Sunday, June 9, 2019

Travelogue: Okinawa, Japan 10 March - 14 March 2019

After a really long procrastination, I decided to tidy my notes I've made during the trip and pen it down here. Okinawa is a really nice, chilled and laid back destination that you could take probably 5-6 days to really slowly enjoy the self drive exploration experience. Our biggest disappointment from the trip was unable to head out for Blue Cave due to the bad sea weather. Definitely heading back to Okinawa someday just to get there.

Our car rental gave us a map/list of tourist attractions within Okinawa and the map codes are the numbers you key in their built in GPS to navigate around. And trust me, their GPS navigation is awesome!


We took EVA Airlines from Taiwan instead of flying straight from Singapore. Our EVA Airlines ticket from Taipei to Okinawa return trip cost us about $387.00 per pax.

We wanted to fly with flypeach however we couldn't book our tickets because they don't recoginze my surname 'low' as a name. Sigh, and there were no toll free hotlines nor email for us to email in to flypeach to get help so we just gave up in the end.


We stayed at 2 different location, one was Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa which was at the other end of the island and one nearer to the city area, Mecure Hotel Naha.

Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa was at a discounted rate $152.00 per night (I had staff discount back then) and Mercure Hotel Naha was at $160.00 per night.

A normal spacious enough room for us at Mercure Hotel Naha

For both accommodation you have to pay about 1000yen a per for parking within premises.

Mercure Hotel's parking, Marriott's is a open space parking


We rented our car from OTS car rental and it was pretty fuss free! Total we paid 24,560yen (approximately $310 for car rental from 10 - 13 March 2019 for a Toyota Corolla) Includes insurances too!

You should get the unlimited toll card at 3000yen, it will be worth it if you're driving for more than 3 days. They only have 1 expressway in Okinawa hence you'd use it very often and each time you get on the expressway you will spend about 600/700yen so technically about 4 times you will exceed 3000yen.

So this was our car, with the car rental person checking the ride before passing it over to us.

Once you enter the toll expressway, this is the ticket you get.

When you exit, they give you this.

Most attractions are free parking and every restaurant usually have their own carpark which is also free. The only few places we had to pay parking was at our accommodations and Shujiro Castle. Other than that it was just solely the toll payment (cause we didn't get the toll  unlimited card)


10 March 2019, Sunday

  • Manzamo Cape (Sightseeing)
Basically this is what you will see, and that's about it. You probably just spend about 15 minutes at max here. Parking is free.

  • Hundred years old house landlord Ufuya (Food)
Park your car and head down!

Our view and our food

I kind of regret not eating the Tonkatsu after this because I didn't manage to eat any Tonkatsu for the entire trip.

Okinawa Soba, his favourite but I find it quite normal

  • Churaumi Aquarium (Sightseeing)

If you go after 4pm, you will get some rebates back in cash

  • American Village (Sightseeing + Food)
Honestly, if I had a choice, I would totally skip this place. All american food and nothing that fantastic to really pay a visit. But, if you're first time in Okinawa, you could drop by for 30minutes?

11 March 2019, Monday
  • Hamazushi (Food)
Ample parking space and free parking! Good sushi at 100yen per plate! Totally enjoyed my sushi fix in Okinawa here.

  • Futenma Shrine (Sightseeing)
There's a little 'cave' at the back of this shrine. Quiet place with little parking.

  • Katusren Castle (Sightseeing)
You park opposite and cross over to take a little short hike up about 10 minutes to get to the site

Pretty empty that I could take a good shot without any other tourist in the photo

  • AEON Mall (Shopping)
Normal shopping here that I only got interested with their supermarket and that's about it.

  • Ryukyu no Ushi (Food - but we didn't manage to eat it)

Another regret we had was this restaurant that we didn't manage to go. If we had reached at 6pm, we would mind waiting for an hour for this highly raved place but because it was 8pm and we're famished, we had no choice but to say good bye to this place.

12 March 2019, Tuesday
  • Zakimi Castle Ruins (Sightseeing)

Entrance is free to the ruins, but you need to pay to get into the museum which we did. 500yen per pax and we probably spent a good 1 hour inside the museum reading histories with their tablets and browsing some ancient restored artifacts 

  • Cafe Curucama (Thai food)
Follow the signage and you will get to the parking space to walk into the restaurant

Don't ask me why this is recommended even by the locals but this place is a must come! The food was awesome and so was the view.

  • Okinawa Outlet Ashibinaa (Shopping)
Managed to get shoes from ABC mart and that's about it

  • Gyu Kaku
We have this here in Singapore too but of course it's cheaper than eating it in Singapore. 5000yen for 1 plate of premium beef, 1 plate of pork, additional 280grams of pork, 1 soda and 1 beer and a happy tummy. Not too bad I guess.

13 March 2019, Wednesday
  • C&C Breakfast (Food)

We kinda over-killed for breakfast but I swear this is good. Queued 30 minutes even though we reached at 9am (it opens at 9am) and because the cafe is so small, we couldn't fit in the first seating.
Parking can be a challenge too, and yes we had to pay parking too.

  • Shurijo Castle (Sightseeing)

The most crowded castle we visited in this entire trip. You gotta pay for carpark and pay for entrance. Still worth to go even though it can be slightly crowded. You gotta queue to take photos too.

  • Okinawa World (Sightseeing)
Okay this guy refused to budge so I just gotta take with him inside. Hahahah

We came for this!

It was more like a 30-45 minutes walk because it was so crowded and paths were narrow you can't stroll.

There were some other attractions like checking out some reptiles (which we did) and some traditional cultural performances (which we watched and got a little bored towards the end because there were no translations) and we had to rush off to return our ride

  • Kokusai Street Food Village (Food + Shopping)

We randomly went into any stores that looked promising to us

Spend about 3850yen together with 2 glasses of orion beer (and finally we both can drink together because we returned the car lol)

Loads of unique Calbee snacks here!

This was probably the only place we bought snacks, souvenirs to bring back to Singapore. We saw Ichiran here too, if you want to try, I guess the one and only Ichiran in Okinawa is at Kokusai Street.


Estimated cost for 2 pax 5D4N travel to Okinawa:

Airfare $773
Accommodation $600
Car Rental $400 (Including toll + Petrol)
Wifi  $49
Total $1822 (per pax about $911)

A consolidated short clips from my IG stories to sum up my trip!