The subtropical climate of Okinawa allows for a fantastic botanical garden where you can examine tropical and subtropical plants and beautiful blossoms. The main aim of the South East Botanical Gardens is to provide knowledge and research about the plants and environment through its two gardens; namely botanical and aquatic. One of the features you can't miss is the pond that flows amidst the garden and the carp fish that swim right up to the surface for feeding. The two gardens also offer their venue for private parties and events.
In Ishikawa near Uruma, visitors can walk through the fern-filled park, kayak, ride in a water buffalo cart, or go on a 25-minute jungle cruise, though tickets for the rides are not included in the entrance fee. The beautiful wild orchids growing in the park and the adjacent Bios on the Hill Garden Center, the largest orchid greenhouse in Japan, provide a perfect backdrop for a romantic outing as well. Wheelchairs and strollers can be rented at the front desk.
Take a peek at life as it would have been in Okinawa's celebrated past. The erstwhile kingdom of Ryukyu has intrigued many and this facility gives a fantastic chance to see what it was like. Formed in order to protect Okinawa's ethnic cultural heritage, Ryukyu Mura is a living village that exemplifies the history and traditions of ancient Okinawa. Visitors to the village have a lot on their hands from exploring the sterling structures and watching artisans at work, to partaking in the various festivals and events celebrated here.
Karaoke House Tomato is a karaoke bar and restaurant. If you want to be a singer or just love to hear your voice, you can go ahead and entertain yourself and the people sitting around. Although there is a bar here, you can take along your children as the bar has a separate kids’ area. So, while you practice singing in the karaoke rooms, your children can have some fun time, too. And the fantastic food that they serve here will make you come back for even more. The bar hosts private parties, as well.
Located just outside Kadena Gate 2 at the Kadena Airbase in Okinawa City, 7th Heaven Koza provides the area with its fix of hard, punk and alternative rock. Find a seat at the bar or one of the tables, or see your favorite artists up close from the standing space right in front of the stage. Headliners here include Mursaki and 8Ball, though DJs also spin house and reggae on occasion. The venue is only open on the weekends, so be sure to check the website if you plan to visit on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The cover charge generally includes a drink.
The Sakura Zaka is a movie theater in Naha. You can watch American, Japanese and other foreign language movies here. The biggest attraction of the hall is that you will not find the films that are shown here at other theaters of the city. Women get special discounts here on Tuesdays. You can find information about the ongoing films and details on other events such as live performances on their website. But, if you just want to spend some time with a friend or by yourself, you can visit the Cha-gwa cafe next door or visit the bookstore-cum-gift shop nearby.
When driving on the Okinawa Expressway between Northern and Southern Okinawa, take a break at the Okinawa Comprehensive Athletic Park to stretch your legs and play with the kids. Offering a view of the azure ocean, the park features a ton of fun for both children and adults. The park houses a water park of sorts, replete with slides and pools. There are also a few walking trails for those who wish to admire the scenery. Other facilities include a mini-golf and tennis courts. Every February, the Okinawa Marathon begins here.
Near MOD'S in Chatan, Salt & Pepper Performance Venue adds to the concert experience with a full bar on the second floor and an expansive stage where performers can rock out. The third Monday of each month is known as Monday Lovers nights, where singles and couples can come and mix to the sounds of reggae and soul. Go to the website to purchase discounted advance tickets to events and to check the schedule.
Facing Sunset Beach near the American Village, Entertainment Pub Restaurant Karahaai lives up to its name, with lively performances featuring Tink Tink and the famous Rinken band paired with freshly prepared food and creative cocktails. Both groups perform traditional Okinawan music while wearing bingata (a colorful dyeing technique) costumes. The Fenutin restaurant, by the same owner as Karahaai, is right next door. People who prefer a quieter meal can reserve a table or private room. Reservations can be made through the website.
The Brook seems like a well-guarded secret and only those in the know are aware of this place. Well equipped with a quality sound and light system, it hosts international DJs and talented musicians on a regular basis. Enjoy the fine tunes with a pint of beer or any choice drink.