Today was absolutely beautiful here in Okinawa, mostly sunny with temps around 70 degrees, so I decided to head out for my first Japan adventure that didn’t involve food! I chose Onna as my destination because it is relatively close, described as a popular seaside resort town, and located on 58 – which is one of only two roads I know.
My initial plan was to get to Onna Village, park, and wander around a bit, but once I got there I hit horrible traffic and couldn’t read any of the signs (the further north you go, the less English you see). I was still driving around looking for a place to park when I saw a sign for Manzamo. I had read this is a popular sightseeing spot and has a view of a cliff that looks like an elephant’s trunk, so of course I had to stop. As promised, it really did look like an elephant’s trunk!
As I followed the path along the cliff and glanced north, I thought I saw…wait…could it be? An inflatable park in the water?? Why, yes it was! My first thought was, please let this be open to adults, and after a quick Google search when I got home I learned that it is! Guess who will be making a visit there this summer? (I know it is a little tricky to see, so here is a link if you want to see a close-up: http://www.japanupdate.com/2015/03/manza-beach-resort-offers-great-fun-for-everyone/).
My next stop was Okashi Goten, which is advertised as one of the most famous souvenir shops on Okinawa. They specialize in sweets made with sweet purple potatoes, and since sweet potatoes and sugar are two of my favorite things, why not swing by?
It turned out to be a pretty cool store, and the best part was they had samples out for most of their treats! They sure know how to win me over. I figured it was only right to buy something since I basically had a second lunch on the samples, so I settled on purple sweet potato chips (delicious), brown sugar and coconut milk covered macadamia nuts (different – I’m still undecided), and a pound of an Okinawa-roasted coffee (TBD – I’ll let you know tomorrow morning!). They also had several pieces of Ryukyu glass. The art of glass-making is very popular on Okinawa, and I have quickly fallen in love with the locally made products! I was tempted to grab a piece or two while I was there, but want to wait until I go somewhere that specializes in glass and has more selection so I resisted.
I was completely caught up in my tastings and Ryukyu glass and somehow I almost missed the best part of the store – the view! I looked up from one of the displays to see this…
Stunning, and way too hard for me to resist, so after I paid for my stuff I wandered down to the beach. I kicked off my shoes and dipped my toes in the water, but despite what I had been told about year-round warm water, it was freezing. I quickly aborted that mission. From the beach, I was able to see the cafe that is also run by the shop. They had both indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the water – I was so sad I had already eaten lunch!
I decided it was time to head back, but as I was heading south I saw a sign for the Ryukyu Glass Factory. What?? It was like it was fate, and who am I to question fate? I flipped a quick U-turn and went in. Oh my. Absolutely beautiful. Once again, I was tempted, but I decided to wait and look around. It’s not outrageously priced, but it’s not cheap either, so I figure I should wait for Tim to get here and get his thoughts.
I made it back to my room without any more detours, and am now watching a rerun of one of the basketball games. I had a great time exploring today, but I was out of my comfort zone for quite a while and it is nice to be back somewhere familiar!