Monday, May 15, 2023


This was our first time on Okinawa. We booked a seven hour Princess excursion, "History & Nature Of Central Okinawa" which started at 8:30am. That would take up most of our time in port at Naha.

Our first stop was the Katsuren Castle ruins, a 45 minute drive from the port. Can't say that the ruins were especially scenic or photogenic, but we did get a nice workout on the 300+ foot climb to the top of the hill where the castle used to be. It did have a nice view of the surrounding sea as shown in the photo below.

As a part of the Gusuku sites and related properties the castle ruins are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On Miyagi Island we visited Kafu Banta, the location of the Hanari Power Spot, the Nuchima-su Salt Factory and with a great view of Ndakachina Beach as shown in the photo below.

The Nuchima-su Salt Factory has an interesting tour of a salt factory which produces salt using a special method that preserves more of the minerals than most processes and is, of course, more expensive than most salt. Some say that this salt is part of the reason Okinawans live so long, even by Japanese standards. An Okinawan has a 40% greater chance of living 100 years than most Japanese, and three times greater chance than those in the US. Though one BBC article suggests that it is more related to their diet being so high in sweet potatoes and even more a result of a lower rate of smoking, more physical activity, and maintaining an active social life into old age. And, of course, genes.

Our last stop of the day was at the Southeast Botanical Gardens. Though it's billed as a botanical garden and has many plants you can buy, it almost seemed as much a zoo as a garden. It was here that we saw a Capybara.

The capybara is the world's largest rodent. A native of South and Central America which is closely related to guinea pigs. Not sure how it made it to Okinawa. A cruise perhaps? They definitely look well fed. According to WebMD: "They prefer areas where they can easily graze and swim" and "must live with other capybaras for their physical and psychological health."

Given that, I'm sure they'd love cruise life.

Click this link or one of the pictures above to see more pictures in the Okinawa photo album

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