Our second full day in Okinawa began with a visit to Shuri Castle, the palace of the Ryuukyuu Kingdom. It’s been around since at least the 1300s, but was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. They began reconstruction in 1992, and now it’s a popular tourist spot.
Shuri Castle is a sprawl of red castle buildings, various gates to walk through, and gift shops, of course. We spent the morning admiring the (rebuilt) buildings and took a look around the museum that is now inside. There are also lots of little sites and monuments around the outside of the castle. When you get there, they provide you with a little stamp mat so that you can collect a stamp for every spot you visit.
It doesn’t take long to visit; we were only at Shuri Castle for a couple of hours. After that, we headed to Kokusai Street for lunch.
We found a little place near Kokusai Street that had an old vibe and vintage decorations and details. They played Okinawan music inside and we all ordered the infamous Okinawa soba! I got the Okinawa Sooki Soba (it has pork added; shown above) and it was soooo good. The meat was incredibly tender.In the afternoon, we walked around the shops of Kokusai Street, a mish mash of tourist-focused souvenir shops and collections of odd knick knacks and handicrafts. We even found a shop that was… selling second-hand item? Maybe? It seemed like a used items shop, but they had all sorts of junk: movie posters, furniture, books, toys, knick knacks, etc…
The shops are incredibly colorful and sell a huge variety of items, from cute to bizarre. Even if you aren’t planning to buy anything, it’s fun to look.On our way out, we spotted Okinawa Jump Station, and like the anime nerds we are, went in for a look. There were all sorts of Okinawa-themed postcards and merchandise for the famous Jump animes like Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Haikyuu!, and Kuroko no Basuke. Unfortunately, it was just a shop; nothing to do here, unlike J-World in Tokyo.
That’s about it for Okinawa. The next day we hung out for a little while longer, but were mostly just shopping in the nearby mall and doing commemorative purikura~ Then we headed to the airport to fly back to Osaka.