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Okinawa, Japan

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Naha bay on Okinawa, Japan had a modern feel and not one of a tropical island. Many people had told me that Okinawa was a great tropical destination and I was anxious to begin exploring. The rain and storm clouds though, kept me from spending any time on the beach.

Naha bay on Okinawa Japan

From a tourist point of view, I have to say that I was disappointed in the island of Okinawa, well, the city of Naha. After spending time in various cities in Japan, it just didn't seem the same. I walked quite a bit around the city and these are the main kinds of photos that I captured.

Naha on Okinawa, Japan

Granted, it did rain the entire time I was there (I know…I'm sooo picky), but compared to the mainland of Japan, it just seemed run-down and neglected. The architecture was bland and it just didn't have that clean, organized and together feel that Japan is known for.

Naha on Okinawa, Japan

There are some nice buildings and a nice shopping area, so I don't want to give you the impression that it's a horrible place to visit. In fact, it's quite popular with a lot of people around the world, and even boasts some beautiful beaches, not too far away.

Naha on Okinawa, Japan

Due to the constant moisture in the air, many of the buildings had the moldy look that is common for that type of environment. Parts of the city were unattractive, and other parts were pristine. However, this is common in most cities. I always felt safe while walking around, so you should certainly get out and explore by foot.

Naha on Okinawa, Japan

Okay, enough of that. In the spirit of fairness, I'll show you photos of the nicer parts. Everyone's experiences and opinions are different, as they should be. I'll also include a link at the bottom of this post that shows you how nice the other areas of Okinawa are when it's sunny.

Naha on Okinawa, Japan

For those who don't know: Okinawa is an island that sits many miles below the main island…and is owned by Japan. Most people will remember it due to its WWII connection. The American forces advanced on Okinawa (I believe in 1945) and the island suffered heavy bombing. They say that after three months of horrible bloodshed, General Ushijima committed ritual suicide in defeat.

Naha on Okinawa Japan (lens kept fogging up)

More than 250,000 Japanese citizens and 12,500 American were killed (or committed suicide) in the bloody fight. Apparently as WWII drew to a close, Japanese forces found themselves cornered atop Mabuni Hill and rather than face capture, the 4000 officers and enlisted men leapt over the precipice to their deaths. I'm not a history expert, but this is true to the best of my knowledge.

Naha on Okinawa Japan

Okinawa has it's modern conveniences and is certainly up with the times. There is a monorail that runs through the city and can be enjoyable if you want to get a birds eye view. A canal runs through the city and can be enjoyed from various bridges.

Monorail in Naha, on Okinawa Japan

I found an interesting park while walking around. There were some statues and various trails that meandered off in different directions. During a nice warm day, it would probably be quite nice in there.

Park in Naha on Okinawa Japan

The modern "Downtown" area is clean and has some nice architecture.

Kokusai Street in Naha, Okinawa, Japan

Kokusai Street,  is a main shopping street and stretches on for a distance. There are a number of shops on both side , but it seems that most of them seemed to cater more to tourist, or sell candy and like items.

Naha on Okinawa Japan

There were not many highlights for me on this island. There is a historical castle (Shuri-jo) that can be toured towards the outskirts of town, but even it had been completely rebuilt/refurbished a number of years ago which diminishes its historical interest to some. That being said, the Japanese have a rich  history surrounding the Kingdom of Ryukyu and much more that you can do some research on. There are also significant war memorials and museums that would be of interest to many people. My advice is that if you are planning on spending time on Okinawa, go when it's not the rainy season and stay on or near the beaches. Arrange some tours to get a better sense of what's there to be enjoyed.

Naha on Okinawa Japan

Oh, I almost forgot. There was this one thing which caught my attention on the street. As you can see in the picture below, apparently it's a good thing to put a large, venomous snake in your whisky as it adds a certain Je Ne C'es Qua to the flavor (that's "I don't know what" in french, for my Oklahoma relatives). Okay, I don't really know what it adds, but there's no way in hell that I'm trying to take one back through Customs.

Snake Whisky in Okinawa

If you want to see more photos of Okinawa, I have some in my Flickr album, which you can access HERE. There is also another link to show you some of the beach areas on Okinawa, which can be accessed HERE (not my site). 


Anonymous said...

I'm with "you-know-who"; I would like the snake in a jar! Okla. high schools and colleges teach French, so your relatives may get the French comment!
Have fun, thanks for sharing photos and comments.
Glenda T.

Luther Bailey said...

Hi Glenda! :-) LOL. Having grown up in OK, it's nice to poke fun at my relatives and friends there every once in a while, as they do with me having lived in California for most of my adult life. Thanks for reading my blog!

Luther B.

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