Shuri Castle, Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters, Katsuren Castle and Nago Castle Ruins Park
Say it ain't so, we've been here for half a year?!? Time really does fly when you're having fun (cliche but true). Besides the occasional Wawa cravings and of course, missing our families A TON Okinawa has been nothing short of a dream. After half a year, Ben and I still claim that every weekend feels like a mini vacation. If anyone wants to come see this little island paradise for themselves.. We are anxiously awaiting more guests!!
Speaking of guests, we had our first visitor stop by a few weeks ago. Ben's fraternity brother from college was traveling from Hong Kong to Tokyo (he's an international fish businessman 😝) and he decided to stop over to visit us over the weekend to see what Oki life is all about. Even though this was his mini vacation, Ben and I couldn't have been more thrilled to see an old friend. Not seeing any friends/family for half a year can really start to get to you!
Ben and I decided to take Jon on the classic Okinawa one-day cultural tour (according to us at least). We started our day off at Shuri Castle, undoubtly Okinawa's most famous historical site. Much like most things in Oki, it was obliterated during WWII, but was rebuilt to its originally form. This was easily my favorite historical site we've seen here to date, after looking at the pictures I'm sure you'll see why!
Next on our stop was to the Japanese Underground Naval Headquarters. The name speaks for itself! During WWII these headquarters were built deep underground and consisted of very narrow, dark tunnels. This was a very unsettling experience, especially since many Japanese soldiers committed suicide down there when they knew they were going to be overtaken. It's hard to even imagine that hundreds of people were crammed into these impossibly small tunnels without much awareness what was going on outside around them. The more I learn about the Battle of Okinawa, the more it continues to shock me and horrify me.
On a lighter note, we spent the rest of our day with Jon roaming around the ever famous Kokusai Street and American Village. A classic Okinawan day!
Totally unrelated to Jon being here, yesterday the weather was beautiful (besides the hellish humidity but we've slowly adapted) so Ben, Kevin and I checked out Katsuren Castle. Like every other Castle on this island, except for Shuri, it consisted of ruins where the walls once stood. Katsuren was worth the trip though because the view was unreal. Sometimes I seriously can't believe that I live on such a beautiful island!!!!
iLast but not least! The other weekend we took another trip (there's too much to see around here) to a park up north in Nago. It was built up a giant mountain which made driving pretty much our only option to see it all. There were some Castle ruins here as well as a beautiful suspension bridge. Overall a nice little outing.
Sorry for the longest post ever!!!! We're off to Taipei next weekend so I will definitely be anxious to post again next week 😁
We're Kara, Ben and baby Zoe also known as the Lesniaks. We’re a Marine Corps family currently stationed in Yorktown, Virginia after a three year tour in Okinawa, Japan. Enjoy our adventures, travels, photos, thoughts, and life together!
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