The Things to Go and Places to Do!
Okinawa Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
This is a painfully long response letter i wrote to a gntleman considering okinawa as a destination in part of his trip to asia. But I thought some folks may find it interesting.... It is just hard for me to shut up when talking about my former home!
Hey great questions!
Firstly~you don't wanna miss out on Seoul! The shopping is too good~ haha, but anyway.
It would really be worth your time to check out just one of the nearby ones while you are in the area. Miyako Island is one that is farther down by taiwan, and i would definitely recommend flying in, if you are on time constraints, the tickets aren't that expensive and the flight is only about 30 minutes. Miyako is like a vacation in itself, there is a German Settlement (wierd right?) gorgeous beaches, and a butterfly garden that is awesome. There are also really great dive spots and glass bottom boat rides.
A nearby island like Ie Jima is a nice visit. You can ferry out there pretty cheap and the island is so small you can take a bicycle or rent a car for the day. The big thing about Ie is the mountain(it is more like a wierd shaped hill)but if you hike up (not really a hike) the view is awesome. Nice beaches there, too but a bit more crowded than Miyako.
Alot of the little islands surrounding Okinawa are the same, and realy you just need to see one, even from a distance it pretty much gets the point across.
Okinawa Island itself has an awful lot to do, i wouldn't worry too much about island hopping. Most of the people that live on the outlying islands go to Okinawa for adventure.
OOH! Whilst on the main island be sure to check out all the really interesting stuff, like Expo Park:the world's largest saltwater aquarium (home to whale shark!) and Neo Park which is a wicked cool botanic garden/tropical petting zoo,and gyokusendo caverns and gyokusendo village, and if you want to see where millions of japanese elementary school kids take their first field trip, visit Ryukyu Mura, a traditional Okinawan village that is kind of like an outdoor museum. There are also lots of castles to visit if you are into that stuff, Shuri Castle in Naha City is the most famous one (it is on the back of Japanese Y2000 bills).
Oh and I think it is Ie Island, that you can actually drive to because there is a bridge connecting it to the main island, but the ferry is more fun.
Sorry I write so much, i just can't help it!
I guess the final word of advice i can give you on this subject would be that you can't really get around super fast on Oki, cause even though it is small, the speed limits are very low.... alot of times, walking to your destination or riding a bike is the fastest way to go. If you are trying to get up north, driving yourself is probably most expeditious, while taking a cab can be sorta pricey... although if you are real nice to cabbies (Honchos) you can haggle on price before you take off. Sometimes they'll be cool, sometimes they won't. Hitch Hiking isn't terribly dangerous either, but be aware of okinawans that want to take you home with them and feed you and make you meet their extended family.They are polite, but you won't have a choice. It is sort of like a pleasant kidnapping.
Anyway, Happy to help!