Is it safe to travel to okinawa? (after Mar 11 Sendai Tsunami & earth quake)-updated on 1st July 2011

If you are thinking of traveling to Okinawa and are concern about the situation in Japan after the Mar 11 Sendai Tsunami and Earthquake, we would like to provide you with as much information as possible below :

1)      Is it safe to travel to Okinawa after the Mar 11 Sendai Tsunami and earth quake?

Yes it is perfectly safe to travel to Okinawa. Okinawa is situated at the southern tip of Japan and is over 1000 miles from the radiation leak at Fukushima Nuclear Plant. In fact it is probably nearer to Taiwan than Japan.

Japan okinawa map

Although the Sendai Tsunami and earth quake causes a lot of damages to the Honshu area in Japan, there are NO DAMAGES experienced in Okinawa.

Even during the episode of the Mar 11 Sendai Tsunami and earthquake, there are no earth quake or aftershocks in  Okinawa as Okinawa is far away from the Epi center.

http://www.okinawastory.jp/en/news/2011/tohoku-pacific-earthquake.html

a) Is Okinawa safe from radiation?

Okinawa is absolutely safe from the  radiation leakage at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. In fact the radiation situation in Japan is stabilizing. You can check out the radiation level in the different cities.

Ref: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eq/eng/04_recovery.htm#rmp

For Okinawa, the radiation level is close to non-existent all this while. Okinawa Prefecture is 1,760km(1,100miles) away from the nuclear plant and it is not within the exclusion zone, which is within a radius of 30km(19 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

http://mextrad.blob.core.windows.net/page/47_Okinawa_en.html
Radiation situation around Main Airports in Japan

http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/000148941.pdf

(more…)

Add comment July 4, 2011

Is it safe to travel to okinawa? (after Mar 11 Sendai Tsunami & earth quake)

(17 March 2011) Japan was hit by one of the worst earth quake on Mar 11 2011 when a 9.0 megathrust earthquake struck off the eastern coast of Japan, about 130 kilometers from Sendai. It triggered off a 23 foot tsunami that devastated the north eastern part of japan, leaving thousands dead and missing.

We at sugoiokinawa.org are not nuclear specialist nor physist.However we do understand that there are many people who are concerned about travelling to Japan, including okinawa. Hence what we did is to summarise all the facts and news which we gathered, hoping to give a balanced view on what is happening in Japan and its impact on Okinawa. We will try to update all the information as soon as we can. Do correct us if any of the information we provided below is erraneous so we can correct it.

Radiation Concerns

Q: Why did the Fukushima Nuclear power plant radiation leak accident happened?

A: The nuclear power plant in Fukushima is a 40 years old plant build before 1980. The earthquake that hit Japan was several times more powerful than the worst earthquake the nuclear power plant was built for.

When the Sendai earthquake struck, the external power supply of the nuclear reactor was destroyed.Moreover since the power plant had been shut down ( the nuclear reactors automatically shut down when the earth quake hit) it cannot produce any electricity by itself.

(more…)

2 comments March 17, 2011

See the earliest Japan sakura blossom, first in okinawa!

okinawa sakuraSakura blossom in Japan starts the earliest in the southern region. Hence sakura season in Okinawa starts during late January. When the sakura starts blooming in the northern part of okinawa, it also means that sakura matsuri had officially started in Okinawa.

The sakura you will see in Okinawa is different from those that you will see in most part of Japan. The sakura in okinawa is called “Pink sakura”. Founded from Southern China, it is also called Kanjishi sakura (Lunar month sakura) because it blossom in the 1st month of the new year. The bell shape of the pink sakura is its signature. The colour of the flower ranges from pink to white. It is normally open from January to february of the year.

 

4 comments March 13, 2011

Most popular cake shops in Okinawa

Okinawa is a country that has abundance at tropical fruits. This coupled with the great skills of the cake (Patisserie) chefs you get great cakes be it old traditional cake shops or the new funky ones.

1. Miche Miche

Miche Miche specialize in English style cakes. The boss of the shop initially went off to London to study translation, but fell in love with the London desserts and devoted to understudy in the famous The Savoy hotel for three years. She came back to Japan and worked as a Patisserie chef for 2 years before opening this shop. The cake sold here not only looks pretty, its smooth soft texture will make you ask for more.

Price: 650 yen

Price: 750 yen

Price: 1000 yen

Shop nameMiche Miche
AddressOkinawa City Miyane 1-7-23
Telephone91-98-933-5500
Opening hours1100-2400
Rest dayWednesday
How to goTakes about one hour to drive through Okinawa South IC
Websitewww.miche-miche.com
NoteCakes can be stored for 1-2 days

2. Patisserie Bonne Chance

If you’re a fan of cream puff, swiss rolls and strawberry cakes, then I can assure you that it is definitely worth the long drive to join the locals at this popular cake shop. The shop will make about 10 kinds of cakes/desserts every day. The most popular item is its cream puff which will definitely sell out before 3 pm every day. They also have home made jams, that with their rich flavor totally outshine the commercially made ones.

Cream puff. Price: 100 yen

Macarons. Price: 160 yen

Swiss Roll. Price: 650

Shop namePatisserie Bonne Chance
AddressNaga City Umusu 979
Telephone81-98-043-8998
Opening hours1000-1900
RestTuesday and every third Monday of the month
How to goTakes about 2 hours 15 minutes if you drive from the airport
NoteCake can be stored for 1-2 days

3. Goya Cake Shuri Shop

This shop serves mainly cheese cakes and egg rolls. The most popular has to be the Japanese style cheese cake which is made of natural yeast and locally manufactured wheat. There are three flavors to choose from: cheese, green tea and chocolate.

Name of shopGoya Cake Shuri Shop
AddressNaha City Shuri Akahira 2-12-3
Telephone81-98-885-5153
Opening hours1000-2000 (Monday to Saturday)
1000-1800 (Sunday)
Websitewww.goyacake.jp
How to go2 minutes walk from Gibo Station. Takes about 15 minutes if you are driving from Kokashi or International Street
NoteCakes can be stored for one week

4. Black sugar Kanasa

This is a specialty shop that sells all types of black sugar souvenirs, including black sugar cakes. Although they are sold in boxes, they can only be kept for 2-3 days as they are freshly made with no preservatives.

Shop nameBlack sugar Kanasu
AddressNaha City 1-88 Outlet Mall 2F
Telephone81-98-850-3373
How to goGo to the domestic airport terminal IF building and take the free, shuttle bus which takes about 15 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes if you are driving from the airport.
NoteCake can be kept for 2-3 days.

5. Okashigoten ten

This shop is very famous for its products, made from Okinawa only red sweet potatoes. Besides the award winning red sweet potato souvenirs, the dessert section also serves red sweet potato cream cake which comes in a set with a drink. Great value for money.

Shop nameOkashigoten
AddressOnna Village Serakaki 100
Telephone81-98-982-3388
Opening hours0830-1930 (shop)
1100-1930 (restaurant)
Operating hours are longer during summer days.
Websitewww.okashigoten.co.jp
How to goTake bus no.20 from Naha City bus terminal, stop at ...
walk about 1 minute. If you drive from the airport through Zshigawa IC it takes about 2 hours.
NoteCakes can be stored for 1-2 days
Name of shopDeliciousExquisiteFatteningValue for moneyStorage
Miche Miche ******************
Patisserie Bonne Chance*******************
Goya Cake Shuri Shop**************
Black Sugar Kanasa************
Okashigoten***************

1 comment February 18, 2011

Five signature Okinawa souvenirs you must get

1) Tropical fruits-Mango

One of the signature tropical fruits of Okinawa is Mango. There are many variations of products made from mango-ranging from jam to vinegar drink.

The signature/classic version of mango is from Miyako where the mango taste is often thick and sweet. It is often sold as mango jam or jelly. Although it tastes different from eating the fruit, it is still a good way to savor the delicious mango taste.

a. Mango jelly

 

Price: 1500 yen (5 pieces)

It has a nice mango taste and the spongy feel makes one wants to gobble up the whole pack of the jelly! The nice packaging also make it a good souvenair to bring home.

b. Mango jam

Price: 997 yen

It is made of lots of mango juice and flesh that reeks of natural mango. However i must say you got to be one that really likes mango to appreciate this jam. It has a very exotic taste and some may feel that the taste does not really bland well with bread. But if you like mango, then that is another thing all together.

c. Mango vinegar drink 

This is Vinegar drink made from fermented fruits. Vinegar drink is actually a healthy drink that you can find all over in okinawa. Some say one of the secrets to the longevity of many okinawans is this which can be counted as healthy diet. Vinegar drink has a rather yucky taste (at least to me) so the mango taste makes it easy to drink.

Price: 945 yen for 200ml

Shop nameWashita shop honten
Telephone098-864-0555
AddressNaha City kunoji 3-2-22
Websitewashita.co.jp
How to go220m from Kencho mae station
Opening hours1000-2200
Rest dayNo
ParkingFirst hour free for spending above 2000 yen

2) Traditional art

Traditional Okinawa craft, like glass and dyeing fabric, using old traditional methods, are updated and modified to look fashionable and modern. Lovely as gifts.

a. Tote bag with pocket

Price: 1995 yen

The color picture of Ryukyu style against the white canvas background really makes this stand out. A nice tote bag that i guess you might even buy one for yourself.

Shop nameRyukyu uchi hiki glass kyari ki stone
Telephone098-863-5348
AddressNaha City kumoji 3-1-10
How to go150m from Kencho mae station
Websiteryukyu-piras.com
Rest dayNo
ParkingFirst hour free for purchases above 2000 yen

b. Glass

Price: 1764 yen

This is essentially a wine glass. However, the cute wave-like pattern will probably make the drink tastier!

Website

3) Strap

Price:

It was worn as an accessory by the fishermen in the olden days, as it resembles fishing nets wed in boats. Today it is more of a fashionable traditional accessory.

4) Shi-sa

This is definitely one of the best representations of Okinawa souvenirs. There are many variations so it is easy to buy as souvenirs.

T-shirt price: 2600 yen

Shop nameHaku box Naha shop
Telephone098-861-7339
AddressNaha City Matsao 1-2-4
How to go210m from Kencho mae station
Websitehakubox.com
Opening hours1000-2200
Rest dayNo
ParkingNo

Mini shi-sa couple

White shi-sa price: 2700 yen

Shop nameBijou box
Telephone81-98-863-9520
Websitebijoubox.net
Opening hours0900-2200
How to goIt is near Makishi station, walk along International street. It is near Naha IAL City Hotel. Takes about 10 minutes.
Rest dayNo
ParkingNo

5) Seasoning

These are key reasons for the special signature Okinawa taste. When you miss Okinawa, or you want to share memories of your Okinawa trip with your friends, just whip out these seasonings and you get your Okinawan dishes.

a. Koregusu (chili oil for cooking)

 

Price: 735 yen

Chili soak in awamori. You can add this to stir fried dishes. Enhances the taste of the dishes immediately.

b. Pineapple dressing

Price: 630 yen

The fruity pineapple taste will mix well with all salad dishes.

c. Ishigaki pepper

ishigaki pepper

Price: 525 yen

Salted pepper from Ishigaki. Adds flavor to the taste in dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add comment February 15, 2011

When is the festive seasons for the tropical fruits in Okinawa?

It is good to note the following festive seasons for the various tropical fruits in okinawa, so you won’t be disappointed when you pop into the dessert or fruit juice shop and get disappointed ;(

okinawa mango

1) Mango- Late May and August

 

okinawa pineapple

2) Pineapple-April- August

promegranate okinawa

3) Promegrate-Late July and August

4) Passion fruit- Jan-March, June-July

Add comment February 15, 2011

0 yen educational sightseeing tour

Sounds too good to be true? Well, they really will not cost you a cent. Plus you learn something too!

1. Orion beer Mayo Factory

orion beer factory okinawa

 

The Factory tour to Orion beer is actually the main reason some people go to Okinawa (no joke!). Orion beer is the best selling beer in Okinawa and is also one of the best known brands in Okinawa.

There are mainly 4 areas that you will access in the factory. You can look at the drawing below for the factory tour details.

orion beer factory tour

 

 

When you first step into the orion factory, you will be greeted by the friendly staff at Orion Beer Factory.

Then you will go through the production process of the Orion Beer. You even get to taste the beer!!

You will visit a Orion shop that is done up by the beer shop in olden days in Okinawa!

 

Lastly, shop till you drop at the Orion beer shop. Alcoholics, please be aware!

  

NameOrion Beer Factory
AddressNaha City Agarie 2-2-1
Telephone81-98-054-
Opening hour900-1600
Tour hours: 0900-1100; 1300-1600
(Only videos are shown on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays)
Rest day31/12-3/1
Websitewww.orionbeer.co.jp
How to goTake bus no. 20, 21, 77 or 120. Stop at Nago City entrance, walk for about 5 minutes. If you drive from the airport though Kyoda IC, it takes about 2 hours.
NoteYou must call for an appointment at least 1 day in advance.
The staff can only converse in Japanese. However, they do have brochures in English.

2. Okinawa Black Sugar Factory tour

Some say one of the secrets for longevity in Okinawa is black sugar that Okinawans eat. Perhaps you can unveil this mystery at Okinawa black sugar factory tour. Okinawa black sugar (Kokato) is one of the local manufacturers of black sugar in Okinawa. During the tour, every step of the making of black sugar is shown: from planting of sugar cane to making of black sugar sweets. They’re all shown is such detailed steps I bet that after this you could easily pass off as an expert should your friends ever ask you about black sugar.

PlaceOkinawa Kokuto
AddressYomitan Village **** 2822-3
Opening hours0830-1730
Telephone81-98-985-4005
Websitewww.okinawa-kokuto.co.jp
How to goDrive from the airport through Okinawa North IC, takes about 50 minutes.
NoteThere is no need to make reservations. The factory is just next to the snack souvenir shops and you are free to visit.

3. Awamori tour

If you are in Okinawa, there is no reason why you should skip a Awamori tour. After all, Awamori is one of the most famous things in Okinawa. There are 2 places open for tours. One of them is Zuisen which is established in 1887. The other is Masahiro which also boast an ancient trail since 1883.

PlaceZuisen
AddressNaha City Shuri ... 1-35
Telephone81-98-884-1968
Opening hours0900-1720
Rest daysecond and fourth Saturday every month
Sunday and public holidays
Websitewww.zuisen.co.jp
How to goStop at Shuri station, walk about 10 minutes. If you drive from Kokusai street it takes about 20 minutes.
NoteNot necessary to call for reservation. Just inform the staff that you would like to visit the factory and they will make the arrangement. Remember to go during opening hours.
PlaceMashiro
Address........ 5-8-7
Telephone81-98-994-8080
Opening hours0930-1730
Rest day30/12-3/1
Websitewww.mashiro.co.jp
How to goDrive for about 15 minutes from the airport
NotePlease call for reservation (Mon-Fri) in advance if you want to visit the factory

 

Add comment January 19, 2011

Three things you need to know about International Street

Naha is the city center of Okinawa, and International Street (Kokusai) is the busiest street in Okinawa. There are hundreds of souvenir shops, fashion retail shops and restaurants on the two sides of the road.

Question: How long is International Street?

Answer: It is actually a 1.6km street ranging from Naha City Prefectural Office North exit cross junction to Asato Road. You can stop at Kencho maes, Miebashis or Makashi Yui station and still be at International Street.

Question: Why do you have such a long shopping street?

Answer: During the WW2, the American soldiers occupied the city area. Okinawan could only gather at the current International Street area which was then outside of the city area and do all types of trading. After the war, shops started mushrooming out, thereby resulting in this so-called “Miraculous 1km shopping street”.

Question: What is so special about the opening hours in International street?

There are many shops that open until 11.00 at night. There are some restaurants that are open until 2-3 am.

NameNaha City Tourist Information Center
Telephone81-098-868-4887
Websitewww.naha-navi-or.jp
How to goStop at Miebashi station, walk along ... to Kokusai Street. Walk about 5 minutes.

Add comment January 18, 2011

Fly in the sky in Okinawa

If you are in Okinawa, you will have a thousand ways to get close to the beautiful blue Okinawan sea. As for a close experience with the blue blue sky, you can always try Blue-Sky. It is not a parachute. Rather you “fly” in the sky with an enormously huge fun and a glider. Sounds amazing? You can only know how it really works when you have a hands on experience. A Blue-sky operates mainly on the power of the wind, you won’t be able to participate if the wind exceeds ***. Hence it is good to call up and check on the wind conditions to avoid disappointment.

NameBlue Sky
AddressNagasu Kuba 1943
Telephone 81-98-942-3600
Opening hours1000-2330
0100-1630
Websitewww.bluesky-okinawa.com
Cost9000yen (10 minutes)
How to goTakes about 1 hour if you drive from airport through Kitanagasu IC

Add comment January 18, 2011

How to take public bus in Okinawa

Step 1: Check the number of the bus that you wish to take (front top left)

Step 2: Take a ticket from the machine

This is a ticket from off base bus. The ticket number is 7.

Step 3: Match the number on your ticket to the display board above the front window. The amount below your ticket number is the sum you pay when departing the bus.

Step 4: Press one of the buttons along the window to signal the driver to stop at the next bus stop.

Step 5: Put your ticket with exact change into the machine in the middle. Put 1,000 yen bill into the machine to the right for change. Collect change in the box to the left.

If you are at a bus stop and want to board a numbered bus, put your hand out as though hailing a taxi. The bus should stop for you.

Add comment January 18, 2011

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