Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa (Part II)

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa (Part II)

Where could you take your Valentine on a beautiful island vacation? Why the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park, of course!

If you look at the beautiful flower arrangements they have in the Tropical Dream Garden, your eyes will feast on a profusion of colors: shocking pink, electric blue, emerald green, deep purple, and golden yellows. The color bouquets are surrounded by the leafy green fronds of water plants and palm trees. Orange pots provide another splotch of contrasting paint to a bright canvas of lush proportions.

If you are in the clutch of a winter storm or a deep freeze, keep your minds wrapped in the blanket of the warm ocean air of Okinawa, the sultry breezes and relaxed island feel.

Not only will you experience a sunny sight at the Tropical Dream Garden, you can explore the ancient culture of the island people through the Native Okinawan Village nestled in the center of the park. Inside tiny compounds surrounded by walls of mud and stone, the house masters wait for visitors in the homemade structures of smooth, polished wood on stone foundations.

Sliding on stocking feet inside an Okinawan house would be simple as all guests must leave their shoes outside the wooden floor area. However, your hosts will probably offer you hot tea and lumps of brown sugar as their honored guest. Many portions of the house have tatami mats made of reeds to cushion those sitting cross-legged on the floor. Exploring the house will take you into a music room with a traditional Okinawan stringed instrument, similar to a banjo mixed with an ukulele.

In the kitchen area is a cooking pit. A cast-iron kettle hangs from chains by a large hook in the ceiling. Animals and supplies are kept in a small shed beside the house.

Once finished with the Village, the next destination for a Valentine getaway can be a starry night —even during the day! The Oceanic Culture Museum will help create this effect with its planetarium which can take you back in time to see ocean skies at night. Being an island people, Okinawans learned to navigate between islands by the stars and by currents in the ocean.

After a tour of the night sky, you’ll be ready to examine the different items made by the Okinawan culture. On the second floor of the building is one of the largest comic book stories of a young native who became a navigator for his tribe. On the lower floor, you can see great dugout canoes built by hand. The process of building a canoe is not simple, but by following the exhibits, anyone can find out the major steps of getting a canoe ready to sail.

Not only did Okinawans use canoes for small trips from one island to another, they built large sea-going craft that looked similar to today’s catamarans. Two hulls set apart by ten to fifteen feet have a central platform with a wooden house in the middle. Because a sea-worthy boat must withstand heavy waters rushing around it, the designs are exact and the wood is sealed against any leakage.

Before you finish your tour, make your way to Emerald Beach to experience the waves, sun, and endless blue sky with the special people in your life. The golden sand, green waters, and palm trees swaying in the breeze will keep you wanting more.

Click on this link (or paste it into a web-browser) to see terrific pictures of the exhibits and Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa. http://oki-park.jp/kaiyohaku/en/

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