Cape Chinen, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Food, Japan, Okinawa World

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 4): Cape Chinen, Okinawa World, Gyokusendo Cave and Lieta Nakayama

Okinawa is famous for its capes. We drove up to explore Cape Chinen, a well-known beauty spot in Okinawa which is located in the southern area of the main island of Okinawa.

Passed by lovely little villages.

Cape Chinen

Common to find free parking.

It can get very windy when visiting outdoor attractions in Okinawa.

Visitors can choose to walk further up to enjoy the beauty of nature.

It started to drizzle again and we decided to stay under the shelter.

Make a stop at Cape Chinen Park and observe panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. When comes to the night, it makes a clear spot for stargazing.

Okinawa World

Okinawa World (おきなわワールド) is a touristy theme park about Okinawan culture. The park’s main attractions are a massive natural cave, a craft village and a snake museum.

Okinawa World consists of Kingdom Village, Habu Park and Gyokusendo Cave. Expect to spend about 3 hours to discover the entire attractions.

Much attention was given to the Gyokusendo Cave as we arrived rather late. With a length of about 5km, this is the longest of the many caves in the south of Okinawa Island and the second longest cave in the entire country.

The cave is well-lit and cooling.

A natural museum beautifully carved over 300,000 years. Ceiling of the spears.

The blue fountain.

Within Okinawa World, we also explored the Kingdom Village and tropical orchards.

There are some 450 tropical trees that bear 100 types of fruits like mango, papaya, pineapple and such.

At the Craft Village, take a look on how the locals recycle empty bottles and transform them into charming Ryukyuan glass.

Walk a further in and we saw the Ryukyuan photo museum. Photo-taking in traditional clothing is popular among tourists. Recall that in the past, only royalty and the gentry wore them.

They loved it!

Lastly, the Nanto Brewery opened our eyes to see how they made habu snake liquor.

We had our dinner at the Food Market..

To stroll the tempting displays of food selection is to embrace Okinawa’s food culture.

We really like the way shopping malls put up these cooked food for customers to buy. The best part was the reasonable prices as one can see.

A microwave oven is placed near the cashier for us to warm up the food.

And this was how we settled our hunger pangs.

You need to pay toll fees when driving through Okinawa expressway. In fact, it cost more paying toll fees than petrol during the trip.

How not to make a pit stop when A&W appears.

Big and Small M are fans of American food!

We moved to our second hotel stay at Leita Nakayama. We booked this hotel as it is near to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and not expensive.

It was a pleasant surprise that the hotel room was really big and we didn’t realise.

It comes with 2 bathrooms, 2 toilets, 1 bedroom with 2 beds and a living room. Washing machine, dryer, fridge, microwave oven and cutlery are provided.

This is the beautiful view from the hotel’s balcony.

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American Village, Car, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Food, Growing Up, Japan, Okinawa, Shopping, Shuri Castle, Travel, Travel Blog, Traveler Wifi, Tsuboya Pottery District, Umikaji Terrace, Vacation

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 3): Tsuboya Pottery District, Shuri Castle, Umikaji Terrace and American Village

It is more convenient to travel around Okinawa by driving. It was raining most of the time but we didn’t forgo visiting Tsuboya Pottery District.

Tsuboya Pottery District

Traditional houses with red earthenware roof tiles, accompanied by ceramic studios and stores.

Cute little huts showcasing one-of-a-kind mugs, plates, and pitchers.

Shuri Castle

We visited Shuri Castle on our next stop. Shuri is the name of the former capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Shuri Castle (首里城, Shurijō) served as the residence of the Ryukyu kings for several centuries until Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture in 1879.

The place was huge and expect lots of walking.

The castle interior is very clean and visitors are required to take off their shoes (carriers are provided). Interiors of the Hokuden and Nanden are constructed like modern museums.

A replica of the king’s throne and crown are among the exhibits.

Traditional Japanese dance by the boys.

And we tried the traditional snacks!

The most famous and popular dessert in Okinawa is the Blue Seal Ice Cream.

Big and Small M satisfied their cravings after completing the tour of Shuri castle.

Umikaji Terrace

The Umikaji terrace is situated on a hill below the Senagajima onsen Hotel. This place has the romantic feel as planes flew above us while we sight the beautiful sea view right in front of us.

A tiring climb up the flights of stairs to the peak and discover the beautiful views.

The terrace is close to the beach and the sea waters are generally mild and peaceful for one to explore the area.

The waters of Okinawa are so clear!

Tacos restaurants, ice cream shops and cafes literally packed the terrace.

Greece and Mediterranean vibes, that’s what everyone acclaimed after a visit to the Umikaji Terrace.

Umikaji Terrace

We drove further up north and reached the Mihama American Village, which is a large entertainment complex located in central Okinawa. Actually the American Village is not so fantastic but we supposed it is still a need-to-check-out attraction.

There is this Ramen shop outside the American Village and many diners flock to eat here.

Their ramen was one of the best we ever tried!

Our tasty orders, look at the thick broth.

The most recognizable feature of the American Village is the large Ferris wheel.

The shopping mall is not huge but there is this 100 Yen shop which is a nice store to find good items.

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Eat, Education, Food, Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, Growing Up, Japan, Kokusaidori, Okinawa, Photography, Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market

Okinawa Travelogue – (Part 2): Aeon Naha, Kokusaidori Night Street, Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, Kaigungo Park Playground and Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market

Still on the first day. After a rest, we visited AEON Naha during the evening. The shopping mall is directly-connected to Monorail Koroku Station and this is the view from the monorail station.

What was fascinating was that the residential buildings beside the monorail station looked exactly like Singapore’s HDB flats!

A closer look.

Aeon Naha

A big fan of Aeon malls wouldn’t want to miss exploring them.

We were here to have our dinner at the foodcourt.

The foodcourt was filled with students hanging out here after their school.

The prices were reasonable and the quality of food wasn’t compromise in terms of quality.

This is our favorite section in the Okinawa shopping malls. At certain hours, they may have discounts off the racks, some as much as 50%!

Kokusaidori Night Street

We thought spending one full day in Naha city would be enough. A meaningful visit to Okinawa should involve driving out to discover the attractions which travelling along monorail would not be possible.

When night falls, Kokusaidōri comes alive. Restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and shopping malls will be packed with people.

People thronging the streets and traffic is slow moving, sometimes coming to a complete halt. And it’s good to take a pause and admire the city of Naha.

Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters

On our second day, we picked up our rental car (Toyota Sienta) from the hotel and drove to the Former Japanese Navy Underground HQ, which is about 3km from Mercure Naha. This hybrid car is fuel-efficient and we only filled the petrol twice (~SGD100) throughout 5 days of usage which allowed us to cover about 650km.

The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, a 450 meter tunnel complex which was served as an underground headquarters during the Battle of Okinawa was established in 1944.

Best part of our visit here was the underground tunnel.

A reminder of the tragedy of the Battle of Okinawa.

The Chief Commanding Officer’s room.

Kaigungo Park Playground

At the exit of the Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters, we get to see the Kaigungo Park playground. Sob sob, it was raining most of the time in Okinawa and the kids were unable to play the slides.

However, we must say Okinawa definitely bring their playgrounds up to another level. Imagine this is where kids can slide for more than a minute and enjoy excitement to the fullest.

Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market

The Tomari Iyumachi Fish Market located at Tomari Fishing Port. It is a medium-sized seafood market with shops selling fresh tuna, salmon, grilled lobster, scallop, unagi, squid and many more.

There is a processing plant screened with glass for viewing. Workers are working hard to bring the freshest catch out for sale.

This is the best and biggest fish market in Okinawa where you can get same-day-fresh seafood and other marine products.

We had our breakfast here.

Freshly grilled and juicy lobsters.

She must be very happy!

Visitors come here for a taste of great Okinawa seafood!

Highly recommended to come here as the prices are reasonable.

As there are lack of sitting places, most of the time people would need to stand eating.

 Tomari Iyumachi is the direct sales fish market in Naha with tuna specialty vendors from the Okinawa Fishing Cooperative and mozuku vendors in addition to wholesalers. The best time to visit Tomari Fish Market is in the morning.

Our gripe was the frequent rain but this has been a great trip so far!

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All photos, information and opinions, unless otherwise stated, in this post belong to Katong Kids Inc. Reproducing or copying them for use on third party sites without our written permission are strictly prohibited. All rights reserved.

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What’s Out There (And In Here): Traveling By Yourself To Broaden Your Mind

There’s nothing quite like getting out there, on the road, and traveling the world, viewing proceedings from the ground floor. But, when you are thinking about planning a long journey around the world, stopping over in many countries, are you going to do this by yourself, or with a group of friends? Usually, we would think about going as a group, but if you really want to experience the world first-hand, going around the planet on your own is the best way for you to broaden your mind. It’s been said a million times before, that travel broadens the mind, but if you really want to expand your horizons, mentally and emotionally, you have to explore the world by yourself, and so, how can travel broden the mind better when you are by yourself?

You Find Out What You Are Made Of

There is nothing quite like going somewhere by yourself, and having to rely on your skills and instincts to get you around. We can either feel intimated by a big and scary world, or we can embrace it, and really get involved. What you learn when you are travelling by yourself is that getting from one place to another isn’t as stressful as we once thought. In fact, even if you don’t speak the language, there is always help available, and you realise that a new environment isn’t scary and alien. And, even if you encounter a few difficult scenarios, you have to think that little bit more to get yourself out fo those situations. And once you’ve done this, you can realise exactly what you are capable of. By throwing ourselves into new situations, we embrace the whole sink or swim attitude to life. By doing this, and realising that when we make a little mistake that the world doesn’t cave in on us, we build our emotional strength.

You Develop Your Confidence

The stronger we get in an emotional sense, the more confident we feel. When we are stuck in our hometown, in a dead end job, or we are used to a certain pattern of living, we can feel somehwat hemmed in. Once you break out of all of these constructs, and you being to travel the world by yourself, you can reinvent who you are. This is one of the most enlightening feelings we can have in life. By going to a new country, we can completely change our personality, or try on new ones. Instead of being a shy and retiring person, or being a nosey loudmouthed person, we can’t try on a new “suit” and see how this different personality fits. And that’s a great thing when you are going from place to place, and relying solely on your instincts to get you by, in many ways, you might realise that the person you were isn’t the person you’d like to be. By going from place to place, and making new friends, even just for a night, you learn how to adapt to new situations quickly. You realise that these moments we have in life aren’t always about lifelong friendships, it’s about learning from others, and figuring out who we really are. These is no better way to understand who you really are than travelling and putting yourself into these new and exciting situations.

You Can Start Again

And by putting on a whole new personality, you may find a way of life that suits you more than the one you are used to. A lot of people travel from place to place, and they encounter so many new and exciting ways of living, there can be the temptation to stay in one place, possibly for the rest of your life. But the great thing about travbelling is that you can spend as long as you really want to in one particular place, and you can even rent a property, just so you really know in your heart of hearts if this is a place that you’d like to stay for the foreseeable future. Links like https://www.rumah.com/rumah-disewa/di-area-semarang-idjt28 shows you the various types of houses that are for rent in Central Java, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum spending prolonged periods of time in these places may help you realise where home really lies for you. By going all around the world, you may finally understand that there is no place like home. In this respect, you can start your life over again with a clean slate, wherever you end up, because you’ve been out there, and experienced what the world has to offer, and you’ve found what is really important to you and what you actually want out of life, whether it’s an adventure, or the simpler things.

You Learn New Skills

Naturally, as you explore the world and find new cultures and approaches to life, you learn how to navigate public transport, find great food recommended by the locals, and learn new skills within yourself. Coping skills are one of those all important tools that we need in life to tackle new and exciting horizons. Whether you learn through fellow travelers, or you naturally stumble upon new skills that you wouldn’t have considered before, these are all things you can utilise for your adventures across the globe. While something like meditation can be beneficial in every  aspect of our lives (https://alifeofproductivity.com/meditation-guide can give you some of the basics), when you are travelling across the globe, you need to find a way to relax quickly, but still have your wits about you. After a while, this idea of expanding your comfort zone means that you will thrive in situations that used to stress you out completely. By learning new skills, it’s not just about making these serve you well during your travels; you will learn how to implement them in other areas of your life, long aftet you finished your excursions. And this is the true benefit of broadening your mind while you travel.

You Will Feel A Great Achievement in Life

Last, but not least, you will feel a great sense of achievement. After all, you’ve learnt how to navigate “alien” worlds, discovered how to trust your instincts, and you’ve learnt how to apply so many new skills to get by, all of which adds up to a momentous achievement. And, these skills you learn are what will help you live a better life. Heading out across the world by yourself is a major undertaking for anyone, and many people will voice their concerns, but you will get to the core of who you are and what is really important to you. Whether this is by experience new cultures so you can look at the world a little differently, or these experiences you have accumulated has finally made you realise that home is where you will thrive, it’s hardly a surprise that the travel bug is something that so many people can’t shake. Some people don’t like to experience new things, they are more than happy in their bubble, but it’s these people who may not necessarily achieve much in life. Yes, this is a grand statement, but if you are missing something in life, or you want to discover what is out there as well as in you travelling is the simplest way to achieve so much. It’s been said before that travel broadens the mind, but it’s not just because you learn about new cultures, by going out of your comfort zone, you finally get to grips with who you really are.

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Road Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

It is not often we can get a chance to be across the globe. As evidenced by the beautiful scenic pictures that keep cropping up in our trip planning, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) promises unique landscapes and plenty of places to stop and explore. However, we are still toying with the idea of whether to take a domestic flight or drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

The distance stretches up to 800 km and it does not seem possible to complete the route within a day without exploration.

A tad daunting, perhaps.

An initial thought was making interval stops before hitting Los Angeles (LA). That means shortening the time we have in LA, an itinerary that we felt are not conventional to many travellers as they prefer to spend more time in LA with the availability of amusement parks. After some research, it seems hard to miss out attractions along PCH.

All thanks to Outdoor Blueprint, they made trip planning easier with these attractions laid out neatly.

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

MONTEREY BAY

Monterey Bay Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

BIG SUR (Limekiln State Park)

Limekiln Big Sur 26
Image Credit – https://californiathroughmylens.com/big-sur-attractions

Big Sur Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO

San Luis Obispo Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

 

POINT CONCEPTION (The Santa Barbara Channel)

Image Credit – https://exoticwinetravel.com/santa-barbara-urban-wine-trail/

Point Conception Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

If you have driven across Pacific Coast Highway before, do feel free to share your travel hacks.

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D’BUN 利满: CAFE@356 in Joo Chiat

True-blue foodies are willing to travel great distances in search of good eats. In the heart of Joo Chiat, there are no lack of culinary hotspots and most recently, D’bun (the bun specialist) newly opened Cafe@356, a cosy, homely concept that delivers the best home cooked flavours.

We know the weather can be unforgiving in the afternoon, with the sun scorching down on us. With the air-conditioned ambience, the cafe provides a great respite for customers.

Not forsaking its traditional product offerings, one can expect to find authentic light-bites. The owner shared that they aimed to make their foods with fresh, subtle and natural tasting flavours. As such, the products from our kitchens are hand made in small batches using quality ingredients.

From the way they are, the products simply doesn’t need any further embellishment.

With the mid-autumn approaching, would you like to try D’Bun Mooncakes which are baked fresh using fillings blended so that they are not overwhelmingly sweet and come in several traditional varieties. The suite of mooncake comes in these styles – snow skin, traditional baked and baked pastry.

Trying out their ever popular freshly made buns. Your first bite will be a revelation. We are not sure if they are absolutely addictive, but you just can’t give it a miss.

CHAN2 (1)

Absolutely love these light-bites, served in pretty generous portion! The soya-bean milk is a thirst-quencher.

Their shop cannot be easily missed when you step into Joo Chiat Road.

Main Branch
358 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427603
Open Daily 8am – 10pm
T: +65 6345 8220
F: +65 6344 8110

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Old Siglap Flats: Goodbye Yesterday, Hello Tomorrow

Four blocks of low-rise HDB flats (pictured) at the junction of East Coast Road and Siglap Road are set to be demolished under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS).

Officially opened in 1964 by Siglap assemblyman Rahim Ishak, the flats were built to house residents whose homes were destroyed by a fire in 1962. It was learnt that  the fire was sparked by firecrackers near the then-famous Siglap Market (now rebuilt into Siglap Centre) during the Chinese New Year celebrations of 1962.

Capturing the photographic memories before the estate is demolished to make way for new development.

One of the ten commercial shops that once, used to serve many residents here. This traditional barber shop had operated for more than 40 years.

There are a total of four blocks which are made up entirely of two-bedroom units. Do you know that these HDB blocks have no lifts and each block is only served by a single staircase.

Most of the 117 units are two-bedders, with a third comprising rental flats.

Walking in, you will notice a neighbourhood preschool. The little ones who had attended the school would have been grown up by now.

Searching high and low for some outdoor activities to motivate your kids? Surprised to discover an outdoor playground, still in good condition, at the back of the estate.

With the advent of modernisation, the old Siglap HDB flats and its decaying surroundings have not escaped from the throes of urban redevelopment. Being a popular residential location, it looks like construction will continue to take place in Siglap, building onto its existing popularity. This trip has been fruitful, bringing back these precious pictures to archive in my photo library.

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