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Ginowan Tropical Beach in Early Spring
post : 2020.02.26 06:00
Ginowan Seaside Park is located in Ginowan City on Okinawa Island. To get there from Naha Airport, go northward on the National Highway 58, and turn left at Makiminato in Urasoe City on to the bypass, and you’ll see the sign to your left. If the traffic is smooth, you can get there in about 40 minutes from the Airport. Within the park grounds is a beautiful beach, with a name that fits the scenery and feel: Tropical Beach.
At Tropical Beach, where the brilliant rays of the Tiida (sun) seems to heat up everything in sight, a great number of locals gather to enjoy BBQs. Each of the tables are filled with food and drinks and smiling people enjoying their beach party. In this article, I’ll be introducing ways to have fun at Tropical Beach in the early spring season♪
The tables set at the beach are usually full of families and groups of friends in the summertime, but in the early spring, you can swing by and enjoy a quiet moment. You can relax as you gaze out to the sea, enjoy Yuntaku (conversation), or spend a peaceful time turning the pages of a good book.
There are locals bathing in the sun, and tourists playing at the shallows of the water. Kick back, relax, and watch the waves or play in them. Unlike the summers, Tropical Beach in the springtime is a relaxing beach for visitors to enjoy the atmosphere in whatever style they like, without the crowds.
The beach offers different things to do during the low and high tides. At low tide in the early spring, you’ll see the vivid green of the Asa or sea lettuce in contrast with the blue of the seas, a sight that you can only enjoy at this time of the year. Asa is a type of seaweed that is commonly used in various Okinawan dishes, like in miso soup, omelets, and others. You’ll see some locals at the beach collecting Asa at the beach here, too.
“The green of the Asa is the most beautiful in February. I used to go to Ou Island to harvest Asa, but recently, I’ve been coming here,” says a Ne-Ne (sister) who was here from Naha. Ou Island is accessible by bridge from the southern region of Okinawa Island, and many locals go there to collect Asa. When I asked why she decided to come to Tropical Beach in Ginowan rather than Ou Island in the south, she said, “I don’t know how to explain it. The Asa at Ou Island is finer. The Asa here are slightly bigger and less fine, so it’s easier to wash (chuckles).” Natural Asa collected at the beaches are washed thoroughly to rid dirt and sand before cooking with them, and this process requires painstaking attention and can be quite troublesome. I can understand why she likes to use the Asa from here.
Spending some time at the beach on Okinawa during the months of February and March and collecting Asa can be a pleasant experience. If you decide to give it try, strike up a conversation with one of the Ne-Ne who are gathering Asa at the beach. I’m sure they’ll be happy to show you how. When collecting Asa, ask the locals if the spot is ok in terms of fisheries rights and be sure that it’s not someone’s Asa farm.
Throughout the seasons and over the ebb and flow of the tides, the seas surrounding Okinawa are always welcoming. Visit Tropical Beach in the spring season, ahead of the busy beach season of the summer, and enjoy yourself.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Mika Asaka