- A great scenery spot Visitor Center “Subaco”, sitting atop Nangusuku Park
- No Need to Rent a Car! You Can Access to Sightseeing Spots by Yui Rail
The deeper you explore, the more you will enjoy. Visit some off-the-beaten-path places in Kin Town
post : 2017.11.09 07:00
One day, my friends and I decided to do something crazy for my birthday, which happened to be on a weekend. We picked Kin Town as a destination for a fun, frenetic tour.
In past stories, I have described nighttime Kin Town as being like America in the 70s. This time, I would discover that there are other interesting parts of it to explore. We began with a last minute search for a place to stay. Of course, all of the inns that popped up on our search engines were full but after several minutes we finally found Minshuku Izakaya Bonsaimura. This inn reminded me of Guesthouse Gekkoso in Naha City. Just looking at the picture, I thought tourists be hesitant to try it – and it was definitely hard to find.
We checked in a little after sunset. The first things we noticed were showy blinking lights and vivid color displays. In the yard, there are so many bonsai trees that it felt like we’d entered into a fantasy – as in the movie, Spirited Away. I confess that it took some courage to open the door. But then, a lady in a bright green dress welcomed us with a great big smile.
At first, the bar area looked like a hostess bar with its unique decorations and people casually drinking but that turned out not to be the case. The red and green lace, mirror ball, statue of the deity Ebisu and the rest of the decor gave the place the look and feel of a scene from Japan's Showa Period (1926-1989).
Accommodations cost 5000 yen per night regardless of the number of people staying in the room. Rooms are tiny: Four people together would probably be too tight a fit so three people would be the maximum comfortable limit. Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, face cleanser, towels, meal plans and free Wi-Fi are available at this inn.
We enjoyed karaoke and dancing with people from the base that night and woke up the next morning to some people still singing at the bar. I think that next time, I would like to chat with the owner over dinner and drinks. At 10 a.m. as we were checking out, we heard someone calling us. It was the person who was singing at the bar with some dried squid for us to snack on. Although my friends actually didn’t care for the smell, I happily accepted it as a birthday gift. Now... Time for breakfast!
Sea Side BBQ, located on the coast in Kin Town serves very popular ribs. Customers come mainly from the base and enjoy the interior, which is reminiscent of a diner in the US. You might feel like you’re in a rural town somewhere along the coast in America.
I was afraid I might get heartburn eating ribs in the morning. My friends were ready to order half a rack each but we decided to all share a full rack, as we were not sure if we could finish. When the order arrived, it was huge! Definitely an American-sized portion! The taste was American as well, complete with special sauce. We ended up taking out some leftovers. It was a good thing we decided to share…
Then, we visited Gold Hall, a famous bonsai café. Gold Hall is reputed to actually be a residence owned by the founder of Okinawa’s own King Tacos. I learned that he opened the café to show his extensive bonsai collection.
Wait a minute… Bonsai? I saw lots of limestone and wooden objects but no bonsai, even at the inner areas. And, the place even features a real limestone cave. Wasn’t this supposed to be a house?
Inside the cave, there is a bar and a refrigerator. Is it meant for customers?
After a while, we reached at the huge garden. I couldn’t believe this was all one house. There is a myth in Okinawa: You will reach happiness if you see seven goddesses. Is this one of them? There are so many different things in this place – most look expensive but some just look like tchotchkes.
As we went further in, we finally reached a place of bonsai. I saw quite a few of them on the rooftop area.
The exit looks very ordinary after the very unusual interior goings on. That was actually the surprise. Then, I remembered that this was somebody’s house.
We took a caramel latte break at the cafeteria. There were many foreigners. I wondered if they’d come to see the bonsai.
In the end, our experience in Kin Town was full and fun. With every visit, I discover something new. If you are a repeat visitor to Okinawa, you can enjoy not only the sights and beautiful ocean, but also visiting unique places that you can discover on “the other side of Okinawa.”
Minshuku Izakaya Bonsaimura
Address: 10521 Kin, Kin Town, Okinawa
Room charges: 5,000 per night/room without meals, 3,000 yen for one person
Bonsai café Gold Hall
Address: 4272-1 Kin, Kin Town, Okinawa
Closed: open all year
Admission: 800 yen for adults; 500 yen for children
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Sandy