Delayed but not Dissapointed
If you are looking for a beautiful setting, peaceful island and temperate swimming water then Okuma Beach in Okinawa is a great family destination. We arrived in Okinawa after a one night layover in Shanghai. A sprawling city, we only had time to see the panda bears at the zoo. We dashed from the zoo to the airport and took a short flight to Okinawa.
Unfortunately, more than half of our luggage had yet to be located, Jared was the only one to have his bag. So, due to the extreme weather delay that set our whole trip back one day, and then time spent looking for the missing luggage, we lost a whole day in Okinawa. We were determined to make the most of it. We were hoping for a scenic drive as we made our way to the Okuma Beach Resort at the north of the island, but sadly it was dark so we drove slowly through the winding roads. The speed limit is VERY slow compared to Utah, so the drive took longer than we thought it would.
The reason for our trek to the northern part of the island, on such limited time, was to visit Okuma Beach Resort. It is a section of seaside land with cottages and beach-front rooms for military families. Because we were there in April, it was quiet and peaceful.
We spent the first day mostly shopping for clothes because we had no change of clothes or swim suits. Luckily, there was a JAL (Japan Airlines) resort nearby with a nice shop, even if it was a little pricey. I say luckily, because this part of Okinawa is a beautiful and sleepy oceanside area, but that also means there are not a lot of places to shop.
The next day was Aria’s birthday! Jared went out with Aria to the beach bright and early and they collected a lovely assortment of seashells. She had wanted to get up to have the beach all to herself, which wasn’t too hard considering the weather was still a little cold for beach activities. We ate a yummy breakfast at the resort restaurant and we gave her a little gift of some cute porcelain kitties I picked up in an Okinawa Airport Gift Shop.
At the Okuma Beach Resort, you can rent bikes, kayaks, boats and all sorts of great beach stuff. We rented a bike where the front seat bicyclers pedal, and the back had seats for the kids to ride. We took a tour of the area, and found a small trail to hike that lead to a great view of the rocky cliffs and blue water.
Aria insisted that we get sushi for her birthday dinner. We tried to locate something nearby, but the town was so small and quaint that we didn’t find what we were looking for. It was a little hard to tell where the restaurants were, because the writing was all in Japanese. And it seems normal in Japan to put a type of curtain over the window so you can’t really see what is inside, a business or a home.
We ended up driving about an hour away to a shopping area with a large mall. On the upper level was a selection of restaurants and we were excited to find a conveyor belt sushi restaurant! The kids enjoyed picking a new plate of sushi as it went by and our stacks of plates piled higher. As the parents, our eyes popped out as the waitress totaled up the plates and our final bill, yikes! At least it was good!
Short and Sweet Okuma Beach Time
The next morning we were determined to squeeze in one last activity, so we rented two wave runners. With the spring weather, it was a little overcast and windy, but we all felt just fine since we also were able to use wet suits. The wind made the wave running even more exciting because we had very choppy water to play around on and get some (small) air.
With time short we rushed back to our room and packed up to drive to the airport (which is also a beautiful airport, completely filled with orchids!). We were all quite sad that we didn’t have more time to explore the island. There were quite a few hikes that sounded great, the pineapple farms, and day trips to nearby islands that are known to have great scuba diving and whale watching. Sadly, our time was up!
A Destination Worth a Return Trip
We really want to come back to Okuma Beach Resort in the summer. Although it probably won’t be a quiet beach travel then, I can just imagine all the kids running around and meeting those fun but fleeting ‘vacation friends’. That’s one of the hard things about doing a lot of traveling, you want to go on the the next adventure, but some of the places that you visit hold such great memories that you want to go and do it all over again!