So what else is there to do on Ie Island besides the Lily Festival? Lots of beautiful sites!
Our first stop was Waji, which means spring, is located on the north side of the island, not far from the lily fields. Spring water is produced here and back in the day people used to come here to fetch water. But after the war, water pipes were installed by the US forces which made things convenient (people didn't have to come grab water everyday) and solved the water shortage problem on the island.
The main draw here is the view! The 60 meter bluff right along the gorgeous ocean is a wonderful site.
Living in Japan made me love flower festivals. I learned to stop and see the beauty in nature. One of the many flower festivals / blooms in Okinawa is the Lily Festival on Ie Island, which happens every April.
An excuse to go explore another island around Okinawa AND see beautiful flowers? I'm in!
In April, a few months before we were scheduled to leave our beautiful island home, Nate's Aunt, Uncle, and cousins came out to visit for their spring break! We love visitors and were excited to show them around the island!
It's that time of year again - Sakura in Okinawa! Sakura (cherry blossoms) blooms in Okinawa first before the rest of Japan, usually around end of January / beginning of February. Read all about the meaning of Sakura in Japan in my blog from last year here.
We started our Saturday Sakura viewing in north Okinawa at Mount Yaedake. From the foot of the winding road to the top, more than 7,000 Ryukyu Kanhi Zakura or Hikan Zakura ("Taiwan Cherry"), the Okinawan cherry variety originating in Taiwan and southern China, colors the mountain bright pink. We were a little early in the season but still got to see a decent amount of cherry blossoms :)
What is a yukata? And how is it different from a kimono? A yukata (浴衣) is a Japanese garment, a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined.
Yukata literally means bathing cloth, and was traditionally worn after bathing in a communal bath or onsen, functioning as a quick way to cover the body and absorb remaining moisture. It is also a typical garment and dress code for guests staying at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). Nowadays, yukatas are increasingly popular and worn more during the hot summer months (vs. a hot kimono). People wear them to summer festivals and events like hanabi (fireworks), and bon-odori festivals. In Okinawa, they're usually worn from around May to October (since it's hot here most the year).
Younger people normally wear brighter, more colorful yukatas with bolder patterns (as with the kimono), while the older generation normally wears duller, more subdued patterns and colors like dark blue with a geometric design. The men's yukatas are also darker and more subdued, usually just a solid color.
On a nice Sunday in January, Nate and I decided to go check out some more sites around the Onna area. We visited Cape Manzamo, one of the most photographed, iconic spots on Okinawa by locals and tourists alike. In the 18th century, Sho Kei, a Ryukyuan King, said that the top of the cliff was like a field big enough for 10,000 people to sit. So the way it's written in Japanese kanji form, is for Manzamo to reflect this saying: 万 (Man - 10,000) 座 (Za - to sit) 毛 (Mo - field). The English translation is Cape Manzamo or Cape Manza.
This rock looks similar to an elephants trunk in my opinion and offers great views of the East China Sea.
After my trip back home to California, I arrived in Okinawa just in time for some Halloween festivities. Naturally, I wanted to find a costume where I could wear my comfortable monkey onsie with Nate, so we decided on Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat. :) To kick things off, we had some friends over for a pregame before heading out to our friends Halloween party on base.
My friends Kareena and her husband Alex really took things to the next level with their Alice in Wonderland (roles reversed) zombies. And she put the make up and costumes together herself! #what?! #talentedbetch
Nate and I decided to spend July 4th, 2016 camping in the Keramas. The Keramas is a cluster of around 20 different islands only 35 km west of our main island of Okinawa. Out of the 20 islands, there are 4 that are inhabited: Toshiki, Zamami, Aka, and Geruma. The Keramas are known for their beauty, excellent diving, crystal blue waters, snorkeling, whale watching, and turtles!
We were going to camp on Zamami island, but first, we took one of the ferries from Naha, Okinawa over there - which took about 2 hrs. Lucky for Ricky Bobby - we were able to bring him with us!
On a hot summer day in Okinawa during Memorial Day weekend, we decided to drive up north to Tadake Falls to go hiking with our dogs and neighbors.
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!