English - Yoron report

Report on our visit to Okinawa and especially to Yoron island (dedicated to our kind „travel agents” Naoko Hara, whom we promised a detailed report, and Elli Tsuji, with many thanks for their help!)

We have enjoyed it very much!

We arrived to Naha on the 11th around 4 pm after a two hour flight from Fukuoka. All halls and corridors of Naha airport are decorated with blooming orchids and other subtropical flowers. This gives the right feel of subtropical paradise. Next to the airport there is a monorail that we took to Sun Sea hotel, it takes only 15 minutes and you are in the centre of Naha. Naha seems no diferent from any other Japanese city. However it has lovely main streeet Kokusaki dóri and busy shopping arcades and public market around Heiwa dóri that is definitely worth visiting and spending few hours shopping, window-shopping, and sampling strange and wonderfull Okinawa foods. Our main activity on the day of arrival has been dinner with our observer friend Yoshihiro Kodama who is living in Okinawa, his wife, two beautiful daughters and a two years old son, our friends from Poland, Slovakia and Brasil. Our dinner has consisted of Okinawan specialty foods and live Okinawan music. Food has been delicious and quite diferent from main land Japan. We were surprised by the bitter melon dish and by pig ears salad, excited by baked krab, excellent sashimi, fried sweet potatoes, okinawan risotto, speciality pork meat, and more. We drank local Orion beer and Awamori.
Martin´s comments: What we enjoyed in the restaurant was also a show of two girl-singer who performed local Okinawan songs. They are really good singers which kept the show on very good level, although synthesizer musical accompaniment seemed to me a bit like from the karaoke show. I liked the melodies, just something between japanese and chinese traditional music. Later I heard the music played on (seemed to me) original string instruments and I liked it but the positive experience of those two singers was not overbeated.

Next morning we checked out, walked around Heiwa dóri, then took monorail to the airport. Our plane DHC-8-103 has been considerably smaller than Boeing 737 that we have flown to Naha. We have flown to the north of the main island to Yoron island. During our 40 minutes long flight we could see most of main island, agricultural south and green and natural north looked lovely from our airplane windows.
Martin: I love flying so I enjoy really much we fly from Fukuoka to Naha and have another “sightseeing” flight from Naha to Yoron. Local airport was pleasure for me to see and mainly to stay about 200 meters from it´s runway. The greatest pleasure for me was staying on the beach without other people together with seeing boats and landing small aircrafts!

Yoron is a small flat agricultural and resort island, with only 22 km around. We were headed for Pricia resort, located at the seashore, at the end of the runway. Naoko has boked a four night stay at this resort for us. Resort bus has picked up all the guests from the ariport and drove us approximately 1 km to Pricia. Pricia is a relatively small resort with bungallow accomodation. There are three types of bungallows. Type A is nicest and most expensive. First floor appartments have own yard and jacuzzi with superb ocean view. There are only few of them and they were empty. Type B are two stories appartments for three to six people. We were staying at ocean front second story type C bungallow. It is still big enough and comfortable for two people. Our view overlooks ocean, small harbour, and generator station. The resort is quite simple, built in (what local people imagine to be) “greek” style, it has basic facilities, it is mostly oriented on scuba diving and has own dive shop, windsurfing, other water sports, and on weddings (it has a small Christian chappel and a nice ocean view place for photos). Diving must be great on the island.
Martin: My opinion is A type bungallows are worth the price because of private yard with undisturbed ocean view from the outside jacuzzi. Excellent choice for honeymoon or holiday with children. I am completely satisfied with our C-type with double room space compared to any hotel we stayed in Japan. Although I liked those city accomodations with cozy rooms, I like the room here even if we stay here only to have shower, sleep (or writing report), not with children or enjoying honeymoon :-)

There are almost no people in the resort at this time of year – scuba divers, few retired people, one small wedding. Pool is closed, two of the jacuzzis are closed, the only remaining is jacuzzi in front of the dive shop. However we did not mind - ocean temperature has been the same as the air – pleasant 26 degrees. At this temperature we were the only people swimming in the ocean without wetsuits! We were spending hours snorchelling and swimming, it was really not cold. Weather has been changing from cloudy and windy to calm and sunny to rain within few days. Generally it has been warm and pleasant. We have spent first day on the hotel beach, second day we took hotel shuttle across the island to Yurigahama. This is a shallow that appears as a sandy beach few times a month depending on tide and weather. We were not so lucky, however the Okaneku beach in front of Yurigahame is lovely and good for snorchelling. We have seen morray eels, groupers, box fish, needles and a lot of other interesting fish that I am not able to name. Third day we have walked to Paradise beach located close to the middle of the airport runnway. The reef is very close to this beech and we were able to snorchel directly on the reef, the views and the fish were spectacular. We have spent all day on this beech snorchelling and resting on the sun.
Martin: Turtle seen! Swimmed surprisingly quickly.

Our stay has included meal plan that included good European, Japanese and Okinawan - style breakfast buffet and Japanese and Okinawan dinner menu in a pleasant izakaya PIKI. For us it has been a good opportunity to sample different delicious local foods.
Martin: Overall rating is very good. Pleasant place and food, above the average knowledge of English which helps us gaijins very much, good accomodation with nice ocean view. Almost no other tourists!
Good idea is to rent a car or bike for a day and see the whole island. I enjoy also true holiday feeling, not felt in last year.

Okinawa, Yoron Island, 15.11.2006 10:41