Tag Archives: 沖縄

Churaumi Aquarium Okinawa

Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海 beautiful ocean aquarium) is one of the premiere tourist attractions in Okinawa prefecture.  The large aquarium is located within the even larger and interesting Ocean Expo Park on the Motobu Peninsula.  Boasting one of the worlds largest indoor tanks, the stars of the complex are three whale sharks housed with many other fish of varying sizes. Though I’ve lived in Okinawa for over five years, I had my first opportunity to visit Churaumi only this past weekend.  The

Winter Solstice in Okinawa

Here’s a special bit of Okinawan Culture.  Today happens to be the winter solstice (冬至).  Throughout Japan many families will offer rice at their butsudan (family shrines) and pray for good health in the coming year.  In the mainland they will offer white rice. Okinawa has its own traditions, influenced by Chinese culture.  Here they offer a type of fried rice called juushi (じゅうし).  Since it is a special occasion they add a blue potato called ta-mu- in hogen(田芋 or

The Sports Festival

In Japan there is an event called an undokai.  Roughly translated it means sports festival.  When I was on Kitadaito, we had one undokai scheduled every year for the entire village.  Students and teachers spent months preparing.  An entire day was devoted to the event and there were even whole mornings devoted towards practice and preparation.  The event included many running events, such as dashes, relays, and obstacle courses. Students and teachers also put on performances (think halftime shows Japanese-style) and many villagers

Hatenohama: The White Sand Beach

  Hatenohama is probably the single most beautiful beach in Okinawa.  It’s also one of the most remote.  Off shore of Kumejima Island, its a strip of sand that stretches out towards Okinawa in the East China Sea. View Larger Map The beach is in the center of a huge area of shallow water protected by a ring of coral and rock outcroppings. Over thousands of years the tidal actions in the protected area have built up what is now Hatenohama. I