When visiting Japan, most people think Tokyo, which is great but there are SOOO many other amazing destinations! When I travel I like to do extensive research on where to go, what to eat, flights, customs, currency exchange rates and the need-to-know phrases. It is extremely important to do your research before going on any major trip to get the most out your vacation! I am literally an ocean away from home, so I expected EVERYTHING to be different, especially the wild life. The past couple days, I have made a tremendous effort to explore Japanese zoos, botanical gardens and marine life. Luckily, I am in a country that excels at ALL three.

Today’s post will exclusively be focused on conquering Okinawa, the island with the third largest aquarium in the world; holding over 2.5 million gallons of salt water. The weather in Tokyo right now is between 36-48 degrees (3-9 celsius), so you can only imagine how excited I was to head south, where high 60’s and mid 70’s (16-18 celsius) are considered chilly. What I didn’t plan for was the lack of suitable transportation. The buses were slow and the taxis charged exuberant prices. So here’s a little breakdown of how my day went and afterwards I will provide you guys with some tips so you don’t make the same mistake.

December 15, 2016: I woke up at 5am, ready to catch my 8am flight to Okinawa. Once I arrived, I took a bus that made 53 stops, which equated to 3 hours of me not know where the hell I am. No one spoke English but thank God for google maps. I decided to go the local route because I felt I had plenty of time = BIG mistake.

I got off, switched buses at “Nago Bus Terminal”, annoyed the hell out of everyone because I didn’t understand that I needed to take the “damn ticket” first, then pay before I reached my destination. That bus only took an hour, but seemed longer after I just embarrassed myself. Finally, I arrive 2 hours before the aquarium closed and set my eyes on what I can only describe as magic ✨. The aquarium exceeded my VERY high expectations as I walked around the park in utter excitement. Although I hit a few bumps along the road, the destination was well worth the hassle. I went face to face with two wale sharks & spent some quality time with a hungry sea turtle.

Tips on how to CONQUER Okinawa:

  1. Make Time: Make sure you set aside 2-4 days for Okinawa
    1. Beaches
    2. Deep Sea Diving
    3. Explore the internationally renowned Aquarium
    4. Go shopping
  2. Hotels: Pick a hotel close to the Aquarium, but also make sure your hotel has airport transportation! You may have to spend a little extra for these amenities, but they will make your life THAT much easier.
    1. The Hotel I stayed at is called “The Vessel”, which is 1 hour and 45 min away from the aquarium but at only $68/night, airport transportation, ocean views and breakfast, it was well worth the extra hassle for someone on a budget. I would give this hotel 4.5 stars, with its’ only downfall being so far from the main attraction.
  3.  Seasonal: If you want to enjoy the beach go during the SPRING/SUMMER. The prices will sky rocket for everything, like the hotels, flight and transportation but it is well worth it.
  4. Transportation: Look out for charter buses heading to the aquarium, taxis will cost an arm and a leg so non-stop buses are the best way to go! 

    Below are some pictures from my trip. LIKE. COMMENT. SHARE to tell me what you think.