A Day in Nanjo, Okinawa – 5 Must-see Attractions
Traveling to Okinawa, it is not hard to find wonderful beaches, exciting attractions and even cultural meditation. Let me show you an area that often stays unnoticed, but holds so much fun, beauty, history and great relaxation spots.
The city of Nanjo is located in the south-eastern part of Okinawa. It lies right on the ocean, has much history to share, and has a beautiful view of the coast line. Here are my five tips for a daytrip to Nanjo.
1. Emerge in History in an Old World War II Hospital Cave
Make your way to Itokazu Abuchiragama Cave in the late morning! Here you can go on a tour through a natural cave with World War II history. It used to be a military hiding spot and then was changed to a hospital when the war neared the end in summer 1945. The guided tour leads you underground, where you can listen to the stories of the guide about the living conditions and happenings from over 70 years ago. You are equipped with a helmet and a flash light and experience the atmosphere of an underground hide out. You are always with your guide, so there is no danger of getting lost. If you are unsure whether to take the tour or not I want to encourage you to go for it. It opens your eyes to the reality of history so much more than reading about it.
2. Relaxing at a Little Park and Playground
You made your way successfully through the cave and now it is time to visit the nearby park in Tamagusuku, just up the hill where you can sit down, enjoy a snack or drink and soak in the gorgeous view. If you dare, you can climb on the ropes of the playground or go a few rounds on the zip-line. This is a cool stop before you head out to lunch at our special island.
3. Visit Ou-jima's Famous Tempura Stores
It is noon! Time for some crispy Okinawan tempura! Where better to go than to Nanjo's own island, Ou-jima? It is easily accessed by car and driving around the island takes about 5 minutes. Nakamoto Sengyoten Tempura has the freshest and juiciest tempura on the island. Most of the tempura cost only 65 yen! They often have long lines, so make sure to be there before the lunch rush arrives. If you feel more like a sit down restaurant, visit Nakama Shokudo, just up the stairs!
4. Enjoy the Beach
So you got your tempura! It's time to treat yourself to a soda from a vending machine and drive 30 seconds down the road to a little park. Across the street you find the beach and coral banks where you can sit on the cement stairs, enjoy the sun, your lunch and some good company.
5. Get a Coffee with the Best View
Here is a secret spot for you, if you like coffee: Hamabe no Chaya. This cafe is super close to Ou-jima and my tip for every coffee lover who is in the area. It is right on the beach and you can sit on the roof of the coffee shop or at the wide and open windows and relax with the view of the ocean. The best thing about the cafe is, that you can choose the beans yourself and then the staff prepares the coffee for you individually. Try the ice coffee! It is out of this world. Prices start from 450 yen a cup though, but it is worth it.