RSS

Cape Zanpa 残波岬 – Okinawa, Japan

I love lighthouses! In some of our travels, we were fortunate to be able to visit some like the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse at Fort Michilimackinac in Michigan , the Sullivan Island Lighthouse in Charleston, South Carolina, spotted the Naha Harbour Lighthouse during our whale watching here in Okinawa, and my favorite lighthouse to date, the fascinating Cape Lookout Lighthouse in Southern Outer Banks in North Carolina, which took us an hour drive plus a boat ride to marvel at its beauty.

And roughly a week ago, after some insisting to go out on a beautiful sunny spring day, hubby brought me to Cape Zanpa in Yomitan to see the Cape Zanpa Lighthouse. It was under construction and no climb to the lighthouse was allowed which was to my dismay. The lighthouse itself was not very impressive but it has its own beauty in simple white hue surrounded by what looked like a marvelous formation of volcanic rocks. It is best admired when viewed close to the cliff showing color contrasts between the Okinawan blue sky and clear turquoise water and the picturesque landscape. Hubby thought he was brought back to Scotland with the wonderful experience.

Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan. The statue on the right is Taiki, the first man from Okinawa to be sent to China to establish a tribute trade.

Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan. The statue on the right is Taiki, the first man from Okinawa to be sent to China to establish a tribute trade.

The marvelous formation of volcanic rocks surrounding Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The marvelous formation of volcanic rocks surrounding Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The beautiful Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The beautiful Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The beautiful Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The beautiful Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The beautiful Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The beautiful Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

A monument and a fort at Cape Zanpa in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

A monument and a fort at Cape Zanpa in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The picturesque cliff at Cape Zanpa in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The picturesque cliff at Cape Zanpa in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

Cape Zanpa Lighthouse in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

 

One feature of Cape Zanpa is the Zanpa Misaki Recreation Plaza with shops, restaurants, a playround and a petting zoo with a giant Shisa guarding the plaza’s entrance. The shore is also worth a walk when the tide is low. Cape Zanpa is must see when you are in Okinawa. It is now one of my favorites with its scenic beauty leaving an unforgettable imprint in my memory forgetting that Cape Zanpa is well known as a suicide cliff in Okinawa.

The giant Shisa guarding the entrance to Zanpa Misaki Recreation Plaza at Cape Zanpa in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

The giant Shisa guarding the entrance to Zanpa Misaki Recreation Plaza at Cape Zanpa in Yomitan, Okinawa, Japan.

Cape Zanpa shore on a low tide.

Cape Zanpa shore on a low tide.

Another view of Cape Zanpa shore on a low tide.

Another view of Cape Zanpa shore on a low tide.

 

 

 

About these ads
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 27, 2014 in Okinawa

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ocean Expo Park – Okinawa, Japan

Perhaps, everyone here and who had been in Okinawa, has at some point in their stay, visited the Ocean Expo Park. Who hasn’t? It is after all the most popular tourist destination in the island next to Shuri Castle. However, most of those who visit only have the Churaumi Aquarium in mind forgetting that it is a massive amusement park with featured facilities that require an entire day to explore. Spring is here and what better way to spend the days than having an adventure. If you are planning to visit or considering a re-visit, here is hoping this post will help.

The Central Gate and Fountain Square at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The Central Gate and Fountain Square at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

Flower Whale Shark at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

Flower Whale Shark at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

 

NATIVE OKINAWAN VILLAGE and OMORO ARBORETUM - A glimpse into the traditional design of an Okinawan village and the old way of life of the local.

Native Okinawan Village and Omoro Arboretum at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

Native Okinawan Village and Omoro Arboretum at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

A native Okinawan house featured at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

A native Okinawan house featured at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The kitchen of a native Okinawan house featured at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The kitchen of a native Okinawan house featured at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

 

CHURAUMI AQUARIUM - The most popular aquarium boosts an approximate land area of 10,000 m² with a building four-stories high. It proudly houses 77 exhibition tanks being the Kuroshio Sea tank as the main attraction having the volume capacity of 7,500 cubic meters containing three whale sharks and a group of manta rays. Read previous blog post HERE.

The Kuroshio Sea Tank is perhaps the main attraction at Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu District in Okinawa, Japan. It has a volume capacity of 7,500 cubic meters housing three whale sharks and a group of manta rays.

The Kuroshio Sea Tank is perhaps the main attraction at Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu District in Okinawa, Japan. It has a volume capacity of 7,500 cubic meters housing three whale sharks and a group of manta rays.

The three whale sharks inside the Kuroshio Sea Tank at Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu District in Okinawa, Japan.

The three whale sharks inside the Kuroshio Sea Tank at Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu District in Okinawa, Japan.

 

SEA TURTLE POOL -  Proudly housing 5 species of turtles out of the 7 (8?) species known in the world is the park Sea Turtle Pool. Hawksbill turtle, Loggerhead sea turtle, Green sea turtle, Kemp’s Ridley and the Black turtle can be viewed underwater from the underground viewing room. Admission here is free and enjoy guessing how old these turtles here! ;)

The turtle pool viewed from the underground viewing room at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The turtle pool viewed from the underground viewing room at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The turtle pool viewed from the underground viewing room at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The turtle pool viewed from the underground viewing room at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

 

MANATEE POOL – The manatees at the park are “goodwill ambassadors” from Mexico. They are mostly fed with lettuce and they are somehow creepy looking like they are staring at your every moment. Of course, they are smart mammals (or mermaids), what to expect?

The manatee inside its pool viewed from the underground viewing room at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The manatee inside its pool viewed from the underground viewing room at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

 

TROPICAL DREAM CENTER – A wonderfully manicured 6-hectare garden of more than 2,000 orchids and polished beautifully with tropical and subtropical plants, Tropical Dream Center is a secret paradise overlooked by most visitors in the midst of Okinawa’s Ocean Park in Motobu Town It offers a self-guided tour with a choice of approximately 1 hour Standard Course and an approximately half-hour Short Course tour. Read previous blog HERE.

Tropical Dream Center 海洋博公園・熱帯ドリームセンター –at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan

Tropical Dream Center 海洋博公園・熱帯ドリームセンター –at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan

Tropical Dream Center 海洋博公園・熱帯ドリームセンター –at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan

Tropical Dream Center 海洋博公園・熱帯ドリームセンター –at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan

 

STEP FOUNTAIN –  A quite small garden with step fountain offering a panorama view of the park from the top. It is not well-maintained but the serenity is perfect.

The step fountain at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The step fountain at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

 

DOLPHIN LAGOON and DOLPHIN SHOW  - Perhaps most enjoyed by kids is the dolphin lagoon where they can see the smart dolphins up close and personal. A 20-minute live dolphin show, which is absolutely free, is also enjoyed by everyone at the Okichan Theater. Bottlenose dolphins, false killer whales and pacific white-sided dolphins are the stars in their water stage.

Most enjoyed by kids is the dolphin lagoon where they can see the smart dolphins up close and personal at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県 .

Most enjoyed by kids is the dolphin lagoon where they can see the smart dolphins up close and personal at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県 .

The dolphin lagoon and dolphin show at Okichan Theater at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The dolphin lagoon and dolphin show at Okichan Theater at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The dolphin lagoon and dolphin show at Okichan Theater at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

The dolphin lagoon and dolphin show at Okichan Theater at Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, Okinawa, Japan. 本部 朝基 , 沖縄県

 

Check on Google Street View below for an additional information and perspective :

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Okinawa

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sakura 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 – Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa is like a box of chocolate – an island-paradise butterscotch, culture-rich truffle, warmhearted-community caramel and, for a limited time every year, a must-indulgence Cherry-Blossom loco dip – and you are certainly going to love what you are going to get!

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

 

SAKURA and NAKIJIN CASTLE 

Last year’s Cherry Blossom at Mt. Yaedake in Motubo , which was our first, was a blast. Ha, the joy of that wonderful memory. This year, hubby and I capped the season with a Sakura Festival at an illuminated Nakijin Castle. The experience was a delight. Not only is Nakijin Castle Ruins a designated national historic site and inscribed on the Register of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but for ONLY two weeks and two weeks ONLY during cherry blossom season every year, the site is open at night until 9 and a colorful display of attractive lights illuminate the treasured cultural property. 

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 and the Nakijin Castle Wall 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 and the Nakijin Castle Wall 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

With the Ryukyu King and Queen during the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

With the Ryukyu King and Queen during the Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

 

Upon stepping inside the castle walls, full cherry blossoms tunnel the entrance leading the way to the top with pathways lit up with candles. It was my personal favorite moment.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in full at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in full at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in full at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in full at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

A pathway of Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 and candle lights at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

A pathway of Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 and candle lights at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

 

It was quite a climb to the top but who cares? It was pathway of sakura and candle lights to Okinawa heavens! 

A pathway of Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 and candle lights at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

A pathway of Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 and candle lights at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

 

NAKIJIN CASTLE ILLUMINATION

At the top of the stairways is a marvelous panorama view of East China Sea with a stunning dusk lights in the background, making us wonder how this castle must be like in its hay days. The illuminated castle wall remains also adds charm to the scenery and although there are no cherry trees at the castle’s courtyards, the colorful lighting turns everything phenomenal.

Nakijin Castle Illumination 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

Nakijin Castle Illumination 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

Nakijin Castle Illumination 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

Nakijin Castle Illumination 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

Colorful lights illuminating the Nakijin Castle Courtyard 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

Colorful lights illuminating the Nakijin Castle Courtyard 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

Colorful lights illuminating the Nakijin Castle Courtyard 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

Colorful lights illuminating the Nakijin Castle Courtyard 今帰仁城 during a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 in Okinawa, Japan.

 

It was very crowded, which was not a surprise, but we managed to squeeze in some photos of ourselves together. After all, who else gets the chance to live this moment?

Witnessing a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Witnessing a Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

 

The magic does not end there. Cherry blossoms line up the road going down the hill as we drove back home. Now, that is a charmer!

 

A must-indulgence Cherry-Blossom loco dip, what’s in your box of chocolate?

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 line up the road going down the hill at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) 桜 line up the road going down the hill at Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城 in Okinawa, Japan.

 

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Okinawa

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gion 祇園 – Kyoto, Japan

Geishas at Gion! 

Admittedly, when initially planning for our Kyoto trip, Gion District first came to mind because of geikos, or what we commonly know as geishas. Well, aren’t we all guilty? Of course, we all blame that to Hollywood, thanks to the huge success of the Memoirs. Intrigued and just plain curious about this famous and highly elegant district of Gion, hubby and I paraded every corner with high hopes (and desperation) of meeting a real geiko or maiko along our wayApparently, we were not alone. We have the entire flock of tourists unanimously looking for one. We tourists were just being, oh well, tourists.

HANAMI-KOJI  (花見小路)

The main street of Gion is Hanami-koji, world famous for its Kyoto style houses which are also very established restaurants, tea houses and hotels. We had dinner in one of these restaurants and boy, it was NOT at all cheap.

Hanami-koji 花見小路, the main street of Gion District, world famous for its Kyoto style houses.

Hanami-koji 花見小路, the main street of Gion District, world famous for its Kyoto style houses.

One of the traditional Kyoto houses around Hanami-koji 花見小路, the main street of Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

One of the traditional Kyoto houses around Hanami-koji 花見小路, the main street of Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

One of the traditional Kyoto houses which now serves as restaurants around Hanami-koji 花見小路, the main street of Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

One of the traditional Kyoto houses which now serves as restaurants around Hanami-koji 花見小路, the main street of Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

 

SHINBASHI DORI (新橋通)

The Gion Shinbashi area began as a traditional tea house and entertainment district but is now at present filled with shops that specialize in high quality art and antiques. It is a beautiful cobble-stoned Shinbashi Street, which runs along the cherry tree-lined Shirakawa river.

The famous Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

The famous Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

The famous cobbled-street Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

The famous cobbled-street Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Shirakawa River 白川 at Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Shirakawa River 白川 at Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Japanese women in kimono at the famous cobbled-street Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Japanese women in kimono at the famous cobbled-street Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

One of the traditional Kyoto houses at the famous cobbled-street Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

One of the traditional Kyoto houses at the famous cobbled-street Shinabashidori (新橋通) in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

 

ISSEN YOSHOKU 

Issen Yoshoku is both the name of the dish and the name of the restaurant in one corner of Gion District. The dish is a wheat flour based batter with chopped scallions, egg and thinly sliced pork, cooked and folded and served with sauce. It is quite famous especially among the locals because it is said that the owner of the restaurant, Tatsuo Kinoshita, who started it about 30 years ago, wanted to serve the original Western food in Japan which during the Taisho Period (early 1900′s) would cost only about 1 US cent. Also, the symbol of this restaurant is very interesting.

The symbol of Issen Yoshoku 壹銭洋食 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

The symbol of Issen Yoshoku 壹銭洋食 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Issen Yoshoku 壹銭洋食 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Issen Yoshoku 壹銭洋食 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Issen Yoshoku 壹銭洋食 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Issen Yoshoku 壹銭洋食 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

 

MINAMI-ZA (南座) 

The only remaining Kabuki Theatre in Kyoto out of the seven officially licensed is the Minami-za. This theatre was built in 1929 and was registered as a Japanese Tangible Cultural Property in 1996.

Minamiza 南座 , the only remaining Kabuki Theatre out of the seven officially licensed in Kyoto, Japan.

Minamiza 南座 , the only remaining Kabuki Theatre out of the seven officially licensed in Kyoto, Japan.

 

PONTOCHO (先斗町)

Another famous must-visit place in Kyoto is the Pontocho. It is a very narrow alley that runs from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori and just west of the Kamo River. It has probably the most dining options in all of Kyoto which requires a fat wallet, otherwise it is simply a must-see for its traditional architecture.

Pontocho 先斗町 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Pontocho 先斗町 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Pontocho 先斗町 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Pontocho 先斗町 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Pontocho 先斗町 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

Pontocho 先斗町 in Gion District in Kyoto, Japan.

 

KAMO RIVER 鴨川 and SHIJO OHASHI 日本語

The Kamo River flows through the city of Kyoto from north to south. It looks really clean and certainly most romantic at night especially with the beautifully-lit restaurants on the river side and when viewed over at Shijo Ohashi.

The beautiful Kamo River 鴨川 lined with romantically-lit restaurants viewed over at  Shijo Ohashi 日本語 in Kyoto, Japan.

The beautiful Kamo River 鴨川 lined with romantically-lit restaurants viewed over at Shijo Ohashi 日本語 in Kyoto, Japan.

 

We were not very lucky to see a geisha or a maiko. However, we sure were a witness to the captivating beauty and high sophistication of Gion - Japan’s prime geisha district and Kyōto’s most famous (and best preserved) traditional neighborhood. There was an option to dress up like one (some shops offer rental and make up services) but nah, I will leave that adventure until next time. Maybe.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Kyoto

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crispy Oven Broiled Liempo

Crispy Oven Broiled Liempo

Crispy Oven Broiled Liempo

 

Crispy Oven Broiled Liempo (Original recipe from Panlasang Pinoy)

1. Boil water and let it steam. I used a rice cooker and it worked perfect.
2. Arrange the pork belly in the steamer, cover and steam for 40 minutes.
3. Remove the pork belly from the steamer and let it cool.
4. Rub salt and pepper all over the steamed pork belly.
5. Set the oven to broil mode and preheat to 510 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Arrange the pork belly in a greased oven safe tray or plate and broil for 15 to 17 minutes.
7. Flip the pork belly so that the opposite side will be facing up. Continue to broil for another 12 to 15 minutes or until texture starts to get crispy.
8. Chop the broiled pork belly the way you prefer. Ready to serve.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in FOODIES

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Okinawa World – Okinawa, Japan

One of my favorite trips in Okinawa is the visit to the Valley of Gangala. It caught quite a stir among my friends because of a, for lack of a better word, “unique rock formation”. However, just right across the valley is the famous Okinawa World, a theme park that features things local. It is equally worth the visit and equally my favorite as well, taking pride in its Habu Park, a small village and shops reminiscent of the old Okinawa, and the Gyokusendyo Cave.

Okinawa World - Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa World – Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa World - Okinawa, Japan

Okinawa World – Okinawa, Japan

The small village reminiscent of the old Okinawa at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

The small village reminiscent of the old Okinawa at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

The Habu Sake Factory at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

The Habu Sake Factory at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

The Habu Sake Factory and Souvenir Shop at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

The Habu Sake Factory and Souvenir Shop at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

The theme park’s main attraction and unbelievably an amazing work of nature is the Gyokusendo. It is a 5000 meter long cave that was formed approximately 300,000 years ago. It is well and beautifully lit with pathways over a river that flows continuously.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

Gyokusendyo Cave at Okinawa World in Okinawa, Japan.

 

Take Highway 58 into Naha City and then take Highway 329 going east. Next, go south on Highway 507 and then turn onto Highway 131.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 28, 2013 in Okinawa

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Underwater Observatory (Busena Marine Park) – Okinawa, Japan

If you have a husband like mine who hates the beach as much as you love it, you have got to be creative. In the middle of some planning for a short trip to the northern part of Okinawa, hubby came across some information about an underwater observatory and had been meaning to visit. Imagine my excitement! I had to trade a finger or two just to drag him to the water but at that very moment, the universe connived. And when rare moments such as these knock, you strike the iron real hard.  

The underwater observatory tower is located in Busena Marine Park in Nago City, about an hour drive on Highway 58 from Ginowan. The beach line alone is stunning. We were not properly dressed for the beach but it was a perfect sunny day to enjoy in autumn. The sand was beautiful in white and the blue sky was a marvelous reflection of the crystal water Okinawa is famous for.

The beautiful beach line at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

The beautiful beach line at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

 

The underwater observatory tower is located 170 meters away from the shore near Busena Cape accessible by free shuttle bus at the Okinawa Busena Resort that departs every 20 minutes from the Beach House to the tower and vice versa. It was a pretty day so we decided to skip the ride and enjoyed the view as we walked approaching the observatory instead.

The Beach House that serves as the terminal for the shuttle bus at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

The Beach House that serves as the terminal for the shuttle bus at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

The shuttle bus at Okinawa Busena Resort that departs every 20 minutes from the Beach House to the observatory tower and vice versa.

The shuttle bus at Okinawa Busena Resort that departs every 20 minutes from the Beach House to the observatory tower and vice versa.

Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Approaching the Underwater Observatory Tower at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Approaching the Underwater Observatory Tower at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

The Underwater Observatory Tower at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

The Underwater Observatory Tower at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

 

The observatory allows visitors a 360 degree view of the marine life with a spiral corridor that descends 5 meters deep without getting wet. It is like getting inside a giant tank with glass windows open to the underwater world. As geeks and proud Whovians ourselves, we thought it was the closest we can get to a Tardis :)

The Underwater Observatory Tower at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

The Underwater Observatory Tower at Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

The spiral corridor at the underwater observatory tower descends 5 meters giving visitors a 360 degree view of marine life.

The spiral corridor at the underwater observatory tower descends 5 meters giving visitors a 360 degree view of marine life.

Exploring the marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Exploring the marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Exploring the marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Exploring the marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

A peek of marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

A peek of marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Finding Nemo 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Finding Nemo 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Finding Nemo 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Finding Nemo 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

A peek of marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

A peek of marine world 5 meters deep through the glass windows at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

View of the fishes from the tower at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

View of the fishes from the tower at the Underwater Observatory in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

 

There are also glass bottom tours available but we thought it was redundant after having a wonderful time at the underwater observatory. The whale-shaped glass bottom boats were pretty cool though.

View looking out from the Underwater Observatory Tower in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan. Whale-shaped glass bottom boat is seen in this photo.

View looking out from the Underwater Observatory Tower in Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan. Whale-shaped glass bottom boat is seen in this photo.

Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 is a part of the Busena Terrace Beach Resort, a luxury beach resort hotel in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Busena Marine Park ブセナ海中公園 is a part of the Busena Terrace Beach Resort, a luxury beach resort hotel in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

 

TRAVELLER’S NOTE:

Busena Marine Park is a part of the Busena Terrace Beach Resort, a luxury beach resort hotel. A little walk up to the resort’s restaurant will surprise you with a breathtaking view of the cape and the observatory tower. It is Okinawa’s pride considering it has hosted the G8 Leaders’ Summit in 2000 with the world’s famous leaders like US (Ex) President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin just to name a few who have enjoyed the beauty of this sweet cape paradise.

View of the Underwater Observatory from Busena Terrace Beach Resort restaurant in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

View of the Underwater Observatory from Busena Terrace Beach Resort restaurant in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Overlooking the Underwater Observatory from Busena Terrace Beach Resort restaurant in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Overlooking the Underwater Observatory from Busena Terrace Beach Resort restaurant in Nago City, Okinawa, Japan.

Busena Terrace Beach Resort hosted the G8 Leaders' Summit in 2000 with the world's famous leaders like US (Ex) President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin just to name a few who has graced this facility.

Busena Terrace Beach Resort hosted the G8 Leaders’ Summit in 2000 with the world’s famous leaders like US (Ex) President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin just to name a few who has graced this facility.

Busena Terrace Beach Resort hosted the G8 Leaders' Summit in 2000 with the world's famous leaders like US (Ex) President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin just to name a few who has graced this facility.

Busena Terrace Beach Resort hosted the G8 Leaders’ Summit in 2000 with the world’s famous leaders like US (Ex) President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin just to name a few who has graced this facility.

Now, how awesome this treat was on my birthday? PRETTY AWESOME :)

DSC08383

 

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Okinawa

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 871 other followers

%d bloggers like this: