Researching on happiness, I came across an article claiming Okinawa has the highest number of octogenarian.
What is the secret? I decided to go on a quest to find out.
Jetstar flies direct to Naha, Okinawa (5hrs). Okinawa is not as cold as Kyoto in December.
We took the red eye flight with Jetstar and arrived at 8am. We didnt sleep well even though we had booked seats on first row.
Outside the station of our hotel, taxi drivers. Many of them look above 60 yrs old.
Naha is indeed an aging town. We see quite a lot of older people. But they are friendly and very helpful. They dont shy away from helping give directions through sign language.
Hotel: Mercure Naha
Getting there: Monorail 5 stops.
From international airport, walk past domestic airport using the Level 2 sheltered linkèd walkway.
Tip: Buy the 1 day pass for 800¥.
Dropped bags and took train to Shuri castle.
Kankaimon Gate, the front gate of the Shurijo castle to welcome the Chinese investiture envoys.
First Stop: Shurijo Castle
Okinawa was not part of Japan until the late Meiji period. Technically they became Japanese only in recent years with the support of Japanese modernisation and medical.
The grounds around Shuri castle is an interesting, hilly and undulating walk. Although a UNESCO site, its been burnt down several times and restored in 1992. Ryukyu Kingdom ruled Okinawa for 500 years until the last King Sho Tai abdicated the throne to the Meiji Throne. There are many traces of Chinese influence in the architecture.
An old man sweeping his porch called out to me, while I was photographing hibiscus. There is goodwill towards Singapore – he has been 6 times and invited us to visit his tiny compound. A walkway connecting several homes is a beautifully kept garden.
Ryukyu Sabo Ashibiuna
Lunch at shuri soba where we had swuid ink soba. Tasted like squid ink pasta fried chinese style.
Sit and view a zen/ tropical garden while you eat.
Walked towards the train station and asked for help with finding Shuri soba near Shuri station. 400¥, 500¥ or 600¥. Homestyle soba with light broth. I am convinced that soba doesnt agree with me. I am a thick broth ramen person.
By now its 3pm and we took the train to our hotel for checkin.
We took a taxi from.Mercure Naha to the International airport. 5 min. 1350¥
But hotel who booked us the cab didnt warn us that it opens at 7am. If you arrive too early, be prepared to sit out in the cold.
Pros of Mercure Naha
Next to train station (1 min walk)
Faces river and quiet/spacious part of town
OTS car rental pick up is in the same building
You can get cheaper rates elsewhere
Rooms are small
Next time I recommend staying at Asahibashi Station (Doubletree Hilton) or Daiwa Roi Net at Makishi Station
Supermarket and a Mr Donut around the corner.
10 min walk to O’Harcote bakery
15 min walk to Palette Kimoji and Ryu Bo
25 min walk to Kokusai Street
Around Shuri Station
1. Shuri Castle
2. Ryukyu Sabo Ashibiuna
2 Chome-13 Shuritonokuracho, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 903-0812
〒903-0813 Okinawa Prefecture, Naha, 首里赤田町1 Chome−7