Sunday 15 January – Tuesday 17 January
We arrived in Okinawa, Naha at about 6:25pm and well the first thing I noticed in Okinawa was the temperature, felt like a Brisbane winter. I was quite excited and pumped for what Okinawa had in store for me. After leaving the airport we mono-railed it to our hotel the Toyoko Inn and upon receiving my membership card and our rooms we left for dinner across the street. It was a little Izakaya called Yanbarukuina「ヤンバルクイナ」. dinner and drinks were a lot of fun and once we had stuffed ourselves we decided to split into two groups as some people wanted to go karaoke and others were happy to just chill in the hotel lobby for drinks. As I was a little tired, I decided to stay at the hotel with the others, we drank and had a good time and much to the receptionist’s relief, eventually relocated upstairs to the party room.
The next morning we travelled to Shuri by monorail to visit to Shuri castle「首里城」(Shurijō). I was very excited to see my first Japanese castle and the trip there was splendid as we got to see a lot of the city on the way.
Upon arriving in Shuri we made our way down to the castle past the University into the gardens where we could then see the castle. It was very beautiful around the exterior wall with its gardens and stone work, it was quite crowded as well with many other Chinese tourists gathered around. I found the castle quite interesting as the design of the castle was heavily influenced by Chinese and Japanese architecture, the castle also served as the home of many kings and the center of the Ryukyu Kingdom. In December, 2000 Shuri castle was designated as a World Heritage Site, the 11th Heritage site in Japan.
Once we left Shuri, we made our way to Kokusai-dōri 「国際通り」where we had a delicious lunch and then spent some free time on the streets. We ended up being pulled aside by a Japanese TV program that had a man dress in a goat costume handing out free samples of food and asking for an opinion and a verdict on how it taste, sadly I didn’t get a photo.
We all met up at the hotel later where we then made our way to a restaurant called To~ubarāma 「とぅばらーま」there we had dinner, live music and celebrated Ashley’s birthday.
It was a really fun night with everyone that was followed by more party room antics and then bed. The next day would be traveling to Moon Beach for the next part of our Okinawa stay.