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Okinawa 2023 Day 1 - Touchdown

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Despite knowing I wanted to come back to Okinawa, I couldn't muster the executive function to pull the trigger on tickets until about 10 days prior to the trip. The years of isolation and stagnancy had left me timid and afraid of commitment, so I had to shore up my courage and bite the bullet. I cross-referenced prices across a few different sites (Google search, Kayak, and the Chase travel portal), and determined that it was best to buy my flight direct from Peach, an LCC (Low Cost Carrier) that I used the last time I went to Okinawa. JetStar was another option... but the devil you know, as they say. Although I was traveling light, I paid a little extra for the upgraded fare that included a checked bag (up to 20kg) and also pre-paid for my bike (3,900 in advance beats 5,000 yen at the counter). The LCC's will nickel-and-dime you, so those super low fares aren't quite so "peachy" by the time the dust settles. All said and done, roundtrip with my luggage ran me about $250 USD, after advertising something like $80-110 each way.

Unfortunately, I rushed through the checkout before I realized I had selected the early morning flight departing at 7:20am, rather than the later flight leaving closer to 10, which meant I wouldn't make it in time if I stayed at my friend's place. Japanese public transportation is fantastic, but alas, it doesn't run 24 hours. The thought crossed my mind to stay in the airport, but I was told that Nagoya chubu shuts down late at night and that wouldn't be an option. Chase to the rescue this time: 5,000 yen or so for a night at the Toyoko Inn, less than a click from the terminal. It turned out to be the right decision, as there was quite a line at the check-in counter, and I had to contend with some teeth-sucking by the baggage handlers as Peach had quietly updated their bike policy to require the pedals be removed to check it in a soft bag (which I can't do without a special tool). All my wiggle room was swallowed up with some hemming and hawing, and warnings that I might have to pay if my pedals damage anyone else's luggage, but ultimately they let me through and of course everything was fine.

Typhoon 11 had swung south of the island but the winds buffeted us on the descent, the island was as sunny and humid as I remembered, peppered by a momentary torrent as I stepped off the monorail at Makishi station. I assembled my bike as I waited out the sudden downpour and completed the 140 meter walk to Abest Cube Hotel, a lovely little facility right on Kokusai-dori hovering above one of the many tourist gift shops. Again thanks to Chase, I was able to secure a night in a room that was somewhere between a capsule hotel and a business hotel. The small rooms had either an upper or lower bunk, because they were packed so tightly they practically shared space, despite being technically private. Bathrooms in shower facilities were communal. There was a decent breakfast included and pitchers of coffee, Jasmine tea, shikuasa and hibiscus juice available all day. A great value in my opinion, especially given the location.

Having arrived so much earlier than anticipated, I decided to go scout out the hostel I would be staying at upon my return to Naha, and make sure they'd hold on to my big backpack for the week. MyPlace was about a ten minute ride away, right on the Tomarin Port. Much more of an island hostel, it gave almost a Tonsai beach vibe with the wood interior, hanging hammock chairs, and collection of European travelers. No problem, they said, I could drop my bag off before I go.

20230902_134014-soki-soba.jpgHaving completed my main tasks for the day, I turned my attention to my stomach. Just around the corner, there was a dingy little port-side soba shop where I got my first bowl of Okinawan Soki Soba for 480 yen.

I figured it would be nice to pay Shuri castle a visit, so I braced myself for the long climb up the hill. I first visited the castle back in 2007 as a student, and stood outside the gates when I was here in 2019, but did not go inside. Sadly, the castle burned down shortly after my last visit, and was diligently being reconstructed.

20230902_143941-tamaudun.jpgI accidentally stopped at Tama-udun, the royal mausoleum, just shy of the castle grounds. It was a separate entrance fee, but I figured I would pay my respects and spread some love to the lesser visited monuments of Okinawa. Like many of the castle ruins around the island, there isn't much to the mausoleum, although it is still an impressive stone structure, almost stadium-like in some regards. One of the guard houses had been rebuilt from studying it's ruins after world war two, and that was the sole wooden structure there.

The Shuri Castle grounds were even more impressive than I remembered, despite the noted lack of the main hall and anterooms. A large temporary metal building stood in its place, enshrouding the entire work site while still giving visitors a glimpse into the traditional woodwork happening inside. The new structure will be lovingly constructed of local plum, oak and Japanese cedar using traditional methods with the help of some modern technology.

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I took in the views until it was check-in time, then rode my brakes back down the hill to get settled. I visited Mahoroba Mazemen for some abura soba for dinner, and was both delighted and dismayed by the line of patrons indicating some success since my last visit. I met a lovely Okinawan couple who chatted me up a bit over a delicious bowl of noodles.

I detoured through the park to walk off my meal, and to scope out if any of my stray cat friends were still around, but I couldn't find any. I walked back to the hotel with a sense of satisfaction mixed with disappointment and a tinge of loneliness.
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Comments

wow ! That is so cool.
I just finished today my 19 day camp/tour of to Hyogo. This week I will find out about a few things. If all is well, then its a go to the Okinawan Islands I think on Sept 7. I was told Peach doesn't allow bikes. Sadly from Hakata to Fukuoka airport, I don't know about putting the bike on the subway.
I would save me a few bucks, but I actually thought I'd go to Donkey Hotei In Ishikawa to check out a low cost bike.
Sadly, I won't be able to say hello to you unless you go to Ishigaki Island.
Have a great time there. It is VERY HOT as you know.
OK, enjoy.
 
Enjoy the ride
If all go well, I'll be on the Island of Ishigaki. Sept 7 if the seat is still available. Peach Airway is the Airline.
Let me know if you plan to go to Ishigaki.
 
Enjoy the ride
If all go well, I'll be on the Island of Ishigaki. Sept 7 if the seat is still available. Peach Airway is the Airline.
Let me know if you plan to go to Ishigaki.
awesome! I would love to go to Ishigaki, but I'm afraid my time is limited and I've got to deal with a few unforeseen challenges that's going to eat into my fun time :(

Looking forward to hearing about Ishigaki! Please make a journal about it

Also, Peach definitely did allow bikes, at least for Chubu>Naha. It was 3900 yen in advance, or 5000 yen at the check-in counter. https://www.flypeach.com/en/lm/ai/airports/baggage/checked_in_bag
 
awesome! I would love to go to Ishigaki, but I'm afraid my time is limited and I've got to deal with a few unforeseen challenges that's going to eat into my fun time :(

Looking forward to hearing about Ishigaki! Please make a journal about it

Also, Peach definitely did allow bikes, at least for Chubu>Naha. It was 3900 yen in advance, or 5000 yen at the check-in counter. https://www.flypeach.com/en/lm/ai/airports/baggage/checked_in_bag
Thanks for letting me know about the bike I've heard both ways but my problem is is that taking the subway from hakata to fuqua airport and I don't know about the situation putting the bike on the subway with the additional luggage I do know they don't wait very long if people hoping to the airport. Anyway I got good news I couldn't really go anywhere until I got the medical results that I've been waiting for that's probably one of the reasons why I took my time going from shimaneto tottiriup to Hyogo. The results were all negative and yesterday I did a CT scan and there's no tumor so I'm really happy that now I can travel again.
I bought a new camera but I haven't learned how to use it yet and I am my phone is really all filled up so I've got to discipline myself to learn how to use this camera and by the way should I bring my computer with me.
 
Thanks for letting me know about the bike I've heard both ways but my problem is is that taking the subway from hakata to fuqua airport and I don't know about the situation putting the bike on the subway with the additional luggage I do know they don't wait very long if people hoping to the airport. Anyway I got good news I couldn't really go anywhere until I got the medical results that I've been waiting for that's probably one of the reasons why I took my time going from shimaneto tottiriup to Hyogo. The results were all negative and yesterday I did a CT scan and there's no tumor so I'm really happy that now I can travel again.
I bought a new camera but I haven't learned how to use it yet and I am my phone is really all filled up so I've got to discipline myself to learn how to use this camera and by the way should I bring my computer with me.
Glad to hear you've been cleared medically and can travel again!

If you have a rinko bag and can carry everything you should be able to bring your bike (as they're only usually allowed on train cars disassembled and completely covered), but I'll admit it's a massive pain in the butt, and I tried to limit how far I would have to walk carrying it AND my luggage.

Also, Ishigaki is pretty small, so I would question whether it's worth the trouble of bringing your bike all the way with you, especially if there are opportunities to borrow, rent, or buy one on the cheap if you're staying there longer-term.

Depending on what you use your computer for, I'd say there's some value to it if you use it for any kind of work, or for managing your camera images, but if you can get by with your phone for the duration of your trip, then maybe it's just extra weight? You can always stock up on extra memory cards before you go so you won't have to worry about running out of space. I also recommend backing up your phone images to your computer, in case anything happens to the phone (once backed up, you can also delete files off your phone to clear up space).
 
Glad to hear you've been cleared medically and can travel again!

If you have a rinko bag and can carry everything you should be able to bring your bike (as they're only usually allowed on train cars disassembled and completely covered), but I'll admit it's a massive pain in the butt, and I tried to limit how far I would have to walk carrying it AND my luggage.

Also, Ishigaki is pretty small, so I would question whether it's worth the trouble of bringing your bike all the way with you, especially if there are opportunities to borrow, rent, or buy one on the cheap if you're staying there longer-term.

Depending on what you use your computer for, I'd say there's some value to it if you use it for any kind of work, or for managing your camera images, but if you can get by with your phone for the duration of your trip, then maybe it's just extra weight? You can always stock up on extra memory cards before you go so you won't have to worry about running out of space. I also recommend backing up your phone images to your computer, in case anything happens to the phone (once backed up, you can also delete files off your phone to clear up space).
I'm going to back up my photos today and it looks like they got the airplane seats available on the 17th I think it's largest check but Wednesday I believe and she looks like I'm going to make the reservations tonight and as far as computer goes the only reason why I thought the computer because I don't have any storage but I can by the storage for 250 a month with Google I don't know if it's how to cancel it or if you just pay one month you get the I don't know how it works it's probably all a game anyway but I bought that other camera and I haven't learned how to use it yet and that was one of the reasons I thought I'd bring in my computer is that I can use that camera and put everything into the computer but it is a little more weight as far as Michael's no I'm not going to hassle with it I'll just go to a rental place the islands as you said a pretty small and just as long as it has a front basket that I can carry my camping gear on and whatever and that's about it so it looks like I'm going got to clear medical examination no tumor so that was pretty good that was actually I was really worried because I never ever get sick especially in with a headaches yeah I mean never in doctors couldn't believe it but you know I told him please I went through 12 and I never miss the day of school that was hard to believe also
 

Journal entry information

Author
nice gaijin
Read time
4 min read
Views
878
Comments
6
Last update
Location
Naha, Okinawa

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