This week on Travel Tuesday, I am sharing a very brief itinerary of our 6-Days Okinawa free & easy self-drive trip with kids (aged 2 and 4) in June 2015. In the upcoming weeks’ Travel Tuesdays, I will share more Okinawa travel tips in greater details, so stay tuned!
Day 1: Naha Airport – Sun Marina Hotel Okinawa
We took a morning flight from Taipei and arrived at Naha airport at 12.30pm. By the time we collected our car from OTS Rent-A-Car and drove to Sun Marina Hotel Okinawa, it was almost 4pm.
Time was NOT to be wasted. The kids changed into their swimming costume immediately and couldn’t wait to hit the water!
Hand-in-hand, they navigated their way around the resort.
And we found our way to Sun Marina Beach! Our first taste of super clear and beautiful Okinawan sea.
After playing in the sand and sea, we proceeded to the resort’s swimming pool.
After we had enough of swimming and soaking in the water, we went back to the room to bath. We had some time to burn before dinner and went for an extremely scenic walk to the small lighthouse at the resort.
For dinner, we decided to dine at the Senses Dining Room within Sun Marina Hotel. The restaurant was one of the reason I chose to stay here. Because it had a play area for kids! If you are from Singapore and have been reading my blog, you would know I have an obsession with restaurants with play areas for kids. If you aren’t, you would know by the end of this post just how obsessed I am about them.
Day 2: Nago Pineapple Park, Okinawa Fruits Land, Renaissance Hotel Okinawa
We checked out of Sun Marina Hotel and drove to Cape Manzamo. Did I just get photobombed by a dragon fly???
Here’s a classic photo of Cape Manzamo, without being photobombed by insects.
You can also find Okinawa’s version of Meoto Iwa (夫婦岩 i.e. married couple rocks), where two rocks are joined by a heavy rope.
The walk around Cape Manza was pretty relaxing and easy even for the kids. It provided a good break for the restless kids enroute the 1 hour drive from Sun Marina Hotel to Nago Pineapple Park.
After we completed the scenic walk around Cape Manza and spent some time shopping at the souvenir shops around the parking lot, we drove on to Nago Pineapple Park.
We went on the electric cart ride around the pineapple park.
And not forgetting to indulge in some super YUMMY pineapple snacks.
Our next destination was Okinawa Fruits Land, which was right next door.
Okinawa Fruits Land was a super kids-friendly attraction that allowed children to learn about various fruits through an interactive mission.
After the kids completed the mission, it was time to snack again. The cafe at Okinawa Fruits Land was super kids-friendly! There was *ahem* a small play area and colouring activities to keep the kids occupied and happy.
After cooling off with the giant fruits parfait, we went for a quick lunch at the A&W nearby. (Those ice-creams we had prior to these were just snacks. We haven’t had a proper meal yet.)
After downing a coney dog and root beer float (how we Singaporeans miss those after A&W pulled out of Singapore), we drove to our next hotel: Renaissance Okinawa Resort.
Once we checked in, we spent some time orientating ourselves and planning our activities for the next 3 days. The resort was packed with LOADS of activities and we wanted to optimize our time there. We first went to find out what marine activities were available for our whole family (with children aged 2 and 4). The staff recommended the Coral Adventure Cruise and we were just in time for the next cruise!
After we completed the cruise, we went for a swim at the resort’s indoor pool.
For dinner, we went for buffet at Sailfish Cafe within the resort. This buffet-style restaurant was our favourite haunt for the next few days. Breakfast and lunch at Sailfish Cafe was included in our stay package. There was a kids buffet bar there.
And, *drum roll*, a kids playground right next to the kids buffet bar!
Day 3: Renaissance Okinawa Resort, Mihama American Village
We started the morning with breakfast at Sailfish Cafe. After that, we went for the morning yacht sailing at the resort.
After the yacht sailing, we went around the resort to look at the reef garden, sting rays, dolphins and turtles.
We had lunch at Sailfish Cafe and the little one went back to the room to nap. I brought the elder boy for an occupational experience as an Animal Keeper.
After that, we drove out to Maihama American Village for some shopping.
We watched the sunset at Sunset Beach and had dinner at the American Village before returning to the resort for the night.
Day 4: Renaissance Okinawa Resort, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, AEON Mall Okinawa Rycom
In the morning, we had breakfast at Sailfish Cafe before driving out to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.
The kids had a lot of fun checking out the marine life and watching the dolphin show at the aquarium.
We went back to Renaissance Okinawa Resort for lunch. After lunch, hubby brought the kids for a swim at the outdoor pool while I went for the Seabed Walk.
Next, MF went for another occupational experience as a Haryu Boat Cruise crew.
In the evening, we drove to the nearby capes to watch sunset. First, we visited Cape Maeda which was the nearest cape to Renaissance Resort Okinawa.
From there, we drove on to Cape Zanpa, a popular spot for watching sunset.
We then drove to the newly opened AEON Mall Okinawa Rycom for some shopping, playing and eating!
Day 5: Renaissance Okinawa Resort, Kokusai Dori
In the morning, we had breakfast at Sailfish Cafe and hubby brought the elder boy for a dolphin experience.
The little one and I were watching them from the dock when the little one saw the Haryu boats and said he wanted to ride it again. So off we went on the Haryu boat cruise again!
We returned from the Haryu boat cruise at the same time the dolphin experience ended. We went back to the room to bath, check out and drove on to our next hotel, Hotel New Okinawa, at Kokusai Dori.
After dropping off our luggage at the hotel, we spent the rest of the day exploring Kokusai Dori and its vicinity. We first visited Makishi Public Market nearby. We so love Japanese fish markets!
We enjoyed some gargantuan seafood! Like this shell the size of MY’s head.
And prawns the length of MY’s shoulder width!
And not forgetting a big tray of sashimi.
Kokusai Dori was a shopper’s paradise, with numerous souvenir shops and duty free shops. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We went to a restaurant called Burger Kids, which I highly recommend if you are at Kokusai Dori with kids. It operates semi-buffet style (you get a main dish and a buffet salad bar with free flow salad, fruits, drinks and dessert). And the best part: It has a play area for kids. HAHA!
Day 6: Home Sweet Home
We took a morning flight back to Taipei from Naha airport. And with that, we came to the end of our short but action-packed trip to Okinawa. Till next time, I am going to miss this beautiful island getaway!
This was our first trip to Okinawa and there were things I would have done differently if I were to plan this trip all over again.
Firstly, we should have spent 2 nights at Nago area, from which we could visit Nago Pineapple Park, Okinawa Fruits Land, Churaumi Aquarium and Ryugujo Butterfly Garden with minimum driving to and fro. Visiting Churaumi Aquarium from Renaissance Resort, which was a 1.5 hours drive away, was a BAD idea. A reader advised us to reach Churaumi very early to beat the crowd, which meant we had to wake up super early to have breakfast at the hotel before making the 1.5 hours drive to the aquarium. We also rushed back to the resort for lunch because it was provided in our stay package and we didn’t want to waste it. We should have spent 2 whole days at Nago area before moving to Renaissance Resort. I spotted a Super Hotel at Nago which would have been a good budget option for exploring the area.
Secondly, because we had an early flight to catch and had to return our rental car at 6am, we should have stayed at a hotel near the car rental outlet for our final night. This would have allowed us an hour’s more sleep.
There was a lot more to explore in Okinawa that we did not have time for. But like Hokkaido, it would probably take a few trips to be able to cover the various areas. This trip was a typical first timer touch-and-go trip to explore the most touristy attractions. Okinawa is definitely a place I would love to visit again to explore in depth.
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