[Okinawa] ~ More laidback Japan in Tokashiki

   Charming beach town in one day and night  – 08.20.16

Slept for only night in NAHA then the following day I went aboard a ferry to explore nearby island TOKASHIKI to beach and (for the first outside my home country) camp. In this entry, I share a day an ironically full day in the quiet town near AHAREN BEACH – from encounters with friendly strangers from the old lady at the campground entrance to fellow campers to this welcome of a stretch of fine sand, clear water to a town pinned with just the right amount of quirky restaurants for beer and fast food.

From the main city Naha, I took the ferry for about an hour and a half to reach the island. Same as before, I found my spot inside the free seating elevated platform but from time to time would go out the deck to enjoy the breeze and occasional splash of water.
20160820_090154

On the way to … 

###

20160820_091903

Tsaraaaan. Where I have seated

###

20160820_091932

You adorable Mr. Pole Dancer

###

20160820_092405

Somewhat grand huh

###

20160820_092602

Tomari Bridge connecting lands

###

20160820_093257

My colorful bag blending in

20160820_093350

My first time to ride a ferry with an elevator

###

20160820_093410

Still air-drying my towel, obviously

###

20160820_093623

Not as crowded yet

20160820_102600

Only kind of waves I am not scared to face

###

20160820_102943

Smiling awkwardly because there’s a family bunch in front of me

###

20160820_103222

Pre-island picnic

###

20160820_110738

This reminded me of the drawing in The Little Prince

###

It was a little bit before noon when I reached the port. From there, the campground where I will be staying overnight is a bus ride away. But before that, since I have not yet ordered my return ticket, I made sure to inquire first on the ticket sales on what my options are.

Based on prior research that boats from Tokashiki to Zamami are limited and less frequent, I almost gave up on the idea. However, I trusted my gut and decided to not buy a return ticket yet from Tokashiki and instead push through with the Zamami trip the following day.

20160820_111730

Arrival/wait area

###

20160820_112127

Counter where I asked on return tickets

###

Buses to Aharen Beach were easy to find a short walk from station. These run in schedule but luckily I was right on time. (It is also possible that they synchronize they trip schedules with arrival of ferries).

20160820_112216

20160820_112433

For reference schedule to port

###

20160820_112625

That look when I got a seat by the window! 

###

20160820_113057

Just about to leave

###

20160820_113151

Even from the bus’ window, I already had a glimpse of how local life is in that small town

###

20160820_113618

… and a glimpse of the nice beach too!

 ###

Bus was a quick 15-minute ride that before twelve, I was at the entrance the campground where I had to register. At the counter was where I had an interesting conversation with a warm lady who cannot speak much English but who for some reason, I got to communicate with and trust my fate that night. As you know, I was about to camp there with no tent and apparently, she had to contact someone to provide the tent who I then just have to meet in the camping ground. Maybe her sincerity was beyond the barrier in language that even if I was hazy on the instructions, I just nodded and walked my way to the campground.

20160820_114144

Mates

####

20160820_114434

“An occupation” has a nice ring to it, for some reason

###

20160820_114439

A must-have to take one of those plastic bags to ensure campsite’s cleanliness

###

20160820_114705

A stolen photo of one of my favorite strangers

###

20160820_114921

Dirt road to the campsite

###

I didn’t know what to expect so I was quite lost when I arrived at the site. Other tents were already set up and there was no one or any stall where I could rent one. I went to look for my spot nonetheless while trying to be extra observant on whether that person I had to meet is somewhere. I found some relief though from a couple who was about to leave who told me that someone will just come and hand me the tent I could use.

20160820_120108

Not where I camped but I had to put down my stuff because my back was starting to hurt

###

20160820_120228

Could he be that guy?

###

Yes, that guy was my guy. Since I could not predict the weather and I wanted to be dry in case it rains, I had my tent set up until another open tent.

20160820_121017

###

The camp is behind this major rock –

20160820_121748

###

On the right side is this rocky end of the beach. I am not sure whether swimming is allowed as it did not look as safe as the other end of the beach.  20160820_121826

###

20160820_123628

View of the arch from the left side from the camp site

###

 20160820_123650

From about a few more meters farther from camp

###

20160820_123703

I could not swim yet at this point but had to stop

###

20160820_123857

Loved those arch details

###

20160820_124126

From the arch, the people this small

###

I walked towards the crowd and found a place in the sand that is somewhat private but within the group (just in case I get drowned or something – ’cause yes, I can get that paranoid especially if in a foreign land). The sun was perfect that day that I could stay at the beach all day but since there was no shade, I couldn’t. I took relief on dips in water but when the heat was starting to feel uncomfortable, that was my cue to find some shade nearby.  20160820_130842

Some welcome beer needed then

###

20160820_130902

20160820_130955

Entrance to the beach for all rental and water activity needs

###

20160820_131113

Ice cream cracking under the heat

###

20160820_131630

Finally beer as sole customer in one of the food stalls near the beach

###

20160820_131633

20160820_131641

Hmmm 😀

###

20160820_131702

20160820_131830

Post-beer taco

###

20160820_132944

###

20160820_143404

For reference on rates

###

After beach, I decided to explore more of town. At first I thought there was a lot of walking to do from the beach but place was apparently so small that I managed to walk around what is the center in about 30 minutes. I dropped by a grocery just to see what goods they sell.

20160820_14365520160820_144324

Some rice snack / ‘onigiri’

###

20160820_145032

Too bad I missed the schedule for the uninhabited island trip

###

20160820_152741

Shoulders already burnt

###

20160820_155604

Sun-drying self

###

20160820_162004

The usual paraphernalia

###

20160820_164629

Vendo machine culture even in this small town

###

While walking was this discovery of a fun-themed cafe but it was not yet open so I kept on wandering.

20160820_165437

###

20160820_165458

###

While on what seems the leftmost part of center enjoying the quietness of the seemingly abandoned homes, I heard some sort of music over town. It could be signaling the time of day, I couldn’t say. 20160820_170215

Discovered this other entrance to the beach near an elementary school

###

20160820_170343

Something in 3D

20160820_170427

###

20160820_170501

###

20160820_170946

###

20160820_171014

###

I was back at the beach half past six wanting to catch the sunset. Since I couldn’t stay put in one place, instead of the usual ‘watch-the-sun-set’ mode, I walked my way back to my tent as sun was going down.

20160820_173248

###

20160820_175009

###

20160820_183512

###

20160820_183559

20160820_183747

###

20160820_183853

Sharing in this couple’s romantic moment before sunset

###

On my way to camp is this series of art on the sand —- 20160820_183957

###

20160820_184039

20160820_184054

###

20160820_184203

Pastel

20160820_184801

Love those shells

###

20160820_184907

Hey there, sleepyhead! 

###

20160820_184954

Boo. Still closed?

20160820_185033

###

Since I’ve been waiting for the cafe to open since early that afternoon, I was one of the first customers by around seven. Both ambiance from in and out are nice so I had beer in both places. I could have stayed longer but after two glasses of beer, I thought I should just drink somewhere closer to camp in anticipation of dark roads and people probably already resting.

20160820_190318

Our very own Pale Pilsen represent!

###

20160820_190421

Mandatory selfie because I love the vibe! 

###

20160820_190511

My kind of clutter

###

20160820_190535

Purple on my hair now washed out

###

20160820_192338

###

20160820_192347

###

20160820_192608

###

20160820_192627

###

20160820_192851

My second beer this time from one of the stools outside 

###

20160820_200833

Again a black cat as I end my day

###

20160820_201907

Am sure it is a safe there but boy the streets were deserted

###

As I was walking towards the beach entrance, I found this bar which seemed crowded. I just got curious and sat by the bar while observing the locals drink and eat. A perfect way to end the day quite early on this laidback town.

20160820_202812

###

20160820_205417

###

How to get to the island and other practical details :

More details on TOKASHIKI (including ferry schedule from Naha) can be viewed on this website . 

To get to AHAREN BEACH, there are buses at the port. Travel takes 15-20 minutes.

There are no trees for natural shade along the stretch so either you are willing to sunbathe or rely on an umbrella that you may rent from the stalls near the entrance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kristina Correa (or more known to almost all people in her life as Teng) is based on the city of Manila in the Philippines and whenever she can, cools off with routine and gets her doses of happy someplace else. She doesn’t mean to inform and help plan (as obvious with her laziness with details) but hopes her stories and photos can inspire you to create your own.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s