Monday, January 1, 2018

Trip to Okinawa in 2015 - Day 3


Happy New Year! Wish everyone a healthy and joyous year in 2018 🙂 Let's continue on with my exciting trip in Okinawa. On the third day we visited 4 different attractions. 

In the morning, we had the complimentary Japanese breakfast buffet first. It was different from the lunch buffet we had yesterday but still very enjoyable with both the ambiance and food.

















Then we got ready to meet our taxi driver while my mom was ready to spend her whole day in the hotel (she couldn't walk too much and well so she decided to stay in the hotel, it's worry free for us since we already got her familiar with the hotel the other day). We booked a tour taxi from Okito Taxi Company (http://okinawatravelinfo.com/tour/okito-taxi-chuhokubua/) for 8 hours. I requested for a Cantonese driver, the company told me the name of my driver was Mr. Sakamoto and he could speak Cantonese. Wow ... a Japanese can speak Cantonese. Amazing!!!

Guess what? It's completely different when I met our driver. He has a Japanese name but he is a Chinese who can speak Mandarin only. Never mind at least I can speak some Mandarin. When I showed him our itinerary in English he got no idea at all, good that I also had it written in Chinese so he knew where we planned to visit.


Visiting 4 attractions in 8 hours was a bit intense since some places required more than half an hour drive and we had to skip lunch in order to have enough time for all the attractions. We purchased three admission passes in advance from JAPANiCAN.com

(https://www.japanican.com/en/tour/detail/PAS5J00204OOD/?typecd=TOU&destcd=V09&typegrpcd=TPA)which saved us some money. Imagine one person saved 2000 YEN, then three of us would save 6000 YEN (about 70 CAD) 😁  If you wonder where we picked up our admission passes, it was in Naha airport domestic terminal (remember to show your purchase confirmation since the staff there speak very limited English, easier to provide them with the paper receipt).

Okay! Let's go. The weather was very beautiful. The first one we visited in the refresh morning is Kouri Ocean Tower (古宇利 Ocean Tower 在古宇利島 - 姨媽稱佢為估你唔到). Once arrived, we were asked to take an automatic cart 自動駕駛的自動車 with 5 minute audio-guided in English or Chinese to get to the main entrance.




















The first floor in the ocean tower is the shell museum with more than 10,000 shells gathered from every part of the world. The most impressive display I saw was the elegant white heart made by beautiful shells.





Before going up to the second level, we passed by this little cake area. I would love to try their pumpkin roll cake but I was still full from my breakfast.






The second floor provides a panoramic view of the ocean. The bridge in the centre is called Kouri Bridge where our taxi was driving through!




The ocean deck on the rooftop. What a breathtaking view! Someone said there was a long line-up to take photo with the bell on the blog. We didn't see anyone there so we could take as many photos as we wanted, maybe it was in the morning. It was quite windy though!



The other side of the ocean tower has a souvenir shop and an ocean cafe. If I had more time and money $$$, I would love to have a luxurious meal there (https://www.kouri-oceantower.com/en/).



Next we visited Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 沖繩美麗海水族館 located in the Ocean Expo Park. As one of the largest aquarium in the world, it is the main sightseeing spot in Okinawa and had much more tourists compared to Kouri Ocean Tower. Fortunately the Ocean Expo Park is super spacious so we didn't feel crowded at all. There were funny landscapes along the way to the aquarium.




Get ready to go into the aquarium!

Too many to see!!! Due to our rush schedule. We didn't spend too much time there. Here are the pictures of the most spectacular scenes or their symbol: one of the largest aquarium tanks in the world with whale sharks (鯨鯊) and manta rays (魔鬼魚/鬼蝠魟) inside.





Our next stop was Nago Pineaple Park 名護鳳梨園. Similar to Kouri Ocean Tower, it has automated pineapple cart ride, additional charge though. To save time, we decided to skip the cart ride. For myself, the highlight of Nago Pineapple Park was the huge souvenir shop with free samples to try. Full of pineapple products: fresh pineapple, pineapple juice, pineapple wine, pineapple ice cream, pineapple chocolate, pineapple cookies and their most popular product PINEAPPLE SPONGE CAKE which we decided to buy some for dinner.




Our last attraction was Ryukyu Mura (Ryukyu Village) 琉球村, a theme park about ancient life during the Ryukyu Kingdom. Okinawa used to be an independent kingdom called the Ryukyu Kingdom 琉球王國. Here we saw the historical houses, traditional clothes, weaving/dyeing, folk music and dance, goat, the traditional way of processing brown sugar and Habu snake specimen!








I think this is a display of Chinese emperor fashion. Maybe it's Ryukyu king's garment?












A water buffalo powered a sugar cane crushing machine in the centre of a large ring at the Ryukyu Village. The water buffalo had to walk in a circle repetitively. Suddenly my auntie felt sympathy for the water buffalo being forced to do the same movement for long hours (姨媽生起同情心, 憐憫水牛無自由不停重複工作).




I love snack so the happiest moment for me was the discovery of snacks in souvenir shop! I bought almost all the favours in this photo - lime, salt and purple yam 😙

Our driver was quite talkative but friendly. He knew we would travel from Rizzan Hotel to Naha city on the next day and the taxi normally cost around 9000 - 10000 yen. He kindly offered to give us a ride for 4000 yen plus bring us to see the most beautiful crystal church Lazor Garden. YEAH!

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