Very comfortable night in our accommodation on Sesoko. I told D. the foam mattress was a “True Sleeper”, but she did not believe me.
After our complimentary breakfast coffee, we set off to walk on the famous Sesoko island beach nearby. Sadly, access was denied as construction of a huge hotel had taken over the entire area. So, we visited the only other beach on this island which turned out to be a poor affair under the bridge that links it to the mainland. We made use of it for a U-turn and set off for Bise.
Bise is a very old settlement, laid out on a grid pattern with Fukugi trees (Happiness Trees) marking the boundary of each individual plot and acting as a wind break. Over the generations these trees have grown, spread, and matured to form shady avenues along the lines of the grid. In summer these must form a cool refuge from the sun. Some plots are abandoned but most houses are still inhabited, and many are summer, rental properties.
At the end of the avenues after about 30 mins. walk, we come out on the sea front and return along the sea wall to where we have parked the car. The tide is out, exposing a beach of coral fragments and the shallow sea is a pleasing turquoise blue despite the overcast sky.
An elderly gentleman is tending a netted area for cultivating Aosa seaweed. He explained to us how he grew this weed at this time of year and Mozuku in the spring. He gave us a taste of his fresh Aosa seaweed which tasted a lot like sea water.
At the end of the sea wall is a pretty sandy cove but, on reaching it, you discover it is fenced off as a private beach for an expensive looking hotel.
From Bise we make for Kouri Island. The main attraction here seems to be the bridge leading to it. Nevertheless, there are a number of tour buses in the car park and stalls selling Ice cream etc. We cross to the other side of the road where we find a quiet spot to eat a picnic lunch looking out over the placid, turquoise sea.
Heading back to Naha along the west coast of the mainland, to return the rent a car, we stop at Manzamo. This is a jagged headland with a blue, blue sea breaking in white surf over the eroded rocks.
Here also major construction is underway but at least it is for a public space of shops and restaurants rather than an exclusive resort.
I manage to photograph a Blue Rock Thrush which almost poses for me. These birds seem far less timid here than those at home in Kyushu.
Michi no eki ‘Kadena’
We stop at michi no eki Kadena. At this place you can not only can buy various souvenirs, local produce or eat at the restaurant but, from the 4th. floor, view the biggest US air base in the Far East. There are many people and some serious cameras well established here. they are staying all day. While we hang about observing the massive Kadena Air Base stretched out below, one big transport plane takes off and a few V-22 Osprey buzz around in the distance.
Izakaya – Robertayaki Yuunami
Back in Naha we return the car with no problem and take the monorail to our very cheap accommodation. This is another one room mansion. It is ok but none to clean. Someone had left their bento box rubbish in the freezer drawer of the refrigerator.
We go out to find an izakaya that, we know, lies just beyond the cheap drinking area. Here, in the maze of arcades of Sakaemachi Ichiba, are a lot of drinking shops open to the street and people drinking outside.
Our place, Robertayaki Yuunami, is a little more up market. It is a good choice, not too pricey, but offering a wide selection of beers. Unusually, the beers are on ice in the counter in front of you. Bottled beer all 390 Yen. You pick you beer open it yourself and at the end of the evening the staff count the bottle caps. A system similar to the kaiten-sushi counting the coloured plates.
The food is good, generous and interesting. smoked lettuce being a first for us. We are satisfied.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.