Sunday, 20 April 2014

ஐ My trip to Okinawa, how we planned it and where we stayed ஐ

Here I am finally sharing about my trip to Okinawa, where I went with my friend Patricia and Katol. I wanna make this post to share with you my experiences, and also as to inform you and help you plan your trip if you want to visit as well.

First of all, tickets ! 
We flew from Hong Kong to Okinawa, directly, with Hong Kong Airline and it was cheap, fast and efficient.
Fights were around 1500hkd (taxes included), we were so lucky ! The flight is 2:30 ! There is a time difference of one hour between Japan and Okinawa, so on the way there, it really felt fast.
As we arrived, we went through immigration and this took so long ! We were there for around one hour and a half, everyone gets checked and get their finger print taken. If you have a french or HK passport, you won't need a visa. Make sure you check this before any planning ! As a french citizen, I was given 3 months in Japan as a visitor.

First thing when you get there, get the money~ There was a 7eleven ATM in the airport entrance, the extra charges were very fair. I paid 110yen charge from the ATM + 20HKD with HSBC. You get charged each time you withdraw money, so big withdraws are the way to go.

When we finally went through immigration, we took the monorail to get to our hostel ! Price ticket varies depending on the length of your travel. 
We went from Naha Kuko (airport) to Miebashi (around 15~20 minutes) and paid 300Yen each. A day travel ticket is 600Yen or 700Yen (if I remember correctly). The monorail is such a pleasant way to travel. I loved it. It's super cute, and I loved the tone when the train arrives to stations. Also, the view was incredible. I love Okinawa architecture. The buildings are so random. None looks like the others. And they were so colorful.


月光荘

Naha, Okinawa 900-0013
Japan

We booked online before we left to make sure the would have their private room for 3 people for us,they have two private rooms, which each can host up to three people, and a dormitory. 
I loved it there. The staff was very nice, friendly and helpful (some of the staff speaks English too). We were greeted and welcomed on our arrival, and shown to our room first. It's quite small but for the price we paid, it was fair. We had futon to install ourselves, a fan and were provided with towels. Then shown around the guesthouse. Explaining us the rules of the house and everything there is to know. Pretty much everything is shared there, kitchen, common room, and "party" room where they'd play music and drink, the bathroom (they had two toilets), one shower that can be used 24/7 (bring your own shampoo and body wash), WiFi, and even a bath (200Yen to get the key).
They organize dinner each night, with a different menu,  you have to chip in to join. And a lovely lady will prepare breakfast for you for 500Yen in the morning~ You can rent a bike as well, and park your car if needed.
Gekkousou organizes music lives every week, live music fans should definitely visit those nights, even if they don't stay over.
We stayed there for our first two nights and the last one, so it will be easy for us to use the monorail again to go to the airport with no stress~





Lucky me~ There was no more rice, so I got a banana instead !
Check out by 12pm.
Private room : 1500Yen each per night.


As we ventured north, we stayed at Mariko's guesthouse. Patricia found the place and I had no idea where we were going. But I was so amazed by the place. The atmosphere and decoration were lovely. A lot of things to look at, very personal designs. Loved it. Mariko's greeted us even though we arrive late, and make us Apple tea (lovely). We had a room with two bunk beds, were provided with towels, and shampoo and body wash were available ~
She made us so Okinawa noodles in the morning, and posed in front of her painting before we left :)






Check out by 11am.
4000Yen each per night.

Ryukyo Onsen Hotel (onsen experience)

That's the most amazing place we got to visit in Okinawa, it was a memorable experience. Not only did our room was luxurious but we had a F-ing onsen in the hostel for us to visit whenever we felt like it. Let me tell you, I really wanted to experience public bathing. That was probably my number one thing I wanna do in Japan. And as I have a tattoo (and Patti too), I thought we were DOOMED ! No Onsen, no exception, Japan follows the rules to the letter and won't make any exceptions. On our first try in the local onsen, as we asked if we could go if covered it, answer was DAME (no way). On arrival at the hotel, I asked if we could have a towel inside and again, dame desu. There it was, the only way we could go and experience onsen, was to go against the rule. I'm not saying you should do it but as desperate as I was to try it, and just went ahead with Patricia, and got in. In the worst case, they would just tell us to get out (and we could blame it on us being ignorant). And it was worth it ! 
Bathing, in hot, mineralized water, in open air, with a view on the ocean at sunset was amazing. One of the most relaxing experiences of my life. I loved it so much. I felt so relaxed and at peace.
It felt quite awkward to be naked and being around naked people all around, but once in the water, all good~ Luckily, we didn't get caught. The thing is I think, when you are naked, people tend not to look at your body so much, and well, people come to onsen to relax and not check out other people's bodies. 
The room was great, two beds and a futon arranged (we booked a two beds bedroom and asked for an extra person), a small onsen on the balcony, shower, super sophisticated toilet (aaah) and all that jazz. Breakfast buffet from 7am to 10am. (memorable)
6am, bathing on the balcony 

Check out by 11am.
I think we paid ~20000yen for the room and extra bedding.

3 comments:

  1. It sounds like you had tons of fun >_<!! I am very sad about they don't let people with tattoo in to onsen :( I heard from some friends that certain ones let you in if your tattoo is fairly small. Too bad mines are too big and too many T^T

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    1. Well, my friend Pat has quite a lot of tattoos and they are definitely not discreet ! We were lucky we didn't get caught. I heard of places allowing tatts but in Okinawa, it was quite difficult and if you ask for permission, you will most likely get a No.
      Tokyo may be easier though !

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