Okinawa travel planning

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travelbrochures.jpgI got it into my head that I'd like to go to Okinawa for my birthday as a nice tropical treat. I know domestic travel is usually cheapest if done on a package tour or plan that includes hotel and flight, so I went to the local JTB office and grapped some pamphlets.

Well, they aren't pamphlets as much as 40-60 pages of messed-up layout and advertising.

From these slick brochures, I cannot tell which island and hotel combo has the right atmosphere. I just want a quiet place with great food and some beach activities. Maybe snorkelling or sea kayaking--something a little physical to burn off the fruity drinks, awamori and tasty dinners.

Wanna leaf through the ANA's Okinawa Sky Holiday brochure with me?

oki-flightup.jpgLet's start with the basics. Here on page 2 we're already discovering that you can get better flight times by paying extra money. Leave Tokyo earlier on the first day and return home later on your last day. Only 1,500 - 3,000 yen/person. Is that per flight or does it cover round trip? I'll bet it's per flight but I can't tell without looking up some kanji.

oki-dolphon.jpg Flipping forward past the bus time tables and rental car details, we find this ad on page 22. At the Renaissance Resort, you can get the resort's most popular attraction, a Dolphin Encounter, for 7,800 yen for 40-60 minutes. I'm not exactly sure what this includes, but the fine print has an awful lot of dekimasen in it. Never a good sign.

oki-roomup.jpgHotels in Japan all seem to have twin beds. Even if you pay an extra 15,000 yen/night at the Busena Terrace, you don't get a big bed, just a large 43 square meter room with bath, toilet, big balcony, welcome fruits and the Stepford wives in the lounge. Let's move on to another page, shall we?

oki-dressup.jpgPage 25 of 58. What fun! Free dress up in Okinawan-style traditional costumes. Good for women, men and children's use. Please bring your own camera. This is point 6 at the Laguna Garden Hotel. Some of the other points include 50% off rental cycles; 10 game corner tokens, and discount coupons at the American Village amusement area. This is obviously a family resort. Run away!

oki-dinner.jpg None of the places feature their food, though they all offer optional dinner plans through the ANA Sky Holiday service. 2,500 yen/person gets you a choice of Chinese, a Japanese buffet, or an Okinawan buffet at the Rizzan Sea Park Hotel. This is a bit pricey and limited in scope as other hotels offer 5 choices for 1,500 yen. So maybe the food is better here.

oki-oxcart.jpgAll of the previous resorts were on the main island, about 80 minutes' bus ride north of the airport at Naha. If you go out to some of the other islands, you get to do more sedate activities. This ox cart photo is featured in every brochure page listing Yufujima, a speck that doesn't even seem to have a hotel. You have to go there special to ride the ox cart. Hmmmm. Pass me another Tanqueray and tonic, please.

To go on the Free Plan ("free" meaning you don't have to go on all the pineapple plantation tours and have set menu dinners during your holiday), not including optional dinners, upgrades or any activities, I will have to shell out between 53,000 and 67,000 per person. Am I willing to spend that much to discover that I've guessed wrong about the resort's ambiance?

I think I'll plan to stay home for my birthday this year.

3 Comments

The JAL Private Resort at Okuma (www.jalokuma.co.jp) is worth considering. It has guest cottages in a big garden (infinitely more relaxing than rooms in a big block), a private beach, and decent restaurants. The only drawback is a long drive (about three hours if I remember correctly) up the island from Naha Airport.

My field trip to Okinawa is probably going to be cancelled, because there are American base there. =/ Sucks. Be careful!

I and my younger one were planing same trip this March, and we were exactry in same situation as you are.
Hey, instead, why don't you visit us in Oita.
We have good sea food, nice seasides, and plenty of Onsen! It's quite cheep if you pick up the flight&Hotel plan. I can pick a good one, and guide you real local points.
Really think about it.

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  • sayaka: I and my younger one were planing same trip this read more
  • yuki: My field trip to Okinawa is probably going to be read more
  • Dan: The JAL Private Resort at Okuma (www.jalokuma.co.jp) is worth considering. read more

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