I'll admit, posting about Nakijin Castle is very overdue since we visited this site just about a month ago. With Ben being gone the past three weeks, life has been quite hectic! I'm balancing both work, which has been crazy since my boss recently resigned, and maintaining a household by myself which is way more responsibility than I imagined (I've never lived alone.) Not to mention, the past two weekends we were hit by typhoons. The first was minor, but the second left me without power for 10 hours, without any water for 24 hours and without potable water for another 24!
Needless to say, this past month has been anything but ideal to get in some blogging time. But alas, it's finally an uneventful weekend which means I can actually get around to writing about this stunning castle and overall great trip with Ben! He is hopefully coming home soon (but who really knows) so I am really looking forward to some new adventures with my buddy when he gets back.
There were mixed emotions as Ben and I visited our last castle in Okinawa. Bopping around from castle to castle has been a favorite pastime of ours, so knowing that after visiting Nakijin there would be no new ones to explore was saddening (Okinawa problems, am I right?) Luckily for us, our final castle definitely did not disappoint for our grand finale. Nakijin Castle was well maintained, had a visitors center with hundreds of artifacts, was situated seaside with a killer view, and had all of the amenities you could possibly need i.e. bathroom, air conditioned "resting" room, vending machines, etc. and let's be real, when you're hours away from home in the baking sun these sort of things are a must!
As you can tell from the pictures below, my absolute favorite part of this castle were the breathtaking views from the top. Coral reef spilt the ocean into two distinct halves: the shallow, aqua blue coastal waters and the navy blue deeper sea. When you're down on the beach, you don't get as great of a view of these distinct sections that are created by coral breakers. Seeing this from a birds eye view is so much more gratifying, I took an absurd amount of photos of the same exact view just because I couldn't stop obsessing about how pretty the water looked.
My only gripe about this castle, which really isn't it's fault, was how hellishly hot it got once the sun came out in full force. We were decently above sea level which meant more powerful sun rays and sub sequentially hotter temperatures. Admittedly, I hurried through the castle grounds because I could feel my pasty white sunscreen-less skin burning. If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I avoid the sun at all costs possible so being this exposed made me very antsy to seek shelter. In classic Okinawa fashion, the weather was my greatest complaint.
After Nakijin Castle we made a couple of pit stops on our way home. One was at an absolutely adorable bubblegum pink building. We had originally intended on getting smoothies there since it's a café but unfortunately it was closed. I really enjoyed the perfectly pink exterior though so I'm glad we were able to stop by for a little and take a few photos. On our way back down South, we also visited Cape Manza for the first time. At this point in the day, the sun was setting behind the famous elephant shaped cliff which made it hard to see so Ben and I are planning on going back another day to get a better look.
During this trip we also visited Fruit Land, a fruit themed activity park which was also on the way home from the castle. Ben and I were reallyyyyyy confused about this place. We expected endless lush vegetation and fruits growing from every corner of the park, but this place turned out to be primarily a scavenger hunt for kids. The idea was that you walk around the area looking for clues about an "fairy" or something of the sort. Truthfully, I didn't really pay too much attention to this activity so I really have no idea what the goal was; I'm definitely not a fan of children's entertainment...
My advice for anyone wanting to visit this place is DON'T. It was expensive, underwhelming, and I was pretty upset by the conditions that their tropical birds were kept in. The only redeeming part about this place was that we got a top notch pineapple smoothie afterwards, one of the few fruits we actually saw in all of Fruit Land.
This was clearly a very eventful day for Ben and I. Sometimes we are a little too ambitious, but it's really hard to not stop at every point of interest since we're always craving a new adventure. I'm not sure if this will be confusing or not so bear with me, but Ben and I describe Okinawa as one big gray map and every time we visit another site or area a little bit of that map gets colored in (kind of like those scratch off maps used for countries you've visited.) If this imaginary map we talk about was real, I'm sure it'd be over 75% colored in by now! We made it our mission since day one in Okinawa to see every square inch of this island before we eventually moved and I'm excited that our goal is most definitely going to become reality within our last 16 month here. Until next time!
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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