- Everlasting Beauty Created by White Sand and Emerald Green… “Kondoi Beach”
- Play Hard in the Sea and Mountain in Okinawa! “Neko no Waku Waku Nature Class”
You Can Enjoy History, Culture, and Nature of Okinawa! “Okinawa World”
post : 2014.07.19 23:00
“Okinawa World” is a popular sightseeing spot where you can savor the whole Okinawa.
The park has much to offer visitors, including “Gyokusendo Cave,” “Kingdom Village,”
where you can feel the culture of Okinawa and experience the traditional handicrafts,
“Habu Museum Park,” where you can take a close look at habu poisonous snake, Super
Eisa Dance, and so on.
In front of the entrance gate with red-tiled roof, shisa (guardian lion dogs) are displayed. Now we entered the gate. Let’s start the tour!
On the left immediately after you enter the park, you will find an entrance to a limestone cave “Gyokusendo Cave.” When you walk down on the gentle slope, a lady wearing a glamorous kimono welcomes you.
Keep going, and suddenly you will encounter a limestone cave that has been naturally formed over 300,000 years.
The cave is one of Japan’s largest ones. The number of stalactites found in the cave is more than one million, which is the largest in Japan. The total length is 5km, 890m of which is open to the public.
You can find expressive stalactites and stalagmites everywhere. It is fun to find stalactites with unique names such as “Blue Fountain,” “Ceiling of the Spears,” and “Crooked Buddhist monk statues.” In addition, “Southern Island Cave Exploration” tour, which you can explore the undisclosed area of Gyokusendo Cave, is held only in summer every year. This full-scale cave exploration tour is recommended if the timing is right for you!
When you get out of the limestone cave, you will find “Ryukyu Glass Kingdom Studio,” where you can experience a popular Ryukyu glass making program.
Next to the studio, there is a shop with a various color of beautiful glass products from glasses and wares to accessories.
When you go further, you will enter “Ryukyu Kingdom Traditional Craft Village.” More than 100 year-old traditional folk houses were moved here to recreate the castle town of Shuri.
In the traditional folk houses which were registered as national intangible cultural assets, you can experience Okinawan traditional handicrafts such as weaving, bingata dyeing, paper making, and indigo dyeing.
The village has a photo studio, so why don’t you have a souvenir photo of you wearing a Ryukyuan costume?
At Eisa Plaza, “Super Eisa Dance” is performed 4 times a day.
Okinawan traditional performing arts called “eisa,” which is danced on July 13 to 15 of the lunar calendar, has been dynamically changed to entertain visitors with gallant performance.
Among all the performances on the stage, a great skill that they show when they jump and turn around while beating oodaiko (large barrel drams) is a must-see!
(Please note that oodaiko performances can be seen in only 10:30 and 12:30 shows. The contents of the performances are subject to change.)
That is not all. You can find more at Okinawa World. After you go through the entrance gate, you will find a facility typical to Okinawa, “Habu Museum Park” on the right. The museum includes exhibits of various materials about habu venomous snakes, a space where habu snakes are on the loose, and exhibits of a little unique creatures like mongooses, lizards, etc.
“Habu Show” is full of thrills yet funny and amusing.
At the end of the show, you can take a souvenir shot with a giant snake!
If you like sake, don’t miss “Nanto Brewery.” They produce “Nihede Beer” a local beer whose name is very similar with an Okinawan word “Nifye deebiru” meaning “Thank you.” Please buy one for a souvenir! Also you cannot miss awamori (Okinawan liquor)-based habu sake. Tasting corner is available, so please find your favorite flavored sake!
And on top of that, Okinawa World has full of more charms of Okinawa including an all-you-can-eat lunch with more than 80 dishes using plenty of Okinawan ingredients, a kingdom history museum ‘Okinawa Culture Center,” “Tropical Orchard,” a souvenir shopping center, etc.
“See,” “Experience,” ”Eat,” ”Buy,” all of which you would like to do during your trip to Okianwa is here at Okinawa World.
This is a real leisure spot where visitors from children to adults can revel in the whole day!
Address: 1336 Maekawa, Tamagusuku, Nanjo City
Hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (Last Entry: 17:00) Open 365 Days a Year
Admission: 1,650 yen for a free pass for Cave, Kingdom Village and Habu Museum Park
1,240 yen for Cave and Kingdom Village, 620 yen for Kingdom Village,
620 yen for Habu Museum Park
* Summer Vacation Event “Southern Island Cave Exploration” Tour
(in Gyokusendo Cave)
* An about 2-hour tour to walk into the undisclosed area of Gyokusendo Cave
The event period in 2014 is July 19 to September 30.
Anyone 5 years old or up can join the tour. (Anyone under 4th grader at elementary school must be accompanied by parent.)
Prior reservation is required here.
Okinawa CLIP Editorial Department (Text by Akiko Ono, Photo by Taiki Gushiken)