Earlier this year during CNY, I was planning to visit Okinawa via Bangkok using budget airlines. Then Jetstar started their direct flight service so it was a no brainer to fly from BKK.
In the end, I visited Koh Tao Island (link) during CNY and bought direct flight to Okinawa for May. I try to avoid the peak period which is also the typhoon season.
There are many blogs on Okinawa but mostly in Chinese so I decided to blog a quick entry, citing the important need-to-know details.
The red-eye flight arrived at Naha airport about 8ish in the morning. I collected my GoGo pass at the airport and proceeded to locate the car rental staff, then directed me to the free shuttle bus to the car rental company, about 15mins drive away.
PS: I will update this blog with more photos later. Yes it has been updated. TQVM
What’s GoGo pass?
It is a pass whereby I can visit several places of interests at a discounted price. I bought the GoGo pass + Churaumi Aquarium for about $35/pax (very worth it!). Else I would have to pay 6430yen/pax for everything. I visited all the places of interests except for the Southeast Botanical Garden which was not in line of my driving plan.
Car Rental & GPS
The staff at the car rental company speaks English and you have to read some traffic signs explanation and re-confirm your drop-off location. Depending on which drop-off location, the staff will advise you the nearest petrol station to pump petrol before returning the car.
The GPS installed in the car was easy to use and accurate. But first, ask the staff to change the language to English for you. As for the location, you can enter the map-code (if you have), else the phone number of the destination will be easier.
For example, you search for Churaumi Aquarium on Google Map and it will shows you the telephone number as +81 980-48-3748, you just have to enter 0-980-48-3748 onto the GPS.
>> Picture above showing directions to Neo Park
One of my destinations, which is my hotel at Nago, does not work so I just use Google Map for directions and it is accurate too.
Here is an overview of my 4D3N driving plan:
After collecting the rental car, took the expressway towards Nago and the toll was 640yen (paid in cash). The maximum speed was 80kmh and it was an easy drive.
We went for lunch at Nakamura Soba (+81 98-966-8005, enter 0 98-966-8005 onto GPS)
then visited Cape Manzamo, 5 mins drive away (+81 98-966-1280, enter 0 98-966-1280 onto the GPS)
After, we proceeded towards Nago area. We visited Neo Park (+81 980-52-6348, enter 0 980-52-6348 onto GPS)
then Okinawa Fruitsland (+81 980-52-1568, enter 0 980-52-1568 onto GPS)
then Pineapple Park (+81 980-53-3659 enter 0 980-53-3659 onto GPS).
Nearby Pineapple park, there was this hundred thousand years old house which was a restaurant: Ufuya (+81 980-53-0280, enter 0 980-53-0280 onto GPS). Their dinner opening hours began at 6pm and we wanted to reach there before 6pm. But we only reached at about 6.15pm then we proceeded to take a Q number. The estimated waiting time was 80mins but we got our seats 30 mins later. We ordered their specialty Agu Pork Shabu Shabu and it was available despite with no reservations. It was delicious.
A word of caution
Getting to Ufuya was not as easy because it was driving into a bendy hill road. When we finished our dinner at about 8ish, the skies was already dark and the bendy hill road was of low visibility. So please switch on your high beam and drive slowly.
We then proceeded to check into Mr Kinjo at Nago using Google Map because the phone number does not generate a destination on the GPS. It was a fantastic property and we booked it for $40ish per night. The parking was 1000yen per night.
We booked this place because we wanted to visit the Churaumi Aquarium on the next morning which was about 30mins drive away.
We left Mr Kinjo at Nago around 9+, went to Churaumi Aquarium (+81 980-48-3748, you just have to enter 0-980-48-3748 onto the GPS), for whale shark and dolphin show.
We watched the Dolphin show at 1pm then made our way back to the car park.
A Tip for you
Please park at P7 Parking Lot which is nearest to Churaumi Aquarium entrance.
From Churaumi Aquarium, we visited the Ryugujo butterfly park (+81 980-48-3456, enter 0 980-48-3456 onto the GPS) nearby.
Then on the way down south, we stopped by the souvenir shop http://www.okashigoten.co.jp (+81 98-982-3388, enter 0 98-982-3388 onto the GPS). It was actually nearby the Nakamura Soba.
Then we proceeded to visit Ryukyu Village (+81 98-965-1234, enter 0 98-965-1234 onto the GPS). Over here, if you have time you can also visit the Blue Cave & Cape Maeda.
Then we visited Murasaki Mura (+81 98-958-1111, enter 0 98-958-1111 onto the GPS) and you can also visit Cape Zanpa if you have time.
Then we went to American Village (+81 98-936-6333, enter 0 98-936-6333 onto the GPS).
Finally we proceeded to Naha for check in at Hotel WBF Art Stay. Their parking was just besides the hotel at 1000yen per night. You will have to pay at the hotel reception; else you pay at the car park exit for 300yen/hr parking. You can also park slightly further away for 750yen per day parking. The hotel can provide you with more information. This hotel was in a good location, within walking distance to Donki/Pablo/Macdonalds and the walking street. The hotel was also 10mins walk away from the Makishi station.
We left the hotel around 11+am, went to Okinawa World (+81 98-949-7421, enter 0 98-949-7421 onto the GPS), paid 700yen/pax extra (excluded in GoGo pass) to visit the Gyokusendo caves, watched Eisa Dance at 2.30pm.
>> you will have to go down stairs to the cave then is a flat ground to stroll through the cave. At the end of road, there is an escalator to bring you back to the ground.
then went to Ashibinaa Outlet Mall (+81 98-891-6000, enter 0 98-891-6000 onto the GPS).
Finally we headed back to return the rental car by 8pm at Kokusai-dori, nearby Hotel WBF Art Stay. As advised by the car rental, we pumped up petrol nearby Omoromachi Station then returned car at CARGOES Shopping near Makishi station.
A Tip for you
At the petrol station, the pump attendant will assist you. You just have to inform him you want to pump regular petrol for full tank. S/he will ask if you want to pay cash. Then you will pay him/her cash on the spot. S/he will go to the cashier on your behalf and then return you the change. Please retain the receipt as the car rental may ask for proof of pumping petrol.
Driving in Okinawa
On expressway, the maximum speed is 80kmh.
On other roads, mostly 50kmh and some can be 30-40kmh. Some of the other roads can go up to be 60kmh. If you think you have miss a turn, you can make a left turn and turn one round to go back. Else if the traffic allows, you can make a 3-point turn. Else but not if, turn into some parking area and turn towards the correct direction.
Most of the roads are one way and the traffic lights can change back to red very quickly.
Be prepared to go slow because there are many downslopes and curves.
A Tip for you
Always stop for pedestrian crossing and signal early, the other drivers will allow you to pass through.
Parking in Okinawa
For our trip, we only paid 2000yen for parking which was for the two nights parking at hotels. All the places of interests, shopping areas and restaurants have free parking
On our departure day, we asked the reception to call us a taxi to go to the Naha Airport. The estimated fare was 2000yen and we only paid 1530yen and only took us 10mins.
I hope the above information can give you a quick overview.
For now, I am planning for my next trip whereby I can include more sea activities.
Pls weigh your luggage before checking in at the airport. This is because you will need to screen your check in luggage before checking in. You are not allowed to repack after screening.
|Summary of places||Telephone No. to enter onto GPS|
|1||Nakamura Soba||0 98-966-8005|
|2||Cape Manzamo||0 98-966-1280|
|3||Neo Park||0 980-52-6348|
|4||Okinawa Fruitsland||0 980-52-1568|
|5||Pineapple Park||0 980-53-3659|
|7||Churaumi Aquarium||0 980-48-3748|
|8||Ryugujo butterfly park||0 980-48-3456|
|9||Souvenir shop http://www.okashigoten.co.jp||0 98-982-3388|
|10||Ryukyu Village||0 98-965-1234|
|11||Murasaki Mura||0 98-958-1111|
|12||American Village||0 98-936-6333|
|13||Okinawa World||0 98-949-7421|
|14||Ashibinaa Outlet Mall||0 98-891-6000|