Day 6 in Okinawa: Kouri Shrimp, Okinawa Fruits Land, Neo Park, Mazemen Mahoroba

Kouri shrimp food wagon okinawa

From Hotel Koza to Kouri Island, where the Kouri Shrimp food wagon is located, we took the expressway and paid the toll of 720yen. Traveling so much also meant needing to refuel. Petrol at JASS was relatively cheaper this time at 133yen per litre. At the airport on our way back to Singapore, there were state-sponsored surveys happening – apparently there are plans for a railway line to connect Naha in the south and Nago up north, and they were interested in what travelers thought and if they would use it. I told them it made more sense to drive because I was just buying way too many things and lugging them onto the train would be too troublesome. 😀

A pretty scenic drive…

Kouri Shrimp is so popular that it is already crowded from the moment it opens for business at 11am (*do note that it is closed on Thursdays).

The most unusual thing about this place has to be that the toilet is ‘hidden’ behind an unmarked white door.

Kouri Shrimp Okinawa

You order the food and pay at the food wagon, and return to collect your food there too. The wait is about 15 to 20 minutes though it feels much longer when the weather’s so hot.

I’d already done my research and knew exactly what I wanted. The beef is a steal at just 500yen! We decided to eat in the car instead of at the 2nd floor deck behind Kouri Shrimp ‘cos the weather was just unbearably hot.

Thankfully, the beach is close by so people can cool off in the waters.

I think the shrimp would be much more delicious without the shells but I was too lazy to peel them. Hot weather, remember? D:

Okinawa Fruits Land

This place is really kid-friendly. Go on a quest to try and free a king supposedly captured by fairies. Answer questions and collect stamps along the way…

Blue seal ice cream okinawa

And of course, I had to have Blue Seal Ice Cream again. The pineapple sorbet flavor is really good. The milk tea one so-so.

Then it’s off to Neo Park but before that, we popped by the Seria store that is near to Neo Park. It’s the only 100yen shop I’ve been to in Okinawa that allows the use of credit cards!

Neo Park

Neo Park can be described as being really “open concept” as you can go right up close to the animals here. Very kid and family friendly!

Why, hello there, little piggy!

It was soon time to return the rented car to Orix. There is an ENEOS petrol station just next door! So you can top up the petrol tank before returning the car. Orix also provides a free shuttle service to Naha airport – we alighted at the domestic terminal. Found a locker rental service for baggage storage then took the monorail to Makishi station where Kokusai Dori is. Around 15mins was all it took and cost just 300yen.

We didn’t quite know what to eat for dinner because we were spoiled for choice along Kokusai Dori! Then I recalled that we didn’t eat at Mazemen Mahoroba after visiting Makishi Market as it’s closed on Tuesdays so off to MM we went…

Mazemen Mahoroba

Mazemen mahoroba

Mazemen mahoroba is located in a dark alley. But isn’t that where good hole-in-the-wall eateries are? 😉 Just trust Google Maps to get you there. Thankfully we had our wifi device from Native!

Keep to the main road then turn in to a small, dark alley and walk till you see a white vertical signboard a few metres ahead and it’ll be Mazemen Mahoroba.

Spicy Taiwanese Stir Noodles 😀

Stir Noodles with Charred Cheese – can be jelat after a while. Go with the spicy Taiwanese stir noodles instead…

*Free Oimeshi: you can ask for some rice to “finish up the left over sauce in your bowl”.

Kokusai Dori at night:

The coolest thing has to be seeing the folks dressed up as Super Mario characters driving go-karts around Kokusai Dori!

I love the surprises around every corner. If we don’t return to Okinawa, at least we’ll have all these memories flooding back from reading my blogposts again. 😀 Blogging on the go is tedious but so necessary.

Day 4 in Okinawa: Aeon Nago, Churaumi Aquarium, Hotel Koza Dinner During Typhoon Kong-rey

Though we managed to avoid Typhoon Trami, we didn’t realize Typhoon Kong-rey was hot on its heels. So I’m typing this now in the comfort of our hotel while the howling of the wind continues outside. When I asked the hotel staff if it was safe to head out to buy food (thank you, Google Translate), the reply was “Very, very dangerous!” *gulp* We went anyway. There’s no stopping two Singaporeans from getting their makan. Haha! Even though the supermarket was just two blocks away, and definitely within walking distance, I insisted on driving there. I wasn’t afraid of being blown away but I was terrified of having something fall and hit me whether it be an air-conditioning unit, signboard, or tree branch. 😀

In the morning, the drive up north to Churaumi Aquarium was rather challenging. Visibility was very poor in some areas due to the heavy rain. But the drainage system for the Expressway was apparently very good. There were hardly any waterlogged areas.

Couldn’t even see the license plate of the car in front:

It’s about a 2-hour drive up north to Nago. You take a ticket from the entrance toll gantry (machine). At the exit toll gantry (where there is an actual human), hand over the ticket and pay cash. The GPS even calculates toll payable and notifies you even before reaching the toll station! 🙂

For us, the toll payable was 1020yen.

After that crazy long drive, with our bladders about to burst, we made a quick stop at Aeon…

Aeon Nago Shopping Center

We had udon at Sanuki Udon Hanamaru. Picked this seasonal item ‘cos it looks so good. The croquette is really good too. Plus, there’s free chilled water you can help yourself to, like in many foodcourts in Okinawa.

We were running a little low on petrol after the long drive so we popped by JASS, where regular petrol cost 140yen/litre.

Churaumi Aquarium

We parked at the multi-storey carpark, which we found simply by following the long line of cars ahead of ours. Despite the heavy rain, there were still lots of people headed for Churaumi. I suppose, like us, they had pre-purchased tickets AND visited Okinawa mainly because there’s this fantastic aquarium with whale sharks. Not one, but two!

And rays and lots of fish…

Plus exhibits to scare you…

Camera-friendly fish below:

We wanted to visit the Ryugujo Butterfly Garden too but it was closed due to the impending typhoon. So we decided we should return to the hotel.

The toll for the return trip via expressway was 720yen.

We stopped by Plaza House Shopping Centre too but just about all the shops and eateries were closed. A supermarket and a taco place remained open though.

Hotel Koza (business hotel)

Parking at Hotel Koza costs just 500yen/day, which you pay upfront when you check-in. Then you’re free to park at any of the lots belonging to the hotel.

There is a supermarket nearby so we drove over to get some dinner – basically sushi and other cooked items. And beer. I’ve had more beer in one week in Okinawa than in my entire life, I think. I’m not sure why Okinawans live such long lives when they have cheap beer and cigarettes. 😀

Not too shabby a meal when a typhoon’s sweeping by, eh? The winds are crazy. Have you ever seen a lamppost moving? Well, now I have.

And what you see on TV is real.

Okinawa supermarket during typhoon

Lots of food sold out. But there’s always still some sushi and lots of sashimi. 😀