Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Island Paradise In Japan

Azusa's friend, Mariko, was getting married and we were invited to attend; not just anywhere but Japan!  The timing was right and I guess we were due for a visit anyhow so we threw in a diving trip to the Okinawa Islands just for kicks!  Always a pleasure to visit Japan!

Tokyo, Japan

Getting in to Tokyo

Dining with Azusa's parents at a yakiniku restaurant

Drinking at a neighborhood bar
At a mall in Harajuku

Scary marketing for a scary movie

Wedding at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo At Chinzan-So

The groom serving us beer

Around the neighborhood

A Night Out with Azusa's Friends

To Okinawa, Kerama Islands!

Aka Island

We stayed at Aka Island to dive for two days.  The island's population is just under 300 people!  It was like we had the island to ourselves; we walked around it in just about 15-20 minutes!  

Super clear sea

Just us and the owner at the bar

Let's Go Diving

Lucky for us, it was our dive master and us two for the day.  We did not see a single diver in sight.  The ocean was ours and it was so clear we could have stayed forever.  This is going to be a hard one to beat.

Fuzzy Orangutan Crab

We swam through some caves and openings


We took a lunch break and had pasta and pizza.

Exploring the Island

We had another perfect day of diving.  This time we saw a reef shark hiding under a rock and it was a pretty good size!  We also saw a big cuttlefish just hovering around us.
Our first reef shark!
We had another diver with us today
After our dives for the day, we rented bikes to explore around the island. A beautiful ride!

View from the top of the bridge
Cucu Ruru Dive Shop

The next morning we got on the big ship to Zamami Island nearby (because of travel route) to connect back to Naha for our flight back to Tokyo.  Aka Island was so amazing and unspoiled it was unreal!  We would love to go back for sure!

Shiro - the famous dog known for swimming back and forth between the islands to meet his girlfriend

 At Zamami Island, we had a few hours to kill before boating to Naha so we got to explore that island a bit.

The most delicious yakisoba I've ever had!

Naha was a busy town with bright lights and colorful shops all for the spending tourist.  It was unique and some what different than Tokyo's own lights.  The locals dress in Hawaiian shirts to work and everyone is a bit more relaxed; island living like Hawaii.

Alcohol with a deadly snake inside!

Trying Okinawa's famous salt ice cream

Snakes in jars

Tram to airport

Flying back to Tokyo

 Trip To Hakone

We got back to Tokyo and packed for the next morning for Hakone.  Azusa's parents planned for us to visit Hakone and stay for one night.  It was a relaxing trip and we got to bathe in the hot spring as well as be out in the country for the two days.
Getting lunch at the rest stop

Historic Fujiya Hotel, late 1800s

Police Station

Inside the hot spring
Our room

Our tasty and delicious dinner

The next morning, we stopped by the lake and Odawara Castle before heading home.

We rode the sky tram down the hill

Odawara Castle

Massive entrance gate

Last Days In Tokyo

Before we left Japan, we got together with a bigger group of Azusa's friends to hang out at Yoyogi Park for a picnic and then had dinner afterwards.  We drank and ate all day and night!
Rockabilly guys dancing at the park

Snacks and drinks

We spent the last few days with the family and a little bit of shopping around town.  It's always been wonderful to go to Japan and I am humbled to receive such great hospitality from the family and everyone around.  Thank you and see you all soon!