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February 19, 2018 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 5 Southern Attractions
For my last two days on Okinawa, I decided to visit some of the major and minor attractions found in Southern Okinawa, where most of the heaviest fighting occurred during World War 2. Today's post will not look at this subject - as that will be the focus of the next post. For today, I visited the following sites:
(1) Okinawa World (1240 yen for cave and craft village)
(2) Sefa Utaki (300 yen entry)
(3) Itokazu Castle Ruins
(4) Maekawa Higawa Springs
After visiting Naha City earlier in the day, my first stop in the afternoon was Okinawa World which costs 1240 yen to visit (Cave & Craft Village) and will do all it can to squeeze every last possible yen you have. It should be noted that the cave is excellent.
The cave is quite impressive and around 800 or so meters is open to the public. Like most caves, it is stiflingly humid which will often play havoc with most peoples camera lenses. For me - this did not happen today.
The cave itself will take around 30-40 minutes to walk through if there are no large tour groups visiting at the time. It was reasonably quiet when I visited which is something that I did not complain about.
Located at the cave exit is a small botanical gardens which includes some fruits and the like. Most people just walk straight past/through it without giving it a second look.
As mentioned above, this site has been specifically designed to allow you to have as many opportunities as possible to buy things. You can create glassware, pottery, dye clothes and lots of other things.
Unlike most craft villages, this one is almost entirely made up of stores. Plus it's possible to pay 640 yen to get into the store area!
My second stop for the afternoon was Sefa Utaki, one of the most important spiritual places on the island. Like most shrines and temples, there is the normal food/trinket street which can be seem above.
Like many of the sites visited, this one is also UNESCO listed. It costs 300 yen to enter and it's around a 20-30 minute leisurely walk there and back. Note that it can get a little slippery at times.
Like many places in Okinawa, it is very easy to see how dense the jungle can grow. It's much different than what I am used to in China or even compared to mainland Japan.
My third spot for the afternoon was Itokazu Castle Ruins which I visited just before sunset. Unlike most castles in Okinawa I have visited, this was on reasonably flat ground which is quite a rarity and does not allow for sweeping views.
It's a fair thing to say, but this castle is rarely visited and there are no facilities here apart from a gravel carpark and sign in Japanese/ English saying how to get here. It's interesting nonetheless...
On my fifth day in Okinawa, I wanted to get away from looking at the WW2 sites and drove past a sign for an air raid shelter. Being the hypocrite that I am, I followed the signs and noticed that it was more of a local springs which was different.
My highlight for this post is easily Sefa Utaki which is quite pretty. For my next post, I'll be visiting some of the WW2 sites including a major cave used as a hospital.
Okinawa World: http://www.gyokusendo.co.jp/okinawaworld/en/
Sefa Utaki: http://okinawa-nanjo.jp/sefa/en/