Updated: Apr 16, 2022
Wednesday, Thursday March 27:-28
PORT 12: OKINAWA (NAHA) JAPAN
Instead of taking any kind of organized tour, we, together with Paul and Pat and Gary and Alex decided to do our own itinerary. We were extremely lucky to find immediately outside the port, a van which comfortably held six and a great driver who took us around for four plus hours at a cost of about $35 per person. We could not have done better.
Tipping is an insult in Japan. However, we were able to show our appreciation for the great job our driver did paying extra because we had agreed to four hours and took more time. So, we told him through Google Translate that the extra money was for the extra time.
Okinawa was extremely important in WW 11 so the first place we went was the underground naval headquarters of the Japanese Navy. It was very worthwhile and I recommend it to anyone visiting Okinawa.
Okinawa was a major battle lasting 82 days. There were about 160,000 casualties on both sides at least 75,000 Allied
We then went to the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum. It is also very worthwhile. There are memorials to both the Japanese and American soldiers who were killed on Okinawa.
We also visited Shurijo Castle Park which was the King’s Castle and is one of the major attractions in Okinawa. BGM learned that karate was invented in Okinawa because the king had banned weapons. Thus, citizens had to learn other ways of defending themselves.
The three attractions mentioned were not geographically close so we drove around a lot and saw a lot of the city from the van.
BGM had scoped out some very good “all you can eat, all you can drink” restaurants, but we never made it to eat, and seemed to be the only one who noticed.
What would have been an A experience, I give an A minus because as those who know me, know “you have to feed the Fox”.
Thursday March 28.
A sea day on the way to Kobe/Kyoto.
A great wine tasting even though not great wines. For $55 there was a selection of over 30 wines from all over the world, and various cheese for those who wanted some food to cleanse their palate of whatever. Almost everyone on the ship interested in wine showed up at one time or another and it was a very social occasion.
Normal other shipboard activities, and then we had three couples in our cabin for some wine and canapes. Paul & Pat, Gary and Alex, and Garry and Nicki. Then, although BGM had no intention of eat dinner, we had a “command performance” (even BGM could not decline) to join Michael & Dana and their friends (a couple both doctors) who came to join them on the Sydney to Tokyo leg, in the same manner Pat and Paul Farren came to join us on the same segment. Our friends had a great time and I think they would have liked to stay on for another segment but could not because of family obligations back in the States.
Dinner was at the Polo Grill, but I had seen the dinner menu at the Terrace included Peking Duck. Three of the six at dinner preferred the duck to the normal menu at Polo, and the duck was brought to us.
We had been to Kyoto before the cruise we took to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Having seen the key sights, I booked, through Viator, a walking food tour in Kyoto at a cost of $90 per person. It was not until we focused today on those plans that we realized Kyoto was about a $100 taxi ride each way. I had not realized what a really great port Kobe looked to be.
The cancellation policy with Viator required me to cancel a week in advance, but after several emails back and forth, they agreed to refund half our money and we made plans with the Paul & Pat, Gary and Alex to spend the day in Kobe.
HOT TIP: BEFORE BOOKING ANY PRIVATE EXCURSIONS, DEERMNE HOW FAR THE SHIP DOCKS FROM WHERE THE EXCURSION BEGINS.