Kick the rainy-day blues with fun places to stay dry on Okinawa

Photos by Shoji Kudaka
Photos by Shoji Kudaka

Kick the rainy-day blues with fun places to stay dry on Okinawa

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

Every year, the rainy season arrives early in Okinawa. This year, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) announced the beginning of the season on May 4.

If you are new to the island, you may be let down to hear that dismal weather will most likely continue over the next month and a half. However, there is no need to be disappointed. There are places where you can have fun under an umbrella or while taking shelter from the rain!

Round 1 Stadium (Arcade)

Just about 15 minutes away from MCAS Futenma, this is one of the largest arcades on the island. In addition to video games, you can bowl, get behind the wheel of a go-kart, enjoy karaoke, and more.

GPS Coordinates: N 26.275893, E 127.731040

Website

Chatan Sports Center

This sports area is in the same neighborhood as Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster.  Go here for some homers at the batting cages or work on your swing on the golf range or on the tennis courts.

GPS Coordinates: N 26.325135, E 127.763439

Website

DMM Kariyushi Aquarium

Since its debut in May 2020, the DMM Kariyushi Aquarium in the southern part of the island has become a popular spot. Enjoy the aquatic life displays enhanced with VR technology. Meet some penguins or walk over a huge tank to look down through the glass at the circling sharks and gliding manta rays in the water below.

GPS Coordinates: N 26.156288, E 127.650801

Website

Enagic Sports World Southern Hill

This sports/amusement complex is the only place on the subtropical island where you can enjoy a wintertime favorite— ice skating. Take a break from the heat and hit the ice on the 28-meter-wide, 58-meter-long rink which is also used for ice hockey.

GPS Coordinates: N 26.20806, E 127.72836

Website

Cooking Studio Kae Project

If you are one of those folks that took to the kitchen during the stay-home period, why not continue learning and step up your culinary skills? Kae Project is a cooking school friendly to English speakers. Try your hand at Okinawan dishes such as goya champroo (bitter melon stir fry) and rafte (braised pork rib).

GPS Coordinates: N 26.37476, E 127.75570

Website

Yohena Hydrangea Garden

Enjoy over 300,000 hydrangeas at this expansive flower garden in the mountainous area in Motobu Town.  During the rainy season, Yohena Hydrangea Garden becomes a hotspot for visitors looking for beauty in the soggy weather. Depending on your location, getting there is about a little more than an hour drive away. Grab your umbrella and head to this beautiful spot.

GPS Coordinates: N 26.646998, E 127.945460

Website

Kinjo-Cho Ishidatami Michi (stone-paved road)

This is another outdoor location worth visiting during the rainy season. The geometric shapes of the Ryukyu Sekkaigan limestones are contrasted with greenery growing around each stone. When the stones are wet, the contrast becomes even clearer. The north end of the road is a 10-minute walk from Shuri Castle. It starts with a straight stretch that goes through a tunnel of trees before winding downslope with moderate curves.

GPS Coordinates: N 26.217130,  E 127.716753 (North-end)

* Paid parking available near Shuri Castle.

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