Peace Memorial Museum

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March 4, 2017

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:

  1. Take bus 89 and go to Itomori terminal OR
  2. Take bus 83 and go to Gyokusendo (Okinawa World)

At which point, you can go take bus 82 to the museum’s entrance.

OR

You can be like me and walk two hours from Okinawa World to here.

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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.

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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. 😦

Reversed Aquarium: Busena Marine Park

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March 2, 2017

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:

http://okinawabus.com/en/rb/rb_routelist/

Wait for them to say Busena (stop 8, but it seems that buses have different stops), it’s said pretty clearly. That’s the station you want.

How to Leave:

Take the same bus. 🙂

Quick Tips:

  • Target to go in good weather. The wind was a bit strong when I came so the glass boat wasn’t available.
  • If you are claustrophobic, reassess. The way down is a narrow passage.
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Walking to the observatory deck.
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Basically how the deck works. Oh, see the the waves? The wind was pretty strong.
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Peek a boo! They have some clownfishes (some Nemo’s) in cages.
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See the strong waves? Oh, sorry mr. fish, i’m leaving now

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean Expo Park, Not Just Churaumi Aquarium

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February 28, 2017

Seriously. They should stop saying Churaumi Aquarium and start calling it the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park. It isn’t fair! There’s plenty to see outside of the aquarium.

How to Get There:

Only three buses go to the park: bus 65, 66 and 70. (Bus 70 also passes through Pineapple Park and Fruits Land). Check the routes here:

http://okinawabus.com/en/rb/rb_routelist/

Look for 記念 公園前. That’s the station you want.

How to Leave:

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.

Quick Tips:

  • 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:

Dolphin Show

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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!

Botanical Garden

 

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It IS the year of the chicken.

There were other “animals” in the compound:

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There also was a crab, an octopus, etc.

The Aquarium

Yeah yeah, here’s the highlight of the place:

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The entrance itself is cute, isn’t it?

 

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Upon entry, you’ll see an “open aquarium” where you can touch the sea creatures. I put my hand in, didn’t have the guts to touch the slimy looking black thingy. I’ve touched a starfish before so I didn’t even try this time.
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Look at the size of this lobster! It’s bigger than my fist! Oh, I want some butter and garlic on that!
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There are feeding sessions for the whale shark. You can view it from the theater (above) or from the big aquarium (below).
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This is probably the most used location in pictures.

 

 

 

I’ve got a Pineapple! Ugh! Pineapple Park!

February 28, 2017

I apologize for the title. I just can’t help it.

Going to Pineapple Park’s a tad tricky. For one, google maps as of writing this article does not recognize the local buses that pass through it. So I asked the staff at All Friends and got the schedule.

How to Get There

Board bus 70. Check the routes here:

http://okinawabus.com/en/rb/rb_routelist/

Look for 名桜大 学入口. That’s the station you want.

I was supposed to board the first trip at 9ish, but I slept in. The next bus was 12ish, and the one after that at 3ish. So yeah, time management is critical here. Anyways, I got in the 12ish bus, stopped too early and walked around 30 minutes up. Your stop should be immediately after passing the Pineapple Park -don’t press the stop button before seeing the huge Pineapple.

How to Leave

My next stop is the aquarium, so just go to the same bus stop and wait for the next bus 70. Easy peasy.

Quick Tips

  • Pay the JPY400 for the ride. Might as well do it. And you should also do it first – to have more appreciation of the place.
  • If you are familiar with pineapples, and are pressed for time, skip this.
  • Buy the dessert. It’s pineapple overload, and I’ve no idea where else you’ll experience it.
  • Don’t buy the pineapple goods – just taste everything. Well, unless you luuuve pineapples, you can satisfy your curiosity with plenty of free tastes.

Pay the JPY400 for the ride. It’s basically the highlight of your trip here.
What’s pretty cool is that it is electric, and self driven. I was thinking it’s like a train, yet I couldn’t see any way they control it externally.
For whatever reason, they have a shell museum inside the park!
Dum dum! The JPY1,400 dessert! Oh, my parfait collection is growing!!!
It IS HUGE! Bigger than a… pineapple! (no, this is not a joke but it does sound like i’m trying huh)
Either way, this is the entrance, with their Mascot. It honestly looks weird to me…

 

Old Okinawa: Ryukyu Mura

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March 2, 2017

Japan has themeparks all over. There’s a lot in Okinawa too, two of which allows attendees to experience “old Okinawa”. Now, if you are not one to take part in the activities, this is probably not for you. It’ll probably take you 10 minutes to go all over the place. If you ARE one to take part in activities, you might end up like me who spent about four hours here.

How to Get There:

Take bus 120, which comes around every 30 minutes. Check the routes here:

http://okinawabus.com/en/rb/rb_routelist/

Wait for them to say Ryukyu Mura (bus stop 25, but it seems there are different stops for some buses), which is not so clear (at least to me). Hence, be alert, and check the expected schedule. It’s a pretty good gauge that you’re near and have to be 100% alert.

How to Leave:

Take the same bus. 🙂

*video of the show at the end

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New Tourist Spot in Nago: All Friends

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March 1, 2017

One of the highlights of my stay in Okinawa is the All Friends accommodation – they had spacious shared are, and an amazing traditional Japanese room (without the futon, yey!).

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The living area had some games you can play with – chess, Jenga, Go, etc. I had fun with the staff who played with us, though they all spoke in Japanese. I don’t think I said wakarimasen (i don’t understand) this much.

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And if you just wanna chill? You can lie down on the hammock and read. I so love this place and their staff. ❤

How to Get There

The Yanbaru bus from the Naha International Airport stops at Nago City Office (the one with a big black pig statue). All Friends is around 10 minutes walk away. Google maps shows the way.