Many moons ago, the islands at the end of the Southern tip of Japan known as the RyuKyu Kindgom were not part of Japan. In 1609 the Japanese Satsuma clan invaded the islands presumably because they wanted a bit of the lovely emerald water. in 1879 following the Meiji restoration, Japan decided that they wanted to keep the RyuKyu kingdom for their own and from then on it became known as Okinawa prefecture.
At the end of World War II in 1945, Okinawa was under the administration of the United States - I think they wanted some of that emerald water too. During this time, the US established a few military bases which the locals have been complaining about for years. The US eventually responded by saying that they would relocate a particular base but that Japan would have to pay for the expenses - I cant remember the amount but it was enough to buy a small moon.
Okinawa was handed back over to Japan on May 1972.
Because we didn't book way in advance (we booked two days before we decided to go), the tickets and hotel cost an arm and a leg. Do book well in advance if you decide to go. If you want cheap tickets though, you may want to risk going in Typhoon September season where ticket prices take a steep dive.
Woke up at 5AM, left at 6 and got to Haneda airport within an hour - before we knew it we were in Okinawa. While we were still in Japan, it felt like we were somewhere else. It kind of reminded me of Penang in Malaysia - the architecture, temperature, colors, typefaces used in signs, vegetation etc.
These few pics were taken near Manza beach - cant remember the name of this one though. Our schedule for the 3 days that we spent at Okinawa was drive > discover gorgeous beach > dive in > end up tired and sunburnt > rest > drive >discover gorgeous beach >...
This was an unmanaged beach meaning no showers or nets - some beaches such as Emerald beach have nets to keep you safe from creatures such as giant pirates-of-carribean-type octopus and smaller less harmful creatures such as jelly fish. You will encounter signs as you enter beaches of the "get stung by this fish and you will die within 60 seconds - avoid" type.
We went at the end of August and while it did rain a bit, the clouds would soon give way to blue skys and scorching sun.
Another beach that was asking us to jump in.
Emerald beach gets its name from the color of the water I guess as the water was truly so. Theres showers and nets here all for free. Manza beach was not free and cost something like 4,000 yen for parking and admittance.
Anti Tsunami things. What are these called?!
It was the first time I tried Shikuwasa (I have no idea what its called in English but its シークワサー in Japanese) which could be found all over Okinawa - it kind of tastes like a cross between orange and lime. I was addicted after a few sips and have been trying to get hold of it in Tokyo - cant find it anywhere so will order online.
Manza beach - nice facilities but rather pricey to use.
Went to have a look down town in Naha which is the city where the airport is. These are...I'm not sure what they are actually but they look like lions or a cross between a dragon or something. They can be found everywhere.
Maybe its because Naha looked just like any other town but it was...not so exciting. Or maybe it was because we just spent an amazing 3 days at the beach and was going back to Tokyo...
If I had to compare it with a location in Tokyo I would call it something like "half of Shimokitazawa shopping district" ?
They do have interesting characters down town like this Tetsujin. Slightly too heavy to take back to Tokyo.
And don't forget to pick up something nice for your boss like this - can you guess what it is?
We identified this street as down town but there was probably much more to it...