Okinawa, Part 2: A Travel Diary

(See page 2 for the German version)

Like I have written in my previous blog post, I have wanted to visit Okinawa since a long time already. I even secretly dreamt about buying a house there and forever escaping my stressful everyday life 😉 Anyway, we recently (finally) travelled to Ishigaki, one of the Islands of Okinawa, which lies nearly 2,000 kilometers south of Tokyo.

Here is my little travel diary:

Saturday
After our Haneda – Naha – Ishigaki – flight and more than 4 hours of travelling we eventually checked into our hotel room at Hotel Nikko Yaeyama , which was nicely luxurious for Japanese standards, with large rooms, a great view and a hotel pool. Because of the heat, 33 degrees with very high humidity, and caffeine and sleep deprivation I first had to rest a little bit due to a very bad headache, but then nothing kept us in our in hotel room anymore, and we drove with a rental car about 6km to Fusaki beach. As soon as I could dig my feet in the sand, I immediately got into summer vacation mood: Yay, we were on Ishigaki (and everything looked just as beautiful as promised in our guide books)! In the evening we tried a few Okinawa specialties for dinner and naturally also ordered various Goya (bitter melon) dishes.

Sunday:
Today we went to Taketomi Island on a ship; it is a very small island, about 4 km from Ishigaki, and only about 300 people live there, but it attracts tons of tourists every day. On Taketomi Island there can still be found Okinawa’s original and typical cute little houses that have red tiled roofs and are surrounded by small stone walls. Another main tourist attraction are the water buffalo carts that carry tourists around the island. We borrowed bicycles and explored the island, while enduring the hot midday heat. Of course we couldn’t miss Kaiji Beach, which is famous for its ‘star sand’ (in the sand there are small pebbles, which have the shape of stars), – and what can I say, I was absolutely blown away by the beautiful turquoise sea and the crystal clear sea water there! Since this officially is not a beach for swimming, we went to the next nice beach nearby (although it was not quite as stunning as Kaiji beach), and refreshed ourselves in the pleasantly warm water. Again, the water was very clear and so flat that you could walk far out into sea.

Monday:
Today we went snorkeling, which was a first time for me! Since this deserves its own blog post, I will write more about this experience, soon.

Tuesday:
Already our last day on Ishigaki! All too soon, if you ask me … we started our day slowly and relaxed, and enjoyed the delicious hotel buffet breakfast one last time. As a souvenir for our apartment back home we painted two small shisa – figurines and bought souvenirs for colleagues and friends in Ishigaki’s midtown shopping area. Afterwards, we went to a small observation deck called Tamadorizaki, I took a few last photos, and then unfortunately we had to make our way back to the airport already, to catch our flight to Tokyo.

Okinawa, I already miss you!

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