This small piece of land attached to the island of Hamahiga in Okinawa is a sacred site of the Ryukyu religion. It is known as the tomb of Amamichu, the creator god of Okinawa. A small shrine on the island is dedicated to the god.
Ryukyu glassblowing is a famous attraction in Okinawa. Many glass stores around the island offer the experience of glassblowing. We were lucky to find this one which was smaller than others but had a more authentic feel.
The glass blowing experience requires you to carry out small step of the overal glassblowing process. The instructor will attach the molten glass onto the glassblowing tube and inflate it to a good size. You are then asked to blow a bit more in the tube to bring the glass bubble to its final shape. Your participation is required for several other small steps until your glass is ready. Actually, most of the difficult steps are handled by the expert but you are nonetheless left with a feeling of accomplishment, and a beautiful piece of glass to bring home!
Manzamou is a popular sightseeing spot located on the western coast of Okinawa somewhat between the cities of Naha and Nago. The site features an interesting rock formation that resembles an elephant. Can you see the trunk?
Churaumi Aquarium is a major touristic atttaction of the Okinawa island and one of the great aquarium of the world. One can learn about the many lifeforms inhabiting the oceans around Okinawa and the main island of Japan. The highlight is without any doubt the enormous fish tank hosting nothing else than huge whale sharks.
Apparently not only airlines overbook, hotels too. Thanks to some mistake, they did not have any room available of the type we booked so we instead got upgraded to one of their luxurious villas!
The hotel staff offered us superior service during our stay. The hotel has its own private beach, swimming pools and onsen. There was even a gymnasium we didn’t have time to try. The hotel also features many restaurants. We elected to eat at the isakaya which offered a more casual dining experience. Hotel Okuma is conveniently located to explore the northern sector of Okinawa.
Cape Hedo is the northernmost tip of the island of Okinawa. The site offers an amazing view of Okinawa’s rocky coast – several short trails offer different and dramatic viewpoints of the coast and the ocean. It is free of access, with parking and restrooms. There is also a monument commemorating the end of US occupation. If you rent a car in Okinawa I strongly advise to go to Cape Hedo – it is worth the trip.
The Nakijin Castle ruins are the remnants of an important castle of the Ryukyu kingdom. Interestingly, one of the upper levels of the castle was a sacred site accessible only to women in order to maintain the site’s purity. Nowadays, a museum featuring artifacts excavated on the premises of the castle is located next to the ruins.
Katsuren castle was built on a hill overlooking the Katsuren Peninsula. Nowadays, only the stone walls that were once protecting the castle against intruders remain. In ancient times, the local government controlling the castle was conducting trade with foreign nations, as evidenced by the Roman currency found during excavations. The castle site is now well known for the beautiful scenery it offers to its visitors.
Sekirinzan is a sacred site of Okinawa’s ancestral religion in which gods are closely linked to nature. Besides its spiritual importance, the site features a beautiful scenery characterized by peculiar volcanic rock formations. Many hiking paths are maintained on the side, some of them even offering access to people with disabilities. One of the hiking trails leads to an elevated viewpoint with a fantastic view of the northernmost tip of Okinawa island, Cape Hedo. Lower hiking trails lead to enormous Gajimaru trees with many “hanging roots”.
If you happen to drive past the northernmost part of Okinawa island, I suggest stopping by the Kayauchi Banta viewpoint. Why? You simply will get an amazing view of the coast of Okinawa. This single photo will convince you.