Here is part 2 of a 3 part feature of the perfect guide to enjoying Okinawa! For those of you who have not read part 1, click here to find out the best way to spend your first day on this island.
Do note that the main transport in our guide will be via car – traveling to some of the places in Okinawa is very difficult via public transport. It is highly recommended you rent a vehicle from the Naha Airport or around the main city in Okinawa prior to your adventure
1. Visit the whale sharks at Churaumi Aquarium!
Located at Motobu, a city in the central area of Okinawa main island, Churaumi Aquarium is one of the most famous aquariums in Japan. Among the popular exhibits there is the tank named Kuroshio Sea, which aims to replicate the sea around Okinawa. Huge whale sharks and manta rays can be seen swimming in harmony with the other smaller fish. There are also performances, such as dolphin shows, and it is a fantastic place for a family trip. Churaumi Aquarium is about 1 hour and 30 minutes away from Naha city by car or about 2 hours via a direct bus.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Address: 424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami, Okinawa
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 7pm
Entrance fee: 1,850 JPY for adults, 610 JPY for junior/primary school students
Access: 1 min drive from Hotel Orion Motobu Spa and Resort or 1 hour 40 mins drive from Naha Airport
Website: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
2. A cathartic walk through the Fukugi Trees
10 minutes from Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium by foot, you will be greeted by a beautiful row of trees called the Fukugi Trees. Here, you will be able to walk through a small but beautiful evergreen broad-leaved forest. A path is created along the forest, looking almost like a tunnel through the fantastic greenery.
The 3 kilometer (3,280 yard) long main path along the Fukugi Trees will eventually lead to a beach, where you will be able to enjoy a fantastic ocean view. Cycling is also a popular activity at this area, and it is certainly recommended! Some of the trees along the forest can be up to 300 years old and this is a great place to experience the nature and history of Okinawa first-hand.
Address: 626 Bise, Kunigami, Okinawa
Opening Hours: April to September: 9am - 6pm, October to March: 9pm – 5pm
Access: 4 minute drive from Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Website: Fukugi Trees
3. The best pizza in Okinawa - Pizza in the sky
Just 15 minutes from the Fukugi Trees by car, you will reach the Pizza cafe Kajinhou. It may be slightly confusing to reach your destination without navigation, so make sure you check the map properly before heading there!
At Kajinhou, you will first be amazed by the fantastic scenery offered there. Located at the top of a hill, a bird’s eye view of the nature around Okinawa can be appreciated here. Of course, the best seat to choose is the one outside instead of those indoors! There are various pizzas available, all prepared from the freshest Okinawa ingredients. Fresh fruit juices are also available and this is highly recommended for those who plan to visit the Churaumi Aquarium.
Kajinhou Pizza in the sky
Address: 1153-2 Yamazato, Motobu, Kunigami, Okinawa
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 7pm (closed on Tuesday and Wednesday)
Access: 15 mins drive from Fukugi Trees
4. The northernmost point of Okinawa - Cape Hedo
Cape Hedo is the northernmost tip of the main Okinawa island, and is also a place where you can enjoy one of the best views of Okinawa! It is about a 1 hour 30 minute drive from the Pizza cafe Kajihou.
A great panoramic view of the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean can be enjoyed from the tip of Cape Hedo. Not only that, if the weather is good, you will even be able to see the Yoron Island about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away, which is actually part of Kagoshima prefecture.
Address: Hedo, Kunigami, Okinawa
Access: 1 hour 20 min drive from Pizza in the sky
5. The amazing foodie spot - Kyoda IC Rest Area farmer's market
Traveling south for about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Cape Hedo and you will reach the Kyoda Rest Area, one of the most popular rest areas around the region. This place is famous for having fantastic Okinawa cuisine at reasonable prices.
Some of the recommended dishes here are the Okinawa Tempura, as well as the must-try Okinawa soba. The fantastic pork together with marvelous soup and soft noodles is amazing! Apart from that, you can try the various tropical fruits and vegetables such as fresh bitter gourd and pineapples.
Kyoda Rest Area
Address: 17-1 Kyoda, Nago, Okinawa
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 7pm
Access: 1 hour and 10 mins from Hedo Cape or a 1 hour 15 minute drive from Naha Airport
Website: Kyoda Rest Area
A hotel stay in Okinawa is incomplete if you don’t have an ocean view from your room. At Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel, you will not have to worry about this, because all the rooms here will offer you a marvelous view of the ocean surrounding Okinawa!
There are several types of rooms in Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel, including the standard Hotel Tower and the Condominium Tower. The latter have rooms equipped with kitchens and washing machines, and are recommended for those who plan to stay there for a few days. There are also Japanese style rooms and dog-friendly rooms available.
Breakfast is served buffet style at the hotel restaurant “The Orange”. Both Japanese and Western cuisine is available, as well as unique Okinawa cuisine. Enjoy your breakfast while admiring the spectacular ocean of Okinawa!
Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel
Address: 246-1 Fuchaku Shirifukuchihara, Onna, Okinawa (see map)
Price: from 250 USD
The amazing nature and culture of Okinawa goes on...
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