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Okinawa Self-drive Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 2

Day 2 of our 8 Day 7 Night Okinawa Self-drive Trip with Kids Itinerary via Taiwan

  • 10:00 am, collect the rental car from Okinawa Grand Mer Resort

  • Wakanatsu Park ( 15 minutes drive from Okinawa Grand Mer Resort) 
  • Lunch at 丘之家 - seafood, sashimi, MAP code  206 035 759 (10 minutes drive from Wakanatsu Park)
  • Bios no Oka,  Map code 206005202*55 ( 10 minutes drive from 丘之家)&nbsp
  • American Village, Map Code 33 526 451 ( 40 minutes drive from Bios no Oka
  • After a good night rest at our Japanese Style tatami room at Okinawa Grand Mer resort, we're re-energised and ready for a self-drive fun-filled day in Okinawa! The futons were so comfy to sleep in.....
    We target to be down for breakfast before 9 am so that we can pick our car from the concierge at 10 am.

    The breakfast selection served at Okinawa Grand Mer was scrumptious. Read my review of Okinawa Grand Mer Resort here.

    enjoying her breakfast

    Very much an Asian affair which suits Sticky Bean. She loves the omelette and mixing them into the porridge. Her favourite sausage was a disappointment though as they were way too oily.

    our Toyota Vitz which served us really well

    Collection of our car from Toyota Car Rental via the Okinawa Grand Mer Resort concierge was so convenient. Simply pop by the counter, show them the email confirmation that you've reserved the car and they will proceed with some paperwork then someone will drive up the car for you and do the routine check, usual sop, showing you how to use the GPS is your preferred language.

    It's just 3 of us, hence we went for the smallest, Toyota Vitz which was pretty comfortable and super easy to drive.

    It's pretty easy and straightforward to use the GPS since the menu is in English, one can easily navigate through. The most common method is to input the map code of the location you're heading to. The challenge with this method is having to dig out a copy of the map codes each time you're going to a destination. I've saved my itinerary with a list of map codes on my phone, even so, I find that a hassle.
    It was only on the 3rd day that I realised it's so much easier to key in the name of the landmark you're heading since we're visiting touristy places so the landmark can definitely be found in their system.

    Like I've shared in Tips for Planning an Okinawa Self Drive trip, plan your route in google map so you can see if the route makes sense and maximises travelling time.

    We're now ready for our Okinawa Self-drive trip Day 2!

    Our key highlight for today would be to visit Bios Park and American Village. Okinawa is well known for their awesome playgrounds and their slides. Hence we definitely must visit one of those. I've actually shortlisted 3 playgrounds en route to Bios Park but decided on Wakanatsu Playground in the end.

    Here're the other 3 playgrounds I've shortlisted.

    Inami Park (Playground) 伊波公園
    •  Address:〒904-1115 沖縄県うるま市石川伊波
    •  map code:33 893 724*77
    • 10 minutes drive from Okinawa Grand Mer
    Image result for yaejima park

    Yaejima Park
    • Address: 1 Chome-1 Yaejima, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0006, Japan
    • 15 minutes drive from Okinawa Grand Mer
    • Remarks: no roller slides though

    Wakanatsu Park 若夏公園わかなつこうえん (the one we visited)
    • Address :2 Chome Higashi, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture 904-2154,沖繩縣沖繩市東2-17-1
    • MAP CODE:33 624 843*80
    • Convenient parking, public toilets, vending machine
    • Time spent: 1.5 hours

    parking lots near Wakanatsu Park

    We're blessed with a beautiful weather today. Look at the sky! So blue with white fluffy clouds. The temperature was at a comfy 23 degree. It was pretty easy to navigate and get to Wakanatsu Park. There's a small parking lot right beside the playground and we're lucky we got the last lot. In any case, there are plenty of parking areas all around. We reached there about 11 am in the morning.

    Toddler area

    They have toddler-friendly playground equipment as well.

    #2 slide in terms of height

    This slide is really fast! 

    3 types of slides with the roller type being the highest at 3 storeys high. Personally, I'll recommend this park for slightly older kids from 4 and above as the climbing structure is way too high and it ain't easy to climb through the 'tunnel' in the middle. You'll need strong gross motor skills here.

    a flying fox area too!

    We spent about 1.5 hours here and made our way to 丘之家 seafood, another highly raved place recommended by Taiwanese.  It's a mere 10 minutes leisure drive away. Oh how I love driving in Okinawa, beautiful scenery, courteous road users, no tailgating, no honking and many gave way promptly. 
    Initially, I was worried about having to drive in Okinawa since I have not driven in Singapore for the past 1 year but prior to that, I've been driving in Singapore for 8 years. So if you can drive in Singapore, you definitely can drive in Okinawa. 

    entrance of 丘之家 seafood

    We've got a little private corner with traditional Japanese dining setting. They provide kids chair as well for younger kids who may it challenging to sit on the floor to have their meals.

    our little "VIP" private corner

    flavourful seafood soup set

    my seafood sashimi bowl

    The seafood soup is full of flavour and yummilicious! I love the sea grapes in my seafood sashimi bowl. The pricing here is really reasonable as well. If I did not remember wrongly, my seafood sashimi bowl cost a mere SGD12.

    look at the expansive lush of greenery here

    After a sumptuous seafood lunch, let's move on to the 2nd leg of our Okinawa Self Drive Trip Day 2! Which is actually the real highlight, though I bet for Sticky Bean, the playground was probably her highlight of the day.

    at the entrance of Bios no Oka 
     Bios no Oka , also known as Bios on the Hill, s a six-acre park located in the hills near the Ishikawa interchange in Uruma City where you can experience the wondrous nature of Okinawa. Here, a two-kilometer-long walkway, playground equipment and an expansive river-like lake provide a setting for activities including guided boat tours and canoe rides. Also featured is one of the only water buffalo cart rides available on the island on which you can take a leisurely and memorable tour of the park the old-fashioned way.
    Many of Okinawa’s natural wonders are on display at BIOS no OKA. Why not put aside a day to see them?
    Love the nature-themed wooden play structures here

    Love the nature-themed wooden play structures here

    simple yet fun activity

    Buffalo spotted

    Traditional buffalo cart ride
    Our good old-fashion swing on a plank of wood hanging from the tree

    Hungry goats waiting to be fed

    Purchase a cup of carrots at 100yen to feed the goats

    There's something about feeding animals among kids
     Another highlight here for Sticky Bean is the opportunity to walk the goats on a leash. Though it's pretty challenging for any kids to manage as the goats were really strong and we end up having to follow them wherever they're heading.

    Trying to 'walk' the goat

    Goat waiting to be 'walked'

    a short moment I left the leash to Sticky Bean so as to take a nice photo

    Goat walking in progress

    Beautiful landscape with the super fresh air
     There's a cafe at Bios no Park and they serve food, dessert and drinks. Picnic mats are also provided for free. So if you feel like having a picnic amidst the lush greenery, you can do so, just like this 2 lovely ladies who knew how to enjoy nature at its best

    if picnic mats aren't your cup of tea, then take a seat at one of the benches here
     Tea-break time! Blue seal ice cream is an Okinawa delicacy and a must-try here. Psst, I find it so-so only, actually.

    We spent about 2.5 hours here, we left close to 5pm to make our way to American Village located in Chatan area.
    I've planned to watch the sunset at the Chatan beach beside American village but we were starving by the time we got there hence we went for dinner and guess what? I forgot that it's winter and the sun sets at 6 pm! Managed to catch a glimpse of the egg yolk when we stepped out of the restaurant.

    There's plenty of shopping and food around this area and more suitable for us, arcades and UFO machines!

    the famous Ferris wheel, a landmark of American Village 

    Our dinner, I love the taco rice here! It's a must try! Super yummy!! 
     Taco rice is another must try in Okinawa and especally at American Village. I'm still craving for taco rice right now! It's so delicious.

    a glimpse of the sun set

    Even a glimpse of the setting sun is so pretty, can you imagine if you're at Chatan beach watching the sun set?

    There's a huge arcade at American Village so it's time for some post dinner fun!

    on board Anpan man!

    Her first catch all by herself, this squishy ball

    there's something addictive about squishing this ball
     We love the huge variety of UFO machines here. At only 100 yen each, it's a steal and there's really a 50-50 chance of you catching the item.
    Mr. Keir managed to catch an MP3 player on his 1st attempt!

    Supper time before heading back to Okinawa Grand Mer Resort
    Authentic Takopachi roadside stall

    freshly made on the spot, piping hot
    Time to head back to Okinawa Grand Mer Resort which is a 20 minutes drive away. Being located on a hill and some parts of the road doesn't have street lights, it was quite an experience driving in complete darkness uphill. Pretty fun actually, just got to go slow and be careful.

    By the time we Sticky Bean went to bed, it's 10 plus at night.
    Some 'us-time' after the little one fell asleep.

    And that's all for our Okinawa Self Drive Trip Day 2!

    Some tips for the day

    Tip #3: Pick a hotel which provides car rental package too! Another reason why I love Okinawa Grand Mer resort, they partnered with Toyota Car Rental so you can email them and make a car reservation. We had breakfast and went to the concierge counter to collect our car - super convenient

    Tip #4: Just relax and drive slowly, it's super easy to drive in Okinawa! Drivers are mostly courteous and keep a safe distance. Map codes are extremely useful if you're using the GPS provided in the car. You may also key in the landmark name as well. To be honest, I started keying in landmark names instead of using mapcode from Day 3 and found it to be more convenient than having to look through my notes and find out what the map code is.

    Mrs. Keir's reflections of our Okinawa Self Drive Trip with Kids Day 2
    I love how we've planned the day today. Picking the car from the hotel was so convenient, I can't stop singing praises of this service. If given a choice to choose again, I will skip American Village and visit Aeon Rycom Mall instead. There are a lot of scattered shops and restaurants along American Village but we're quite worn out by then so we didn't explore the whole area. Other than the ferris wheel, there really isn't much to see at American Village.

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