The Forgotten Paradise: The Kerama Archipelago – The Lone Wonderer

The highlight of my stay in Okinawa was going to the Kerama archipelago, which is like 1 and half hour away from the port by boat. It was meant to be a day trip but with no boat coming back to town in the afternoon, my friend Brendan and I had to take my tent to spend the night on the island, alongside with snorkeling gear to say hi to the tropical fishes there.

The first island we stopped by was Aka-Jima (The Red Island). I was lucky enough to see a Kerama deer shortly after we sailed. A subspecies of deer native from the island and who can swim between the island. The beach of Aka-Jima was made of rocks, and when you are into the water, you are not allowed to put your feet on the ground. It’s only corral and it’s a protected specie, so if you are in the water and not swimming, you will probably hear the lifeguards whistling at you. There were not many boats connecting Aka-Jima and Zamami-Jima, so after spending the afternoon swimming in this crystal clear water, we headed to the other island…

Shiro statue on Aka-Jima
Marilyn statue on Zamami-Jima

Japan and dog statues is a better love story than Twilight. These two islands are famous for the beautiful love story between these two dogs: Shiro and Marilyn. When Shiro’s owners took him to Zamami island with them for the first time, he met Marilyn there. When he had to go back to Aka island with his owners, he didn’t want to stay far from Marilyn. So every single morning, Shiro swam from Aka island to Zamami island to spend the day with his loved one before going back to Aka island in the evening. The two islands are distant from 3km, so he has been swimming 6km every single day. When Marilyn died in 1987, Shiro stopped going to Zamami and died himself later at the age of 17. This love story both earned them a statue on their respective island and it inspired the movie: Marilyn Ni Aitai (I want to see Marilyn). 

Zamami-jima offers some of the best scenery I’ve ever seen. I was surprised about how “empty” the island was considering how beautiful it is. There was absolutely no one. We just had a barbecue that we’ve eaten on the beach, during the night, under the light of the moon and stars while facing what seemed to be mountains emerging from the waters. It was the beginning of the Bromance with Brendan.

The House Restaurant

The next day, it was already time to go back to Naha. We had a really hard time to find a restaurant or somewhere to get some food. So when asking to people, someone told us about a place, which is a particular kind of restaurant. We went to some people’s house where they cooked for us and we can eat at their table. And at the end, we paid whatever we wanted to pay.

If you were wondering why I called this post “the forgotten paradise”, I hope it makes more sense to you now. I loved how peaceful and beautiful it was. It’s not a party island at all, it’s just somewhere you go to chill, relax and meditate.

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