The Japanese Tropics: Okinawa – The Lone Wonderer

Okinawa archipelago is known for its beaches and tropical weather. One of the favorite summer destinations for Japanese tourists, the island of Okinawa alone attracts each year between 9 and 10 Millions persons. Initially, I was supposed to stay there for some days before heading North by boat. I ended up staying 1 month.

My first house in Okinawa

I went to Okinawa with a tent, a sleeping bag and some survival gears. The idea was to go around the island for some days before going up North to Yaku-Shima island and then back to the mainland. I took a bus from Naha airport and I was supposed to step out close to a park which was 1 and half hour away from the airport. I had no idea where was the bus stop, so I just stepped out at a random stop. Terrible mistake. I had to walk for more than 2 hours with all my gears on a very inclined rising slope. When I finally made it to the park, I just found a spot to set my tent before the sunset.

I haven’t seen anyone for days and finding food was not easy as the closest konbini (small supermarket) was 1h30 away from my base camp. But the perk of living in a tent alone and with no technologies was that I was living at the pace of the sun. Waking up for sunrise (around 5am) and falling asleep for sunset (around 8pm, that’s freakin’ early I know). I never felt so free. At some point, I ended up back to Naha, the main city of Okinawa island. I decided to spend the night in a hostel and go back North the next day. But the funny thing is one of my previous colleague and flatmate from Niseko was working in the specific hostel I stayed. He just invited me to stay longer as the hostel was looking for staff and I accepted.

Naha Beach

It was a good opportunity to meet people and make new friends. I was a bit disappointed by Naha beach though. The highway’s bridge passing over the only beach in Naha was a bit spoiling the view. One of the perks in Naha for cheap people like me, is that some clubs give free Awamori (a unique sake from Okinawa) but it’s mixed with water. So I am not gonna lie, it’s not the best mixed beverage you will get, but it’s free booze in a club. And nope, I am not inciting anyone to drink here. Listen to Japanese rap instead (video on the right). 

If you love tropical islands, palm trees, sun and chilling by the beach, then Okinawa archipelago is the place to go in Japan. The only reason I didn’t stay longer is because my visa was about to expire and there were more things I wanted to see on the mainland.

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