Hungry for some ancient Okinawan culture with a taste of terror? Kin Kannon-Do Temple and cave is the place for you! This tiny, easy to miss historical site features a modest Buddhist Temple which was built in 1668, although the Buddhist site itself was founded in 1552. The structure is surprisingly original, having managed to avoid damage during the Battle of Okinawa. For the past 464 years Kin-Kannon Do has actively been used as a prayer site, as well as a location for funerals and weddings. When you walk up to the structure, there are no windows nor doors, just an opening in the wall which lets you view the religious artifacts and ritual items. You can kneel and pray (shoes off!) whenever and as frequently as you want, although it is customary to go four times a month.
Okinawa's Southeast Botanical Gardens is an interesting little attraction located just behind our neighboring Air Force Base. On a beautiful summer Sunday, which also happened to be the first weekend after the rainy season, this place was curiously dead. Sure, it was nearing 90 degrees and yeah, the humidity made us sweat through all of our clothing in a matter of minutes, but this is Okinawa... Isn't the weather always a bit unbearable?? I can't complain though, having the park to ourselves was a dream. It was unbelievably quiet and peaceful which made for a perfect intimate Sunday outing.
So much has changed in the past 90 days. When we first arrived to Okinawa on March 18th I was nervous, confused, and scared. I had never lived outside of Pennsylvania nor had I ever even been to Asia, I had very few experiences being on a military base let alone living on one, and I had never been faced with the task of putting an entire apartment together from scratch without Target or reliable online shopping. My only real confidence came from the fact that after two years, Ben and I were ending our long distance logistical nightmare and our dream of living together was finally coming true... It just so happened that it would be on a microscopic Japanese island in the middle of nowhere. I guess beggars can't be choosers?
A weekend of very ugly weather put a damper (pun intended) on our plans for the weekend. Instead of hiking mountains and exploring hidden beaches, for most of Saturday and Sunday we sought shelter in our apartment from the constant downpour. During a brief break in the deluge, Ben and I decided to escape the house and get some fresh air wherever we could. We took out our handy map of Okinawa that shows us every park, beach, scuba spot, museum, historical site, etc. on the island and determined that checking out Cape Zanpa would be a quick little excursion.
This past weekend started out a bit rough... Although the weather couldn't have been more perfect, Ben was stuck at work until 2:30 pm on Saturday which kind of killed our chances for a beach day. Not wanting to waste the rest of the perfect weather, we made the spontaneous decision to head up North about an hour and 15 minutes away to Tadake Waterfall. We realized that hanging out in the shady jungle in the cool waters of a river was probably a better option than baking out in the sun and oppressing humidity anyway.
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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