5 Theme Parks in Okinawa Where You Can Have A Unique Experience
People who visit Okinawa definitely want to see as much of the area’s nature and culture as possible. For those people, we recommend trying out some of Okinawa’s theme parks! Here are 5 theme parks where you can have experiences unique to Okinawa.
RyukyuMura is a theme park where you can experience Okinawan culture through a variety of cultural activities and programs. At old and traditional residences that have been moved here from all over Okinawa, you can participate in various activities, such as using a traditional oven to make Sata Andagi (Okinawan doughnuts), or experiencing Bingata-some (Okinawan method of dying cloth). They have a lot of programs that won't be affected by the weather. Don’t forget to check out their daily event schedule, as they hold dynamic dance events where they perform Eisa (Okinawan folk dance) or Michijyune (memorial service parade for ancestors that anyone can join in). There are some programs that only take up a short period of time, so you can enjoy those in-between sightseeing.
Adults (16 and over): 1,200 JPY
Children (6 - 15): 600 JPY
Children (below 6): Free
2. Okinawa World
One of the biggest tourist theme parks in the prefecture, Okinawa World is home to Gyokusendo, which is said to be the Orient’s most beautiful limestone cave. Here, you can enjoy the nature, culture, and history of Okinawa.
The full length of Gyokusendo is 5,000m, but only 890m of it is currently open to the public. There are over 1 million limestones in the cave. You are sure to become overwhelmed by the mystical beauty of the area. When you exit the cave, you’ll see tropical orchards and the theme park’s Traditional Crafts Village, where you can experience making several traditional Okinawan crafts. Two events that you must see are the Super Eisa Dance and Habu Show at Habu Museum Park! Respectively, these events take place 4 and 5 times a day.
Okinawa World is a representative theme park of southern Okinawa that lets guests enjoy things like Gyokusendo, various Okinawan cultural activities, and Habu Museum Park.
Adults (15 and over): 1,650 JPY
Children (4 and over): 830 JPY
*This fee is for a Free Pass that will grant you admission into Gyokusendo, Kingdom Village, and Habu Museum Park.
3. Southeast Botanical Gardens
This botanical garden is filled with tropical and subtropical plants rarely seen elsewhere. The plants are not exhibited in a greenhouse, but rather, in the natural environment of Okinawa. The garden is divided into 2 parts: The botanical garden that has the must-see Alexander Palm-lined Street with 25m Alexander palm trees, and the water garden that’s home to the Baobab tree and one of Okinawa’s largest lotus ponds. They have plenty of popular programs, such as Tram Cart Tour, where you are taken around the garden with a guide. They regularly update their official homepage to let visitors know what kinds of plants are best to see for each season, so checking out the information beforehand will surely better your experience! On Fridays, Saturdays, and the day before a public holiday, they open until late (10:00 PM), so you can see a fantastical view of sunset-illuminated plants from the restaurant at the water garden, PEACE.
General: 1,500 JPY
High school students: 1,000 JPY
Elementary and junior high school students: 500 JPY
Children (under 6): Free
4. Kouri Ocean Tower
Located at Kouri Island, it is a tower that you can get to by crossing the beautiful Kouri Bridge, which offers one of the most beautiful ocean views in mainland Okinawa. After riding an automatic cart from the parking lot for 8 minutes, you will arrive at the ocean tower, which is 82m above sea level. Kouri Ocean Tower has 3 observatories, and you can take in a panoramic view of Kouri’s blue ocean from each of them. After enjoying the view, why not spend a luxurious time at Ocean Cafe or Restaurant Island Blue, where you can enjoy a postcard-like view of the ocean from every seat?
Adults: 800 JPY
Junior high and high school students: 600 JPY
Elementary school students: 300 JPY
Children (under 6): Free
*No entrance fees for the restaurant and shop.
5. Murasaki Mura
This place used to be an open studio for a TV drama about Ryukyu Kingdom. The red brick roofs and stone paths of the kingdom have been replicated in this park. It is a recommended place to visit for families, as they have 101 enjoyable programs for both adults and children! The number of programs you can experience here is unrivaled throughout the prefecture. Their programs include making traditional Okinawan handcrafts like blown glass, performing cultural arts like Eisa (reservation required) and Okinawan karate (reservation required), agricultural experiences, marine experiences (reservation required for some), and making a traditional snack called Chinsuko (small biscuit made with lard and flour). You can participate in many of these programs without advance reservation, so you can spontaneously visit this place and still have a lot of fun! Take part in programs you find interesting while walking around the park.
Adults (university students and above): 600 JPY
Junior high and high school students: 500 JPY
Elementary school students: 400 JPY
Experiencing Okinawa's unique nature and culture will surely make you more attracted to Okinawa! This article is perfect for those who are looking to experience as much as they can in an efficient manner. Make sure to refer to this article when making travel plans!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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