If you’ve stumbled upon this then you must already know that Okinawa has a rich history, unique culture and is a great place to visit. In other words: there’s a lot of stuff to see on this tiny little island. In fact a lot of the things to see aren’t well known and take a little bit of exploring to find. That’s where the information in this post is going to come in very handy.
I’ve been here on Okinawa for almost 7 years now and spent a lot of time looking for fun and exciting things that not many people knew about. I have found countless monuments, historical sites and even tourist type attractions which I would have never stumbled upon if I hadn’t been taking the time to look.
Among the many things I have learned during my explorations the one that seems to be the most important is that sometimes when you have the intent to do something like this:
You can end up in a situation like this:
With all that being said there are some things that I find important to have when exploring the island. Here is the list of what I never leave the house without:
Maybe you’ll end up parking at a beautiful look out point over the ocean or maybe you’ll find yourself following a path which ends up leading to the top of a mountain, that’s the beauty of exploring Okinawa! Either way when you head out and start looking around you’re going to need a good way to carry some of your necessities so that your hands are free and you can move smoothly. The best way to do this is to have a backpack.
Like anywhere else in the world here in Okinawa it rains. The only difference, at least that I have noticed, is that when the powers that be decide it is going to rain. . . they mean business! Even when the sun is shining when you leave the house there could be a chance that somewhere else on this small little island it is pouring down rain. This is no reason to turn back home! Having rain gear can be an easy way to salvage a day of exploring on a rainy day.
If you don’t already have rain gear I recommend heading to your local DIY store (I prefer Makeman) and pick some up. I personally have an entire rain suit which comes in very handy on those rainy days which costed me a grand total of about ¥3000. It works like a charm, is easy to clean and folds up nice and small so it is not a burden to take with me.
It goes without saying that rehydrating yourself during physical activity is incredibly important. This becomes even more important in the summer months here in Okinawa where your body can lose fluids at an alarming rate. (Of course you should always be extremely careful when exploring during the summer months but we can talk more about that another time.) Even if you do not intend to go very far having a decent size water bottle, per person, will ensure that you can keep yourself hydrated and feeling good!
Having a cell phone nowadays is like having a left hand. . . you would be lost without it. Although it has become a necessary device for every day life it is also extremely important to have one with you if you are exploring. Although the island is quite small by comparison to some other places you may be familiar with if you find yourself lost or in need of assistance not having a cell phone can truly be rehabilitating.
It’s also important to refrain from using your cell phone unless necessary. Of course no one can resist giving those up to the minute update on social media but conserving that battery power is a must especially when traveling to places you may not be familiar with.
Ok, I admit. . . This is not a “must have” item but rather one that I highly recommend if you’re planning on doing some serious exploring. Here in Okinawa you can find these little solar chargers. Mine is about the size of two packs of cigarettes side by side, maybe a bit smaller. You can charge them either via solar or in some cases on your computer and then hook up your cell phone to them and get a charge.
I originally purchased this when I was heading to Tokyo because I thought it would be very helpful to have some extra power while I was around and now I don’t know what I would do without it. When exploring I put the device on my dash board and if I find myself needing a quick charge when out in the woods so I can check my google map or call for assistance because the car broke down I can do so without a problem.
The charger itself was very inexpensive. I believe it was ¥2500 and came with a number of adapters for everything I could ever think of. Now I have it is a special little case I made and hang it from my backpack when out and about ready and charged for when I need it.
I think that it is safe to say that when traveling through Okinawa having some yen on your person at all times is a good idea but this is never more true when exploring places you have never been before. In some of the wonderful parts of Okinawa that you may find yourself stumbling into it is not as “modern” as some of the places you may be familiar with. This makes it hard to pick up something to quench your thirst, fill your belly or even remember your trip without some yen. It doesn’t take a lot of money. In most cases I won’t take much more then a couple thousand yen on a journey. Often times I barely use it but it’s good to have just in case.