrance (mouth). So. If Kenchokitaguchi is north, you can find the Kenchominamiguchi on the other side opposite it. And voila! I found it!
Now, if you think I’m talking rubbish, just go to the Kencho place and ask for Kenchominamiguchi.
Another option is to just go to Naha Bus Terminal. 😉
Once you get on the bus, the last stop is Okinawa World. Take note that it will technically NOT stop. It will take a u-turn in Okinawa World then go back to Naha. So wake up, sleepy head!
How To Leave
Take the same bus, same bus stop, to go home. Check the schedule. And be there 10 minutes before the allotted time. Nago buses are often a couple of minutes late. Naha buses aren’t!
Oh, and I missed the bus by around 110 seconds. As it was Saturday at 3:53pm, the next bus was around 2 hours away if I remember correctly, and I wanted to go to the Peace Museum. So I decided to walk… And that’s another story.
I just scanned through everything since I was trying to catch my bus, but it’s old Okinawa. So if you’ve been to Ryukyumura, this will probably feel a bit redundant. They have the habu snake stuff too (that I didn’t check).
The exit requires you to go through the entire place. So if you think that you can simply go out the way you went in, think again.
The cave is 21c (temp). So don’t bundle up too much.
The cave is also long. It’s one of the longest in Japan, and they have more than 800 meters for you to walk and explore.
This is a place I simply passed through – I came in at 5:30pm because I missed the bus going here from Okinawa world, and I decided to just walk the two hour path. Based on google maps, I should have gotten here around 5pm, but I walk far too slowly.
The place is pretty peaceful regardless, with plenty of space should you want to pass time playing on the ground or just sitting in the grass.
How to Get There
Very few buses pass here – none of which comes straight from Naha. So you either:
Take bus 89 and go to Itomori terminal OR
Take bus 83 and go to Gyokusendo (Okinawa World)
At which point, you can go take bus 82 to the museum’s entrance.
You can be like me and walk two hours from Okinawa World to here.
So since I got here far too late, and the last bus coming in around 6pm based on my estimate, I had to find the next bus stop really soon. All my gadgets are out of juice, so getting on the right bus was really critical. Unfortunately, google maps does not show the bus route, so I have to figure out my way on my own. Given this rush, I had to play the game “find the bus stop”.
Let’s Play a Game: Find the Bus Stop. I usually use the satellite view so I can see the actual place (from the top of course), particularly for the stops that aren’t integrated with google maps yet.
Now, this one has a spoiler alert to it. I’ve already encircled and erased the original picture, sorry.
Thankfully there’s a map near the parking lot. With the actual map in the park and google maps’ satellite view, I was able to locate the bus stop, and get there. Didn’t make it on time though. 😦
Ever wondered what it feels like to be “inside” the aquarium? I think that’s the concept of Busena Observatory. Basically they have a tower about a hundred meters from the shore, and you can go at the bottom.
How to Get There:
Take bus 120, which comes around every 30 minutes. Check the routes here:
Take the same bus across the street (opposite of where you got off). Check the last schedule of your bus going there, add a couple of minutes and that’s probably the last bus to go back. To be safe, the last bus comes around an hour after the close of the park, so I figure you’ll be safe.
Allot plenty of time to explore – this is a big park, not just the aquarium. There’s a garden, some shows, etc. It’s an entire compound.
Go for sunset!
Target to be in the park around 2pm – some aquarium events are scheduled around that time.
Prepare to walk a LOT.
Since I woke up late, I only managed to catch a bit of the park:
I shamefully haven’t seen a dolphin show, so when I saw there was one, I immediately went to it. Oh, and it’s free!