I’m back from Okinawa! 😭 I really thoroughly enjoyed my 9 days there – Diving, sightseeing, eating and experiencing the Okinawan culture and island life ❤️
Really hope I get to return in future for more diving and holidaying!!
Some of my favourite activities we did at Okinawa:
Mario Kart! 🏎
Was so excited for MARIO-KART! 🏎🏎🏎
This is something I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time and I’m so glad I got to try it in Okinawa! 🤗🤗🤗
You get to pick from a range of cartoon body suits and look totally ridiculous while go-karting down the streets!!
Three on us on the roads with our guide, Shoji-san, who was such a sport.
We spent an hour driving around the city and it was superrr fun!!!
If you’re keen, google for Maricar (the company that runs this!) – They have operations in a few different Japanese places!
PS. You need to have your IDP (international driver’s permit) in order to take part in this activity!
Sakura viewing on Mt Yaedake 🌸
Cherry blossoms bloom earlier in Okinawa due to the warmer climate, so we were very fortunate to catch the sakura in bloom on Mt Yaedake.
The species of cherry blossoms in Okinawa is of a darker pink variety and was so gorgeous 😍
They were blooming abundantly on Mt Yaedake and the roads along the mountain were all lined with pink!
Never knew that Okinawa had cherry blossoms, so this was a pleasant surprise!
Water buffalo cart riding on Taketomi
While the other peeps were off cycling around Taketomi island, I decided on taking the water buffalo cart ride instead because of my healing-in-progress butt 😂
Taketomi Island is a mere 10-minute ferry ride from Ishigaki Port to Taketomi, so it’s possible to plan your route as such from Naha ✈️ Ishigaki ⛴ Taketomi!
What’s amazing is that the population of Taketomi Island is just over 300! Can’t imagine what it’s like living on this island where everybody probably knows everybody else!!
No cars are allowed on the island, which means the traveler's only choice for transportation is foot, bicycle or ox-drawn cart.
The entire island has got a very relaxed and laid-back sort of kampung charm to it, and even the houses and streets have been preserved in traditional style with single-storey houses and coral-lined pathways!
You’ll see lots of these Shiisa (lion guardians) on the roofs on the houses on Taketomi, and in fact everywhere else in Okinawa!
They’ve become very iconic of Okinawa, and these icons are believed to protect from evils and bring in good luck.
Onsen hotel at Senagajima 💦
One of the places that I would 10/10 go back to is Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Spa & Resort!
I loooooove onsens and the one at this hotel was so legit amazing!
The hotel has a wonderful sea view, great rooms (both western and japanese style), good amenities and toiletries, and a super big onsen with lots of different areas for you to soak and try!
Top-grade toiletries even includes a headband (for keeping hair off your face when you’re going through your skincare routine, super thoughtful) and individual tubes of shampoo, soap and single-use toothbrushes etc!
The room even provides bottled water (the only hotel we stayed in that did that), little Okinawan biscuits and tea sachets!
You can literally check in in the afternoon and spend an entire day at Senagajima (which is a little island connected to mainland Okinawa) – Apart from the amazing onsen facilities, there is Umekaji Terrace, right at the doorstep of the hotel!
The terrace is a series of little shops and restaurants facing the ocean, and there are lots of interesting eateries and shops selling Okinawan souvenirs that you can spend hours exploring (or eating through.
One of the sweet shops at Umekaji Terrace!
This light and airy mango cream chiffon cake only cost me 45yen after perusing the coupons I printed out from a machine in the hotel lobby that gave me 300yen off any shop/restaurant 😱
That is barely 60cents SGD!
We had our dinner at Sho, a bbq restaurant at Umekaji Terrace that night!
Found this picture of the onsen area from google!
Okinawa doesn’t have that many natural hot springs but Senagajima is home to Ryujin Onsen hot spring which gushes forth from 1,000m underground!
White grape yakult that I got at the onsen after my soak! 🤗
The morning view during breakfast at the hotel. It was a bit of an overcast day so I can’t imagine how much prettier it would be on a clear, sunny day!
Shopping at American Village 🇺🇸
You might know that Okinawa is home to a number of american military bases, so it’s not surprisingly to know that a little “American Village” comprising of american style shops and eateries sprouted up in Okinawa a good number of years ago, and is a hot favourite with both americans and japanese alike!
One reason to visit is that the compounds of American Village are colourful and aesthetically pleasing – Great for OOTDs too? 😂 It’s located just by the sea too, so you can admire the sunset from the seaside!
There are lots of quirky and cool shops selling american vintage stuff and food!
We also encountered a large number of americans and very trendy japanese locals around the area.
Getting a drink! 🍹
Some belgian waffle topped with cream and strawberries 😋
I bought this from American Village 😁😁😁
Actually wish I had longer to shop there cos there were lots of cute little shops selling really interesting things!
Wore out the knit top the very next day 🤗
Horse-riding on Yonaguni Island! 🐎
If you visit Yonaguni Island (we went there for hammerhead shark and ruin diving!!), you also ought to experience riding on one of these gentle and friendly Yonaguni horses that are native to the island!
These horses are barely taller than ponies at just 120cm, and they are strong and well-mannered beasts that are great for riding, especially for women and children!
We got to have a short session on a Yonaguni horse each, and my horse Parker was so good natured and tame.
Say hello to Parker and his handler, who taught us what commands to use for Parker to respond to us!
We only did a few rounds and a short distance of trotting but it was really fun and I wish I could do it longer too! (The trotting part felt a little too impactful on my butt so I was slightly worried but all was fine 😂)
I think you can book a session in which you’re able to ride the horses around the island and even by the sea side and beach!
Shopping on Kokusai-Dori 💮
Kokusai Dori is Naha’s main street, and here is where you can find lines of souvenir shops, drugstores, snack stores like Calbee and even a huge Donki all along the same stretch!!
It’s the perfect place to shop for family and friends, and for yourself too 😊
Saw these quirky whale-shaped knives in a shop inside Makishi Public Market. Sooooo cute?!
Special flavoured lemon jagabee from the Calbee store, cheese biscuits (these are really good!!!) from Lawson, and snow salt from one of the shops inside Makishi Public Market that sells like ten thousand different kinds of salt!
I also did a spot of drugstore shopping and got these period undies (they come with a slot for you to fold winged pads into as well as prevent slippage!! sounds promising, can’t wait to try) and Hello Kitty nail clippers so cute 😁
Soft and pretty tees 😍 Bought the one on the left cos the illustration is so pretty, and it’s a keepsake of my first leisure dive trip with the sea on it!
Visit Churaumi Aquarium 🐋 🐠 💦
The Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館, Churaumi Suizokukan) is widely considered Japan's best aquarium!! It’s 90km from main city Naha, but there are various means of transport such as driving yourself or taking the express bus.
We were really excited to visit the aquarium, especially when everyone in the group are divers and into marine life.
Cute whale shark cartoons on the aquarium tickets!
The garden eels really really are very cute 😂
The highlight of the Churaumi Aquarium is the massive Kuroshio Tank, one of the largest in the world!
The tank takes its name from the warm Kuroshio current which plays a large part in the variety of Okinawa's of marine life.
Of course, everyone visits the aquarium for the most stunning exhibit: the whale sharks!
They were so splendid and majestic! 😍
Also remember to catch the dolphin show 🐬 It was amazing how intelligent the dolphins were!
It was so much fun at the aquarium!
Lunch at Kajinhou (Pizza in the Sky)
On our way back from Churaumi Aquarium to Naha City, we also stopped by this GORGEOUS restaurant located on top of a hill: It’s called Kajinhou, or Pizza in the Sky! 🍕
It’s worth a visit for two things: The amazing pizza, and the amazing view!
The menu comes on a rustic paper fan with Japanese on one side and English on the other!
There’s only two selections available for the pizza: It’s either the plain one (cheese) or mixed (pepperoni, bacon, corn, onion).
We ordered two large ones and scarved down everything in record time!!
It was reallyyyyyyy delicious 😋 Even the plain cheese one was so good with fluffy and soft melted cheese and a fragrant bread base!!
I really enjoyed Okinawa a lot a lot a lot! In fact, I would rate the entire trip 8/10.
The diving was a wonderful experience for me, and the land activities were just as awesome!!! It was truly a great break away from city life, despite our tiring itinerary (we changed hotel almost every night and island hopped five times!), I actually felt rejuvenated and refreshed in spirit and soul.
Our last dinner with Ayano & Shoji (our guide) at Kazusan Tei, a local Izakaya!
Such a great trip wouldn’t have been possible with Ayano-san (the lady on the left!) for planning our itinerary so well!! And to all my fellow dive/travel buddies for the constant laughs and fun, I thoroughly enjoyed myself with everyone ❤️
It’s rare to find a group that manages to click so well together, and I hope we’ll still have the opportunities to go on dive trips again in future!
Proud that I managed to conquer all the dives on this trip, too. Total dives clocking to a grand total of 16! Still very much a beginner, but I learnt so much on this trip!
Will share more about the diving once I get more images from our underwater photographers 🤗❤️
New arrivals dropping in tonight on TVD as usual, we only have three more launches until CNY 🙌🏻
We’ll be launching some gorgeous pieces suitable for everyday wear and not just CNY tonight!
Such as the Asymmetry Tee Dress previously launched in solid colors, we’ve jazzed things up a bit with this quirky colorblock version! ❤️
This color combi is Cerulean x Peach!
We’ve also got this safer color combi of Navy x Forest, love it!
Both are equally pretty, really! I kept the Cerulean x Peach because I’m always wearing Navy, so I thought a change would be good 🙌🏻
Comes in S, M, L & XL ❤️
Another dress that would be versatile on so many occasions, I can see this for work and for lazy days, because it’s such a simple slip on and go piece!
The texture of the fabric is lovely and lends a nice weight to the dress without it being too thick or heavy for our weather.
Pick from Sky or Grey for this!
It’s sleek, minimalistic and chic. Plus it has pockets too!
Comes in S, M & L ❤️
Something dainty for girly days and definitely very appropriate for CNY-visiting even the most conservative relatives!
This sweet fit & flare dress has a beautiful cut and the loveliest little flower prints.
The box pleats at the waist are very flattering, and the material is soft and flowy!
Comes in Cream and Navy, size XS, S, M, L & XL!
One of my personal favourites is this gorgeous floral drophem dress!
The botanical prints are just so cheery and colourful!
It’s a very comfy fabric and cutting, and great for CNY feasting 🤗
Comes in White & Orange, Size XS, S, M & L ❤️
We’ve been receiving feedback for more work-appropriate collections, and I’m really pleased to find pretty designs that are suitable for the office and yet still chic and stylish!
This striped shift dress is one such example and I love the flattering cutting and modest length of this dress.
Olive or Navy? Gotta love the light silky material of this dress, it looks really luxe and feels just as good on the skin!
Comes in XS, S, M, L & XL ❤️
Also back in stock just in time for CNY!
Renee Layered Jumpsuit in Brick ❤️❤️❤️ It’s the perfect style x comfort outfit with the relaxed culottes cut and unique shade of brick!
Also restocked in Navy – We’ve got limited restocks for this design so please grab it fast if you’re eyeing it!
Another bestseller that will be restocked tonight is the Aster Embroidery Dress!
One of my favourite dresses with its beautiful embroidery ❤️
You gotta catch the Sundaze Off-Shoulder Dress too if you’re keen, limited restocks available tonight!
Catch you on www.thevelvetdolls.sg, 8.30PM tonight!