Thursday, August 2, 2018

2018 Japan Vacation, Day 12 - Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, Okinawa World

One of the places that my father-in-law and I particularly wanted to visit in Okinawa is the Peace Memorial Park.

During World War II, as the American forces defeated Japan throughout the Pacific, Okinawa was the last stepping stone for the Allied forces before a potential assault on the Japanese home islands. The resulting battle for Okinawa lasted 82 days and was one of the bloodiest in the war, with over 200,000 casualties from both sides.

One part of the park as memorials donated by each of Japan's 46 other prefectures.

In the following photo, you can see the Peace Memorial Museum in the distance on the right.

The "Cornerstone of Peace" is a collection of large stone plates with the names of all fallen soldiers and civilians, regardless of nationality and includes Americans.

The park is right on the ocean.

We then went inside the museum and learned about the Battle of Okinawa.

Over 200,000 people died including over 100,000 Okinawan civilians, 65,908 Japanese soldiers, and 12,520 Americans, among others.

From the tower atop the museum, we could see all of the peace park.

After seeing the peace park, we went to Okinawa World.

A theme-park that is centered around Okinawan culture, it reminded us a little bit of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii.

Our first stop in Okinawa World was to see a snake show. The show was not very impressive, but we did get to take the following photo afterward. My wife wanted to sit in the middle so she wouldn't have to touch the snake with her hands.

Also part of Okinawa World is the Gyokusendo Cave.

It takes about a half hour to walk through the cave.

It can't compare to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico that awed us last year, but it was longer than expected and Kai enjoyed it.

It wasn't quite as hot today as it had been, but we still enjoyed refreshing fruit juices. Kai and I had dragonfruit juice, while my wife had one made from bitter melon (goya) which is quite popular here.

The last thing we did at Okinawa World is see the Eisa dance show of various traditional performances of Okinawa. This was my favorite part of the park.

On the way back from Okinawa World, we thought we would go to a nearby beach to give Kai one more chance to get in the water before we left the island. However, we had a hard time finding the beach that we had planned to go to. Since it was also raining heavily, I thought it was best to just head back to the condo.

Kai got extremely upset in the car. He complained about the weather, and kept repeating how he did not like Okinawa, that nothing ever goes right for him, and that he wants to kill himself. I tried to tell him that he was making a big thing out of a little thing, that things weren't so bad, and that there's no point getting so upset about the weather. But I should know by now that there is no reasoning with him when he is like this. He just got more vocal and it was extremely frustrating to hear him be so negative. It again sucked the joy out of the day and I wondered if it was worth it to go on these types of vacations with him.

When we got back to the condo, the rain had stopped so my wife offered to take him to the nearby beach. I was in no mood to go with, but was glad that he came back a happier boy.

For dinner, we went to a yakiniku restaurant where we again got to grill our meat. The beef came from Ishigaki Island, which is another island in Okinawa prefecture and is famous for its beef.

The beef was pretty good, but it did not compare to the Hida beef we had the week before in Takayama which remains the best meal of our vacation.

We wrapped up our last night in Okinawa by going back to the American Village to ride the ferris wheel.

Unlike the ferris wheel at the Tokyo Dome, there was no karaoke on this one. But it was still a fun ride.

Tomorrow we head back to Tokyo and most of our day will be spent traveling.


  1. You must be worn out. Your days are full of activities.

    I’ll bet the cave was cool. It must have been a welcome respite to the warmer surface temp.

    So long as you have good food to look forwards to, the day is never wasted. :)

    1. We were surprised that this cave was not cool (in temperature). I think it is because it is not nearly as deep as Carlsbad Caverns, and the outside climate is consistently warm all year around.

      Ha, good food does make a day worthwhile. :)


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