Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Japan Trip: Okinawa

Playing: Ten Days Gone-Jack's Mannequin
Reading: Wherever Issue 1
Hello everyone! I just got back from Japan last night. During my month-long trip, I spent five days on the southernmost island of Japan, Okinawa. Admittedly, Tina and I didn't do a lot of research on Okinawa other than a castle or two plus the aquarium. We just assumed the beach would be easy to get to because that's what Okinawa is most famous for. However, it took us close to an hour to get to Bibi Beach from our hostel, which was two streets over from Kokusaidori
While we were there, we did try taco rice and Okinawan ramen multiple times, since Okinawa is famous for both. The taco rice was decent at most of the places, but you can easily make it yourself at home. Just make tacos and replace the shell with rice. The ramen there was pretty mild in terms of flavor other than the thick slabs of pork belly in it.
We had originally planned to do mostly beach activities, but as I mentioned before, it was too far away, so we ended up visiting a lot of other places like the Tsuboya pottery district. The pottery district is pretty much one long street that leaves you at the mouth of  Heiwa Dori. Although it was nice, it wasn't anything exceptional. I recommend wandering off the main street in an attempt to find the studios of those who actually make the ceramic gifts being sold along Tsuboya's main street. Tina and I were able to find one and the guys working there offered us seats so that we could stay and watch.
Shuri Castle was another super touristy attraction that we visited. It had an incredible view and at 700 yen, I can't complain about the price. Like most of Okinawa though, it didn't leave me speechless. For the most part, Okinawa felt like an extra hot Hawaii with Japanese influences at times.
Churaumi Aquarium was my favorite thing that I saw during our trip there. It had a large variety of sea life and a museum section dedicated to all sorts of preserved fish like megamouth sharks and oarfish. The aquarium is most famous for its whale shark tank, which is incredible and you should definitely go watch during feeding time, but I also really liked the park surrounding the aquarium, which had even more tanks along with dolphin shows. It took us around two hours to get there and cost 6,000 yen round trip on the bus system. It really bothered me that it took forever to get anywhere in Okinawa, since everything was spread out, and that it cost a minor fortune to get places.