Wednesday, March 21st and Thursday March 22nd 2018
Oh Naha, how your warm and loving people stole our hearts with their soft spoken hospitality!
Our afternoon arrival took a dramatic turn as the heavy winds beating on our port beam required the assistance of two harbor tugs and the use of both fore and aft thrusters to ease this ‘mammoth sail’ to her berth. Slowly and ever so gently we edged toward the pier so as not to cause a damaging collision. Safety of ship, crew and passengers always uppermost in our ships masters mind.
Disembarkation seemed to take forever, once the ship was cleared to enter Japanese ports, as all hands had to appear before immigration officials for a face to face, fingerprint scan and pictures taken. When it was our turn to go before the officials, we were placed in the 4 and 5 Star mariner que which hastened the process for us.
Once cleared, Barbara elbowed her way to the information counter, then we stood in the chilling wind to have our ‘port’ picture taken. Wanting to conserve our ‘Yen” $$ and energy for our excursion tomorrow, we retreated to the warmth of our ship.
Thursday, March 22nd
On the advice of our ships excursion staff, we decided it was less hassle to take a taxi that morning to the Shurijo Castle Park some distance from the port, which as it turned out was easy-peasy. We were met at the taxi lineup by beautiful young women making sure order was maintained and there was no ‘skipping’.
Once onboard our immaculately clean taxi, the driver dropped the meter and we were expertly whisked through streets that were as clean as the taxi. To our surprise the driver changed the radio station to ‘AFR’ (Armed Forces Radio), a station we had not heard since our days in Greece. I did not realize that we still had a military force on Okinawa. Although throughout our visit I could hear the distinct sounds of jet aircraft on their training(?) exercises.
I wondered if these aircraft were from the same air base where my brother Joe was stationed after WWII, as a crew chief on the mighty B-29’s.
We were dropped of a taxi stand that was conveniently located near the main entrance leading to the Castle Grounds. This where we would return to catch a taxi back to the ship several hours later that morning. How great was that. So efficient these Japanese.
Our track or route as laid out by signs in English, took us ever upward by massive castle walls and thru huge gates on our approach to the “Una” or main courtyard which was sourounded by the stylish structures of Ryukyu architecture.
Off the “Una” were a series of finely crafted buildings where we were required to remove our shoes and carry them with is in a provided plastic bag. Once inside were treated to treasures of the era as well as beautiful blonde wooden walls and lovely beams, and occasional Japanese fiber mat covered benches and floors.
The highlight of this section was the opportunity to partake of Japanese tea and treats for a small sum of 360 Yen. We were warned by staff when we paid, that we would be seated with our legs and feet under a long table; Japanese style. It was another of those memories we shall cherish. Our bags of shoes were required to be stowed in lockers with a unique locking mechanism secured by a wooden key.
Throughout the massive complex we were treated with warmth and dignity by not only the guardians of this treasure but by the local resident tourists as well. World Class.
Our departure was fantastic. Sayonara you beautiful people.
Jack W Cummings Far East Adventure 2018
3 thoughts on “Naha, Okinawa”
I’m THRILLED you all had such a wonderful experience on “our” island! I believe this is still the case….when we were there (9 years), the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, & Coast Guard were all stationed at various places, on island. Oh, the Merchant Marines were there too. It’s a magical place!!!!!!
Aloha from Kona. I’m here visiting. Your sunset sailing photo from Naha was beautiful.N
The Japanese people are so gracious. Keep up the Blog so I can travel with you.
Wow! What a beautiful place! I want to go there. I love the castle. So nice that everything in your port excursion was seamless. What a grand experience. So excited for you both to be on this adventure.