Monday, December 6, 2010


If you are interested in unique places think about Okinawa, the Keystone of the Pacific. Okinawa is Japan's southern most province or prefecture. It is located half way between Kyushu (southern island of mainland ) and Taiwan. It is actually 800 miles south of Tokyo and 350 miles from Taipei. It includes hundreds of small islands many of which you can visit. Okinawa has a population of 1.4 million people. The island is about 70+ miles long and from 2 -12 or so miles wide. I lived there for six years (3 years each two times) but never got island fever. The history of this island includes being ruled by Koreans, Chinese and Japanese. It was the site of a major World War II battle. In the end the US government ruled Okinawa with a military governor for 27 years. They returned Okinawa to Japan in 1972. On the island are about 15 US military posts and 27,000 military and 22,000 dependents. During Vietnam there were more than 50,000 military on the island. Naha is the capital of the islands.
So what is unique about Okinawa. Photography buffs can have a field day. In the photo is a turtle back tomb which are located in many parts of the island. The whale shark is in the aquarium and park at the northern end of the island. Eisa dancers come from all of the villages to compete in dance contests around the island. There are a number of historic castles on the islands and this Okinawan gate to Shuri Castle. There are bull fights where the bulls fight each other rather than a human fighting a bull. The sea life around Okinawa is unlimited and the coral reefs spectacular. Scuba diving, wind surfing and fishing are popular activities. The habu is a snake native to Okinawa. The mongoose was brought in to combat the snakes. Now there are places where you can watch habu / mongoose fights. Usually the furry little mongoose wins. You can see fields of sugar cane and pineapples in the northern part of the island. In the south is Suicide Cliffs an area where Japanese soliders committed suicide and also forces some of the locals to jump from. There are many memorials in this area to the Japanese forces that fought. Okinawa has become a Japanese tourist destination with many hotels being built along the ocean. When it is snowing in Tokyo going to the beach in Okinawa is an option. There is also lots of shopping opportunities. Unique to Okinawa is some of the glassware which is made there. So looking for somewhere to go out of the ordinary try Okinawa.

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