After mulling this over for a while, I've finally gotten around to writing what I consider to be the top ten reasons to visit Okinawa. Since arriving on this tiny subtropical island, I've fallen quite in love with the wide variety of actives and experiences that Okinawa offers. Whether you're into lazily vacationing on the beach, indulging in fine Japanese cuisine, singing karaoke until the wee hours of the morning, or river trekking to jungle waterfalls-there's an Okinawa trip for you. If you're my family member or friend: please visit us! If you've just happened to stumble onto this page: definitely put Oki on your travel bucket list! If you're a military family: Okinawa should absolutely be on your PCS wish list! Regardless of who you are, Okinawa is absolutely worth the long haul flight and hopefully these ten reasons will convince you to come and experience this remarkable island.
Ben and I travelled somewhat far North today to the Motobu Peninsula (also called Nago) to see a garden. An hour+ long drive to see some flowers may sound extreme, but Mrs. Uto Yohena's hydrangea garden is unlike any you've ever seen before. For the past 32 years, Mrs. Yohena has worked hard expanding and growing her impressive home garden. She began by cultivating a tangerine field, soon adding hydrangeas and other flowers throughout time, and eventually her garden grew to the massive size it is today.
Nothing gets me more excited than an authentic Okinawan experience. Living, working and shopping on base has me occasionally forgetting that I live in ASIA of all places... Due to overly American weeks, Ben and I have recently been more and more interested in Okinawan and Japanese culture. That desire brought us to Naminoue Shrine in downtown Naha (Okinawa's largest city) this past weekend. Unfortunately, like most other historic sites in Okinawa, Naminoue was completely obliterated during the Battle of Okinawa. Fortunately, like most other historic sites in Okinawa, it was rebuilt! The new and improved Shrine is absolutely stunning (as you'll see in the pictures). The bright red structure was a shocking contrast against a rare bright blue Okinawan sky. Gold ornaments shimmered in the bright sun and the intricate details of Naminoue were as clear as day. Okinawa spared no attention to craftsmanship when rebuilding this shrine
Recently, I decided that it was time to knock off one much-anticipated tourist attraction off of my Okinawa bucket-list: Pineapple World. "What on earth is Pineapple World?" You might ask, well, it is literally a theme park about Pineapples. If there is one thing I've learned about Okinawans, it's that they are very passionate about this prickly fruit.
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.
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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