Our last full day in Japan was SO fun. We woke up around 5 and were out the door at 6 to get on the monorail. We got on a bus and were off to the aquarium!
We bought some little rice crackers in the airport the day before and we brought those with us to snack on. We drove past little towns and then WHAM it was like we were in the jungle! The forests were crazy dense and there were mountains and it seemed like we were in a tropical jungle! It was mind blowing. Randy told me that nobody goes into the forests and mountain areas there because there are super poisonous snakes and such.
We had a pit stop just past Ishigaki (a little city that Randy did splits in while he was a missionary. He even sent me a video from there saying he couldn’t wait for me to see it one day! HEART EYES). There we found a vending machine (they are ALL over Japan and filled with the most delicious snacks) and we found one that had Blue Seal Choco Drink that Randy loves. It was SO delicious, I was obsessed with it. The drink is SO cold when it comes out of the machine and it was so tasty.
We got back on the bus and kept driving through.
We drove through Nago, where Randy served the first 6 months of his mission! The water there is GORGEOUS, even more beautiful than the water in Naha. We drove past Randy’s apartment, the places where so many people lived that he taught, and he told me stories about each area as we drove by.
We even saw the spot where Randy sent one of my favorite pictures from his mission! It was so amazing to see another city and area that was so important to Randy.
A few minutes later we arrived at the aquarium! We went right in and got a fun picture where they told us to ROAR like the shisa (these little dog statues that are ALL OVER Okinawa! It’s a good luck thing to have them protect your home.)
We went into the aquarium and saw a bunch of beautiful fish, all tropical that I had never seen before! There were a bunch of lobsters and crabs, weird little snake and eels things and I just loved it! We walked around a corner and suddenly saw a HUGE tank! It had 3 whale sharks in it, a bunch of other sharks and a ton of manta rays! It was AMAZING – I still can’t stop thinking about it!
We decided to get real breakfast and I got pasta, Randy got some rice, and we got to sit right next to the tank and eat. We stayed there forever just watching the giant fish. They fed the manta rays and it was SO cool to see them swim up to the surface and swoop fish into their mouth.
We walked into the next room and saw the jaw of a great white shark, which is RIDICULOUS and huge. It was crazy! We also saw a great white shark fetus, which was as big as me. It was NUTS.
Next we got to see how thick the tank glass actually is, and it blew my mind! It seems like it would be from Randy’s finger to his elbow, but you keep reaching around and it goes all the way to his shoulder! It was just really mind blowing, sorry it’s hard to explain!
We finished walking through and saw a bunch of really creepy deep sea fish and a ton of tropical fish, some sea turtles, and then we got to go down to the beach. We had a small photo shoot because we couldn’t stop taking pictures of the beautiful water! It is indescribably gorgeous. I haven’t ever been to a tropical island, but I’m pretty sure all of them will be ruined now because of how gorgeous and wonderful Okinawa is.
We got back on the bus and slept the whole way back, we arrived back in Naha and went back to our hotel to rest up.
When we had cooled off a bit from the heat, we went back to Kokusai Dori for some shabu-shabu. They bring you trays and trays of meat and veggies and you cook it in a boiling broth pot on your table (there is a stove right in your table, so cool!) I LOVED it and thought it was so delicious. We thought we were in trouble, because they charge you for all the meat you don’t eat. They brought out like 12 trays of meat with at least 6 pieces on them, we thought we were toast! But we managed to eat the meat and it was delicious!
We looked out the window and watched the CUTEST little girl dancing in front of a jumbotron in the city, it has a camera and broadcasts you next to under the sea creatures or battle bots, and she was just dancing and dancing and wouldn’t stop! She was out there for at least 40 minutes just dancing and going crazy. It was too cute!
We into Heiwa Dori which is like an indoor market of the city that lets you get out of the heat, to buy the rest of our souvenirs. We decided we had to get matching Okinawa shirts, and found this cool shop that had the coolest guy working there. We talked to him about the church and he told us all about how much he loved beer hahaha, it cracked us up! He was really cool though, and took pictures of us to put on his social media pages!
After that we took a train to this beautiful castle called Shurijo. It was a bit of a walk up but we had a great time chatting. The castle was beautiful, it’s from the 1400’s and was where the leadership lived, then when the Japanese took over they moved in, it was the site of a lot of contention and was actually destroyed during the War of Okinawa, but was rebuilt. We took our shoes off to walk around inside, they had completely redesigned it to look exactly like it would have back then. They had a few paintings and artifacts, but a lot of stuff had been destroyed during WWII. But we got to see the throne room where the Shogun would receive his people and that was amazing!
We also learned that there are a bunch of tunnels under the castle and the city that were built during WWII, which is crazy!
It was SO hot and we still needed one more souvenir so we went to one shop, the lady was SO nice but she was SO particular, she kept wrapping and rewrapping our purchase. Her English was perfect and she was sweet but so interesting.
We walked around Naha more, and decided to have some Japanese McDonalds for dinner, which was yummy! They had wasabi sauce which was tasty, and it was funny to try something familiar but new!
We bought some donuts for the missionaries and some ice cream for us, and then walked to the missionary apartment to try and catch them as they got home.
We were lucky and caught them and chatted, took some pictures with them and they were SO sweet. Randy found out about some of his favorite members and gave them some advice, they were just so sweet! We walked to our hotel and went to sleep, so sad that our adventure was going to be ending the next day.