Semper Travel

Okinawa Bucket List

Okinawa Bucket List

We had a wonderful 3 years to explore Okinawa!  I didn’t start this blog until 1 year into our time here, so I’ll try to back-track and mention a few of our favorite things.

I love making lists, so this page was created to consolidate my Okinawa favorites, and make sure we see everything we can before our time here is up!

Do you have any other must-see or do activities?!  Comment below!  Thanks!

Also, remember to check Kadena ITT or MCCS Tours+ for discounted attraction tickets!

If you like hard-copy references, my friends have this book and I thought it was very informative!

To Do:

  • Manza ANA InterContinental Resort:  Visit for the day and play on the water bounce obstacles!  (Yes, it’s for adults too!)
    • Discounted tickets available through base ITT (3,500 yen for adults, 2,500 yen for kids).
    • During low tide, you cannot play on the obstacles, but you can enjoy the pool or netted ocean swimming area.
  • Bios on the Hill
    • Discounted tickets through MCCS Tours+ ($10 for adults, $6 for ages 4-12)
  • Forest Adventure Park
    • Discounted tickets through MCCS Tours+ ($29 for adults, $21 for ages 7-17).  Also have family packages available.
  • Gyokusendo Kingdom Village (caves, village, and habu museum)
    • Discounted tickets through MCCS Tours+ ($12 for adults, $6 for ages 4-15)
  • Round 1
  • Valley of Gangala (caves)
  • Manzamo Point and Toilet Bowl
  • Blue Cave Snorkeling in Onna
  • Annual Turtle Release  (Rumor has it that there’s a lottery for tickets to attend, and it sounds like only locals are included unless you’re invited.)
  • Sea Glass Beach
    • Apparently I went to Sand Dollar Beach, but they are near each other.
  • Restaurants to try:
    • Cafe Do Ka Do Ka
    • Cafe with an acai bowl
    • Ona Kau Kau

Completed:

  • Churaumi Aquarium (Expo Park)
    • Discounted tickets through MCCS Tours+ ($15 for adults, $10 for ages 16-17, $5 for ages 6-15).
    • We enjoyed the aquarium, especially the dolphin show, outside exhibits, and hands-on exhibits.
  • Japanese Naval Underground HQ
    • Discounted tickets through MCCS Tours+ ($3.50 for adults, $1.75 for ages 4-12)
  • Peace Memorial Park & Museum
  • Fukushen Garden
    • Beautiful gardens tucked into the busy downtown area of Naha.  A great location for a photoshoot.  Nearby you can also visit the Naminoue Shrine, which reminded me of many shrines in mainland Japan.
  • Naminoue Shrine
  • Shuri Castle
  • Hiji Falls
  • Tadake Falls (more enjoyable than Hiji, and free!)
  • Cape Hedo
  • Ikei Island
  • Sand Dollar Beach
  • Okuma Resort
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Kadena Marina
    • Not as thrilling as we had wanted.  Very slow-paced…
  • Ferry to Kerama Islands
    • Beautiful, calm beach.  (Ferry ride was a bit bumpy though.  I felt sea sick.)
  • Meade Point
    • Our favorite snorkeling location!  (Not the flats, go to the point, where the scuba divers go too.)
  • Orion Beer Factory
    • Free tours with samples!
  • Pineapple Park
    • Cheesy but fun.  Yummy food samples at the end.
  • Cherry Blossoms at Nakijin Castle
  • IE Island
    • The ferry is quick, but if you want to bring your car, make reservations in advance.  Car rentals on the island are very limited.  You could also rent a bike.  Taxis were NOT convenient.  It took 45-60 minutes to arrive each time we needed one.  While the island is surrounded by beautiful blue water, I wasn’t very impressed.  If you’re looking for a quiet getaway at the beach, this could be for you.  There are only a few options for the beach, the snorkeling was not good, but it was nice sand instead of coral reef.  We were looking for more adventure (snorkeling, hiking, activities, etc.).
  • Melody Road
  • Naha Tug of War
  • Naha Dragon Boat Races
  • Naha Fish Market
  • World Circus (visited Naha)
  • Kokusai Street, Naha
  • Okinawa World
    • We enjoyed the caves, habu show, and other attractions here more than at Ryukyu Mura.
  • Ryukyu Mura
  • Southeast Botanical Garden
    • We went for the Christmas light display.  Since we’re from the snowy midwest, it wasn’t too impressive.  They had a few scenes where you could take pictures.  I thought it was overpriced just to see some lights though.
  • Futenma Shrine
    • Tucked into the busy streets behind Foster is a traditional shrine resembling many of the shrines we saw in mainland Japan!
  • Nakagusuku Castle
  • Nakamurake House (traditional Okinawan House)
  • Katsuren Castle
  • Zanpa Light House & Shisha Dog
  • Roller slides at Tobaru Koen Park and Urasoe Park
  • Padi Open Water Drive Scuba Certified!
    • During our 2nd summer (2014) in Okinawa, we signed up for scuba class.  My husband finished it, but I burst both of my ear drums during the pool classes.  I had already completed the classroom work and 2 days in the pool, but I was in severe pain.  To make a long story shorter, 1 year later, with my doctor’s permission, I tried again.  My instructor was very nice, inviting me back to try again.  He met me to test my ears in the pool, and to my great surprise, I made it to the bottom with no problems!  I was 95% sure I would never be able to dive.  Today, 5 July 2015, I finished my 4th open water dive at Maeda Point and am officially a Padi certified open water scuba diver!  (I can go up to 60′ deep during daylight hours.)  I thought snorkeling was just as cool…the colors are just as bright snorkeling and you can see many of the same fish, but scuba diving is more fun than I expected!  The waves don’t push you around as much either, so I wasn’t as afraid being up close to the coral and fish!  (I had to be careful with my ears, but 1 helpful tip was to only descend vertically, feet first.  Do not go head first!)
  • Restaurants we tried:
    • Renaissance Resort Buffet
      • Delicious buffet with many options (pizza, sushi, desserts, and more).  We didn’t know there were discounted tickets ($23) through MCCS Tours+ for the lunch buffet, and there are coupons in certain magazines.
    • Pizza in the Sky
      • Delicious, cheesy, garlicy pizza with a great view!
    • Yakiniku Goen
      • Our absolute favorite Korean BBQ!
    • Hamazushi 100 Yen Sushi-Go-Round
    • Marukame
      • Delicious!
    • Coco De Bake
      • My favorite inexpensive convenience store bakery!
    • Sushi Zen
    • Blue Seal
    • Four Seasons Steak House
    • Hotto Motto
      • Delicious quick food.
    • Gajumaru (tree house restaurant)
      • I think it’s closed now.  It’s wasn’t very good anyway.
    • Sushi Gen
    • Newport Sushi
    • Tenkaippin
    • Climax Coffee
    • Arashi
  • Stores to see:
    • Don Quixote
    • 100 Yen (Daiso)

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