JAPAN DIARY: OKINAWA ISLAND (NAHA)
There is a reason why we decided to book a trip to Okinawa. A couple of weeks before going on our Japan trip, we felt more like a relaxing beach vacation so we checked our options and discovered that flying from Tokyo to Okinawa was not only not that long (2,5 hours) but also not that expensive. We booked a round trip with Vanilla Air from Tokyo to Naha for 180 EUR for the three of us and decided to stay for two days in this city before heading to Zamami island for a couple of days.
When we arrived in Naha, we felt straight away that we were now in a more tropical climate. It was pretty warm, the air quite heavy; all we needed were shorts, flip flops and a tee shirt. The second day though it became a bit colder. Compared to Tokyo, the architecture and the state of our hotel was more oldish and dusted. We had read that Naha was not worth a long stay which I can totally confirm. One day would have been sufficient. However, as we travelled with a toddler we preferred to plan big time gaps between each transfer. Hence, the two day stay.
We spent the first afternoon walking around a nice residential area where we even got to see a school baseball game. On the second day, we had planned to visit one of the other Kerama islands but due to low season, the ferry schedule was quite limited so we had missed the boats which had left already early in the morning. Instead, we walked around without any guided reference which was complete nonsense as we ended up in a more industrial area…once we obtained again an internet connection we read about the Makishi Public Market which was a great surprise. Again, everything was a bit more old fashioned but also very charming. Food wise, Okinawa turned out to be much cheaper than Tokyo so on that market we got to eat super fresh sashimi plates for an equivalent of 5 EUR as well as other delicious treats, including the amazing porc that Okinawa is so famous for.
I think that our last dinner experience was the perfect end to our stay in Naha. The little bird slept peacefully in the Bugaboo Bee stroller while we entered a tiny Tepanyaki restaurant where the menu was only written in Japanese characters and the staff did not speak one word of English. We did’t know what we had ordered but the background music (which could have been the soundtrack from a Quentin Tarantino movie) as well as the Sake that we drank made the situation one of the funniest moments ever.