November 14-21, 2018
This dreamy archipelago was not originally in our list. But flights from Fukuoka to Naha and then to Taipei were together cheaper than any direct flight. So we quickly decided to put Okinawa in our bucket list for at least one week. It is not much time, and we were also concerned about the cost of accommodation and potential boat trips. Luckily, a brand new trailer houses camp for less than 20 USD per night hit our eyes on Airbnb. We immediately agreed to stay an entire week on the main island in the city of Nakijin. Having such a beautiful cottage with own bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room, terrace… it sounded like heaven after two months of sleeping in a tent, car, dorms… We planned to take boat trips to the nearby islands as well, but it never happened since there was always something to do. Or we just wanted to do nothing one or two days and enjoy our new home. Nakijin was a pleasant town with a supermarket, few places to eat and one excellent bakery. Every day we bought there, as a minimum, two fresh doughnuts.
From Naha airport, it was an easy but long bus journey to reach Nakijin (3 hours, 1900 JPY). From there we were lucky to catch a free bus on its way to Kourijima island. The bus driver even slightly modified his route to get us directly to our accommodation. Great to save 2km with backpacks.
In the next few days, we used the free bus twice. First, to get to Kourijima island itself, which was a nice trip. Famous stone hearts beach at the northern side of the island was a little bit crowded but still OK. And the second time, for a trip to Nakijin Castle. Vast ruins overlooking the sea. There we relaxed and soaked into water for a while at the nearby empty beach.
One day we spend exploring a beach close to our place. Just hanging around, swimming in the sea, swinging on a swing and mainly observing hundreds and thousands of little crabs at the deserted beach. Crabs were super cute, but a little bit shy. Another day we went to Sesokojima island and its white sand beach. One thing that surprised us was a half-finished structure of an enormous hotel. That time under demolition. We found out that this ambitious project bankrupt during the 2009 crisis. Things get moving just recently with new owner and Hilton should be built in there in a few years. I cannot decide whether it is better for the beach to have an empty and ruined concrete torso or big posh hotel full of tourists.
There is one thing that the Motobu peninsula is famous for. And you also should not miss that. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Despite the hoards of tourists, it is still very worth to visit. And surprisingly, low in price (standard 1,800 JPY, discounted ticket at Lawsons for 1,600 JPY). Moreover, the ticket is needed only for the aquarium itself. The entire Ocean Expo Park is for free! That includes dolphin show (we don’t like it in principle), manatee and turtle aquarium and tropical arboretum. We also recommend paying for Tropical Dream Center (50% discount with Aquarium ticket). It is a very calm place with plenty of flora and minimum visitors. Since it was not far from Nakijin, we also rejuvenated our hitchhiking skills while travelling back to our base camp 🙂
I think that’s pretty all what we did there. As you see one week is almost nothing. If there is any next time, we would like to rent a car and explore more the island or go to other smaller and more secluded islands.