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The only white sand beaches you will find east of Kume Island are at Hate no Hama, a seven-kilometer (four-mile) stretch of pure white juxtaposed with deep blue waters that never seem to end. The island itself can only be described as a mosaic of beaches, making it the ideal tropical paradise. To get to this amazing getaway, visitors need to take a boat from Kume Island (the ride is about 20 minutes). There are few things to do except relax and take the time out to enjoy life and the surrounding natural beauty. During the summer months, mats and parasols are available for rent to make sunbathing more comfortable for beach-goers.
Perfect for a relaxing family outing, adults can walk around the gardens admiring the view while kids make crafts like kaleidoscopes and painted figurines to take home as a keepsake. The park as its own currency called the "slow," a product of the ivory-nut palm tree. 500 slows are given to adults upon entry, and more can be purchased at the rate of 1 slow per yen. Slows can be used to buy goods and food in the park.
The Churaumi Aquarium at the Ocean Park Expo is the perfect place to experience Okinawa's beautiful sea life and coral reefs, and its facilities make it a wonderful place to bring children. The largest tank in the aquarium measures a whopping 7,500 cubic meters (264,860 cubic feet) and houses some of the world's largest manta rays as well as sharks, the most impressive of which are the whale sharks. The Churaumi Aquarium is also the first aquarium to be equipped with a reproducing coral tank whose water flows freely in and out of the ocean. Dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and fish also reside happily here.
Near Shurijo, Shikina-En Garden served as a second home to the Shuri kings as well as the reception area for Chinese envoys. This idyllic pond-garden was first completed in 1799, before it was sadly destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa. An expensive reconstruction was carried out from 1975, and it took all of 20 years to restore the garden back to its original glory. Today, the gardens feature traditional Chinese bridges that connect small ponds, with beautiful seasonal trees such as plum, wisteria and bellflowers surrounding them. The confulence of Japanese and Chinese landscaping has led the gardens to become a part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
At the Busena Marine Park on the southern outskirts of Nago City, tourists and locals alike can go underwater to explore the coral that thrives in the ocean, or board a glass-bottom boat to admire what lies beneath. The observatory looks like a tube perched off the coast of the island, and takes visitors down to the ocean floor for a panoramic view of Okinawa's marine life. Glass-bottom boats that go further out are on the beach.
Opened in 2013, Kouri Ocean Tower is located on Kouri Island which is also known as Love Island. Standing tall at 82 meters above sea level, Kouri Ocean Tower offers panoramic views of the turquoise blue waters and the Kouri Ohashi Bridge. Along with the observation deck, the building also houses a museum that exhibits about 10,000 shells collected from all over the world, a restaurant that overlooks the scenic waters and a souvenir shop.