A quick Sunday getaway for me and my husband was spent at Southeast Botanical Gardens in Okinawa City. We have been hearing good stories since it reopened in July 2013 after being shut three years earlier, and our first sight right past the entrance proved all the stories right. This local paradise, originally opened in 1970, is peaceful and it is very surprising to see such a breathtaking beauty hidden at the heart of the city, just a short drive outside Kadena Air Base Gate 3. This botanical park is divided into Water Park and Botanical Garden, housing about 1,300 tropical and subtropical plant species.

WATER PARK

It is advisable to start at the Water Park first since it has hillsides and is quite a walk, unless you want to avail of the tram for 500 yen. I enjoyed feeding the carp and koi the most and fish food is available on vending machines for 100 yen a box. It was early autumn when we visited and we missed a spectacular carpet of lotus flowers which normally blooms in summer. However, to make up, a short climb to where the totem pole is offers a picturesque view of the park, overlooking bridges and ponds.

The Water Park at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The Water Park at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The Water Park at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The Water Park at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The Water Park at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The Water Park at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A floating garden on a lotus pond at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A floating garden on a lotus pond at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Random art work at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Random art work at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Random art work at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Random art work at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Koi and carp feeding at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Koi and carp feeding at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Fish food in boxes are available on a vending machine at 100 yen for koi and carp feeding at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Fish food in boxes are available on a vending machine at 100 yen for koi and carp feeding at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Fishing at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Fishing at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The totem pole at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The totem pole at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The picturesque view overlooking a pond and a bridge at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The picturesque view overlooking a pond and a bridge at the Water Park in Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Overlooking a picturesque view of Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Overlooking a picturesque view of Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Some tropical and subtropical flowers on exhibit at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Some tropical and subtropical flowers on exhibit at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Some tropical and subtropical flowers on exhibit at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Some tropical and subtropical flowers on exhibit at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)

 

BOTANICAL GARDEN

After a long stroll at the Water Park, we found the Botanical Garden to be errr, quite disappointingly small. We were too overwhelmed with the Water Park but the garden is a haven to relax. Find time to pause and watch the palm trees sway and be reminded how beautiful Okinawa is.

A beautiful row of palm trees at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A beautiful row of palm trees at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Beautiful palm trees at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Beautiful palm trees at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Lotus flower at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Lotus flower at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A Dragon Tree at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A Dragon Tree at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A baobab tree at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A baobab tree at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)

 

DINE and SHOP

Dining and shopping at Southeast Botanical Garden is worth a mention because I am in love with the view and their wall garden.

A spectacular view at a dining facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
A spectacular view at a dining facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Dining facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Dining facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Dining facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Dining facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The wall garden or vertical garden inside a dining and shopping facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The wall garden or vertical garden inside a dining and shopping facility at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)

 

TRAVELER’S NOTE

Southeast Botanical Gardens is open from 9:00 to 22:00 (last admission 21:00) and with a general admission of only ¥ 1,500 and an easily accessible location, it is truly worth a visit. Even the Okinawan shisa below agrees.

Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The genki shisa at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)
The genki shisa at Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, Okinawa, Japan. (東南植物楽園 Tōnan Shokubutsu Rakuen)

 

 

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