Saturday, July 20, 2013

Okinawa, Japan

Because of Typhoon Soulik, we changed our flight and then that flight was delayed but we finally made it to Okinawa, Japan on July 13 - country number 13 - for a 13-day visit...weird!

We started our sightseeing on July 14 - went to Shurijo Castle Park and walked around. Shurijo Castle was constructed around the 14th century and served as the center of Ryukyu Kingdom for approximately 500 years. Shurijo Castle was actually reduced to ashes in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 but was restored in 1992.

Making our way to Shurijo Castle - passing by Ryutan Lake

Saw this sign along the way...

Looks like Cartman from South Park is drowning

Entrance to the grounds - Shureimon Gate

Paul is really beginning to like this pose

Self portrait

Kankaimon Gate - front gate of the Shurijo Castle

Zuisenmon Gate

A lookout tower provided a panoramic view of the Castle grounds and view of the Naha port

Nichiei-dai - this sundial was used beginning in 1739 until 1879

Paul is patiently waiting for me to take photos..., he doesn't look annoyed here

Entrance to Suimui Utaki - place of worship within the Castle precincts

We also caught the daily cultural performance.

We then had a nice stroll through the park

He's looking quite plump - Paul wanted to capture him for dinner

One of many ducklings swimming around

Paul liked this one because it was the only one far away from the group


Pretty colors on this  butterfly

Another view of the castle as we leave the grounds

We then spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Kokusai Street. 

See, Paul is slowly becoming Asian

Not as excited to take this photo

Pretty scary looking snakes in rice wine

Pots of rice wine

Paul found a friend

Santa had it comin'

He looked thirsty

We had an educational day on July 15. We ventured south to first visit The Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters. This 450 meter tunnel complex was built in 1944 and could sustain 4000 soldiers. Many people died in the tunnels including the admiral and many of his men who committed suicide in June 1945. 

Memorial moument

This was a photo in the museum

Walking down to the tunnels

Walking through the hallways was eerie

We went even further south to the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum. 

Unexploded shell 

Not sure what Paul is looking at here

Pretty walkway

Names of those lost in the Battle of Okinawa 

The "Cornerstone of Peace", a collection of stone plates with all the names of those fallen - civilian and military

Looking toward the Museum

Looking towards the Pacific Ocean

There were tons of butterflies

I was patient enough to get a few good shots

Really like the contrast in colors here

Clock tower and the path to Peace Hill

Guarding the entrance

At the top of the observation tower

After the long day, Paul needed to let off some steam.

Paul gave him a 5-piece


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