Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Okinawa City and America Town

I have been searching for information on other things to do from Nago and found this blog for a tour guide, which gave all sorts of useful information about Okinawa which I wish I had known before...http://blog.livedoor.jp/marshcnet/

We spent most of the day on buses and it cost a fortune ( 3 people X NZ$60 return trip by bus). We went from Nago  to Okinawa City first and it took 1hr 15mins, all I can say is 'don't bother'. After over an hour of passing American army bases we got to Okinawa City which seems to have been badly hit by the recession, or maybe it just closes up for the winter. No-one in the tourism ofice spoke any English but we managed to get a timetable for the free bus which does a circuit of Okinawa City. Didn't see any reason to get off the bus but the zoo might have been Ok if the kids had been younger. The zoo is at the stop labelled (on the English timetable) 'Children's Playground'.

I did find some nice pieces of kasuri fabric in the shopping street near Goya bus stop (also opposite tourist information).

From there we went to Mihama/America Village on the other side of the island. Pretty deserted, very American. Complete contrast to Okinawa City. Didn't stay long. No-one in the tourist office spoke English - they had to call Okinawa 2 Go, Tourist information 098-916-6180 who translated the bus information to us which was great except that we were specifically told that our bus (number 120) would not go past the Ryukyu Mura park that we wanted to visit. We were sitting on the bus when we heard it anounced by the onboard bus info system so we hopped off the bus and found it was a lovely place worth visiting. The bus trip up the West coast to Nago was much nicer than the trip down the East Coast past the army bases. That coast is all prettified and covered in resort hotels, nice beaches and cute eateries.

My recommendation for Okinawa? Stay in Naha! If there is more than one of you, hire a car.

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