7d6n Okinawa in Pictures: Day 1

Day 1 Itinerary: 

Flight to Okinawa > Transfer to OTS Car Rental Office > Okinawa World > Lunch at Itoman Gyomin Shokudo > Check-In Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel > Umikaji Terrace Senagajima

Flight to Okinawa

We took a 2am red-eye flight with Jetstar to Okinawa! It's our first time to take a night flight, my boys slept at 8pm daily so you can imagine how it was a little difficult to keep the little brother awake before we board the flight.  He fell asleep in my arms 30 minutes before we were allowed to board the flight! It was awkward koala-carrying the 5-year-old, managing the passports + air tickets for boarding, carrying and unloading the hand-carry for security checks just before boarding etc!

The silver lining is our flight is the only direct flight available from Singapore to Okinawa! Hurray to no flight transfer required! Other airlines require you to do a stop-over before flying to Okinawa! And, my boys fell asleep immediately after we boarded so there was no need for in-flight entertainment or to hear any whining! The only trouble I had was that I couldn't fall asleep at all throughout the flight! I was so zombified for my 1st day in Okinawa!

p/s: I rent the Wifi unit from Changi Recommends, collected it before we checked into the airport's departure hall and turned it on immediately upon clearing the Okinawa customs! It's so cheap compared to buying a sim card in Japan! We had a reliable data connection that can be shared among all our devices throughout our stay in Okinawa!

Top: Us at the airport at 1am, waiting to board the plane
Bottom: Us on board the free shuttle to collect our car rental

Transfer to OTS Car Rental Office

Prior to our trip to Okinawa, I have already research and book our car rental with OTS. We rent our car with OTS because

  • They have mandarin speaking staff for easier communication (somehow Japanese are not very good at English)
  • They have early bird discount + additional coupons for booking your rental online before your trip!
  • You can buy discounted attractions tickets with them! 
  • You can rent the ETC unit, car seats, booster seats etc with them!
  • You can buy premium insurance to have all covered for peace of mind! 
  • They have free shuttle bus to bring you from the airport directly to their centre for car collection!

Our plane landed in Okinawa at 8am. Upon clearing the customs and exiting the arrival hall, we just need to look out for the OTS staff with their signage, show them our booking confirmation number, and they will direct us to the free shuttle bus to bring us to the nearest OTS centre (Rinku Toyosaki office) to collect our car. Of course, you can also choose to take the Yul Rail to town and collect your car at another centre on another day, depending on your itinerary.

Do note that you have to tell OTS the places you are staying throughout the rental period and proof to them that you will have a guaranteed parking lot at the places you stay, else they will not release the car to you.

Collection of our rental car, the staff helped us to install the car seats, and explain some of the functions. 

After we collected the car, it was already 10am. We drove to our first stop - Okinawa World and reached there at 1030am!

Very brightly coloured, cute and interesting buildings we see all over Okinawa

You can use the in-car GPS systems with the special Japanese Mapcode to get around in Okinawa. Prior to our Okinawa trip, I read other blogs and it seems like you will need to research on and have your map codes for your destination ready! Boy, I spent days on searching for reliable map codes prior to our trip! But hey! When you buy attractions tickets with OTS, they will give you an envelope to put all your tickets and on the envelope is the list of map codes you need to get to all the attractions in Okinawa! So relax! Haha, don't waste time searching and compiling the map codes, I actually almost didn't refer to my own list!

As we have the WIFI from Changi Recommends, I also use Google Map on my handphone to help us to get to our destination. Personally, I prefer to use the Google Map as we are able to see the whole route before we start driving.

Okinawa World

Arrival at Okinawa World! 1st stop is the limestone cave! It's super cooling upon entering the tunnel!

Okinawa World is the largest theme park in Okinawa. The park has Gyokusen limestone caves, a Kingdom village with traditional houses, the traditional Eisa Dance, a Habu Viper Museum and more. 

We came here to let my boys experience what it's like in an underground cave. The Gyokusen Cave is the largest limestone cave in Okinawa, spanning 5km. Only 890 metres of the cave area is open to the public, and we took quite a while walking and be amazed by the awe wonders of nature, admiring the stalactites. Upon entering the cave, we were greeted with cool and crisp air, which is such an enjoyment from the hot summer above the ground. 

Exiting the cave tunnel, there is a tropical fruit garden where you can see how some fruits are grown.

We also took the opportunity to enjoy our first Blue Seal ice-cream in Okinawa to escape from the heat!

There are also various traditional houses there where you can try out a variety of traditional crafts like glass blowing, jewellery making, twilling workshop etc. We also walked past the Nanto Sake Brewery (which brews the herbal viper sake - snake wine) while on our way out.

Lunch at Itoman Gyomin Shokudo 

After spending two hours at Okinawa World, we moved on and drove to  Itoman Gyomin Shokudo (糸満漁民食堂) which has very good reviews for being a cosy place with well-cooked seafood!

Check-In Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel 

After a satisfying lunch, we drove to check-in at our first hotel in Okinawa - Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Hotel 琉球温泉 瀬長島ホテル. One thing you must take note is that hotels in Okinawa charge by persons staying. So be sure to include all your children when you are booking the rooms to avoid troubles or any unpleasant experience while checking in!

We had a sea facing room with in-room onsen. If you booked a normal room, you can also visit the onsen located near the hotel lobby. The hot spring bath is free for entry for hotel guests and has separate zones for male and females (regardless of age). As we have young boys, we felt it's inconvenient to visit the public hot bath, so we enjoyed ourselves tremendously in our own in-room onsen!

It's our first time in a room with Japaneses elements! 

The best highlight of this hotel is our own private in room onsen tub! 

The view our room is facing

Umikaji Terrace Senagajima

Just beside the hotel is this very Instagram worthy place with the Mediterranean vibes! There was live music going on while we were walking around the waterfront too! There are many shops (selling desserts, ice cream, burger joints, spaghetti and pizza) and a great view of the airport and waterfront! We had desserts and watched the beautiful sunset there!

It's low tide when we were there and we were treated to such a great view!! There are hermit crabs everywhere near Okinawa Beaches and we had so much fun following and moving them! 

This is from Sunroom Sweets, one of the must try at Senagajima

After we had the desserts and drinks, we were quite exhausted, so we headed back to rest in the hotel. In fact, we were so tired, we fell asleep without taking dinner! This is how our first day in Okinawa went!

Bookmark this page as I will update more about our Okinawa Trip along the way!

Other Posts on 7D6N Okinawa Family Trip:

Interesting Facts and Recommended Hotels
Getting Around in Okinawa
Car Rental and Self Driving in Okinawa
7d6n Okinawa in Pictures: Day 1
7d6n Okinawa in Pictures: Day 2
7d6n Okinawa in Pictures: Day 3
7d6n Okinawa in Pictures: Day 4

7d6n Okinawa in Pictures: Day 5
7d6n Okinawa in Pictures: Day 6 & 7

If you would like a copy of my Okinawa Travel Itinerary, please click here to download it.

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