For our second day in Nago, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to tour the area northwest of Nago. Okinawa is home to many ruins, beautiful beaches, and bizarre tourist attractions – so I knew we’d have a good time.
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium at the Ocean Expo Park
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is the third largest aquarium in the world, after the Dubai Mall Aquarium, and the Georgia Aquarium.
The aquarium itself is located in Okinawa’s Ocean Expo park, which is a large (and free) park. The park is pretty massive, just check out the map.
We had a lot of fun wandering around the expo park, which was filled with playful gardens, animal shows, and beaches.
The aquarium costs 1800 yen ($18) for adults, and 600 yen ($6) for children. While the cost is a wee bit higher than I’d like, there’s no doubt it’s a great aquarium.
The main attraction, however, is the aquarium’s three adolescent whale sharks, which really take the cake. Watching them swim around was beautiful, though a touch melancholic, and was a stark contrast to our experience in the Maldives.
From Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, we headed to Nakijin Castle. The remains of a Ryukyuan fortress, the Nakijin Castle was constructed in the 15th century, and sits strategically atop a hill overlooking the ocean. It’s a great place to bring a rice ball and stare at the ocean.
Nago Pineapple Park – the Greatest Park about Pineapples in the World
Last, but not least we visited the (in)famous Nago Pineapple Park. Started by Nago’s pineapple industry, the park is meant to inspire interest in Okinawa’s fading pineapple business. What it is, is another beast altogether: part genius, part kitsch, and all insanity, a 600 yen ($6) ticket, admits you to the wonders within.
Once inside, you get a self-guided golf cart tour of Okinawa’s pineapple park. It is crazy. It is stupid. It is awesome. It is totally worth the price of admission.
Once the automatic tour ends, you’re deposited in the gift store with more pineapple-based products than you can shake a stick at! Pineapple cookies! Pineapple cake! Pineapple… wine?
Yes, they even have pineapple wine. It is awful.
The gift shop is more like a giant tunnel of merchandise, with the oddest theme and tons of samples. Seriously, I must have eaten my weight in pineapple samples. So. Tasty.
And that’s it for Nago’s many attractions! Join us back here tomorrow when Mrs. Selfish will go over some of Nago’s tastier treats (hint: it involves lots of taco rice).