Oh, Okinawa. Where do I begin?
Well, we love you. Crystal clear water, dramatic land formations jutting out of the sea, unique wildlife, whale sharks, and American and Okinawan World War II history. You are breathtaking!
Steve’s grandfather landed in the front lines of Okinawa during world war II, storming the beaches with his fellow countrymen. He experienced absolute horror, and yet was surrounded by jungles of natural beauty. He always told Steve that he thought Okinawa was beautiful and wanted to go back after the war. Who would have thought that 80 years later his grandchildren and great grandchildren would be snorkeling on those same beaches!? That’s wild to think about.
Part of the reason we chose Japan was just to experience Okinawa. Okinawa is a two hour plane ride south of mainland Japan. (Our flight had SO much turbulence that even Steve was a tiny bit nervous at one point…this was a such crazy adventure!)
Going from a springtime climate on mainland Japan – which was similar to home – we suddenly found ourselves in 85 degree heat on a gorgeous tropical island in the South China Sea! It was SO amazing.
We stayed at the Hotel InterContinental Okinawa – we had two double beds and a small pull out bed for Adelaide. The bathrooms were SO nice! A DEEP soaking tub with ocean views!
The hotel had a private beach with designating swimming areas, and two pools overlooking the sea.
Frankie did a great job snorkeling on the shores of Tokashiki Island, a small outer island off of Okinawa. (we took the most terrifying boat ride of my LIFE to get there – yeah I thought we were going to sink)
I can honestly say that these beaches were among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen – the only thing that came slightly close was Hanalei Bay in Kauai.
When Steve and I travel, we often like to carve out days to explore and see where the road takes us. In fact it’s one of our favorite things to do when traveling in new places, exploring without an itinerary. One of those days was to venture out to Sesoko Island, another small island off of Okinawa. We found the MOST beautiful beach with caves overlooking the sea!
Then we spent a few days at an incredibly comfortable AirBnb in heart of Naha, the major city in Okinawa. Naha is FUN. ALIVE, and full of culture, phenomenal food, and the most welcoming laid back people we’ve ever met. We made friends with a shop owner across the street from our AirBnb and her sweet 3 year old daughter Nona.
Every morning and every night Nona was there to greet us! The kids played together – and once again – speaking different languages didn’t matter at all!
The people were so kind, fun, and genuine. Steve did his usual escape (towards the end of every trip we take he likes to wander off on his own and see what happens!) and naturally he ended the night toasting new friends and having seafood hand fed him by the owner of a small authentic eatery. (obviously Steve was both the tallest and the whitest person there!!) Regardless he ended the night with good friends and a story. And I somehow had facebook friend requests from random Japanese men whom Steve had befriended!
Okinawa, arigato for your JOY, beauty, and hospitality!! We LOVE you!