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Okinawa Self Drive Trip Kids Friendly Itinerary Day 3

Day 3 of our 8 Day 7 Night Okinawa Self-drive Trip with Kids Itinerary via Taiwan

  • Check out of Okinawa Grand Mer Resort at 10 am
  • Cape Manzamo, 萬座毛 (Elephant Cliff), Map code 206 312 097 (40 mins drive)
  • Busena Marine Terrace, Map code 206 442 075*11 (20 mins drive)
  • Lunch along the way at a "yoshinonya look alike' (20 mins drive)
  • Neo Park (17 mins drive)
  • Check in at Marine Piazza Hotel
It's time to check out of Okinawa Grand Mer Resort and move up north to Nago area to spend another 2 nights. Reluctantly, we checked out of Okinawa Grand Mer Resort after breakfast. I'm missing our Japanese style tatami room already.

The check out process was a breeze, it took less than a minute, simply return the keys to the reception and you're good to go.

we love this lovely shot of Sticky Bean taken at the lobby whilst waiting for me to drive the car over

Again, the itinerary for today was planned in such a way where we can make stopovers en route to North Okinawa, Nago area so that the trip is more pleasant and doesn't seem that long. That's the beauty of a self-drive trip eh?

1st stopover at Cape Manzamo which was pretty crowded by the time we get there at 10 plus in the morning. Due to the limited parking, there's a little queue to queue for parking lots. Thank god we're in Japan where everything is orderly and systematic. There're people to direct traffic and you're only allowed to move in when cars start coming out so you won't have the car park lot flooded with cars trying to snatch lots from one another.

The good thing is, the stopover here will be really short, at most 30 minutes, most people are just here to see the elephant cliff, take photos and go.

Cape Manzamo

Look at the clear waters

even Sticky Bean was captivated by this beautiful scene

I believe that's ANA beach resort across from here 

The scenery here was breathtaking and the air, oh-so-fresh.  We're lucky to take a couple of shots sans the crowd.

There are some souvenir shops near the car park and lots of vending machines. Well, Okinawa is still part of Japan after all, a country with an abundance of vending machines. Oh, how we love those machines. It was only after we came back that I found out the corn soup sold at the vending machines are to die for!!! That gives me one good reason to go back to Okinawa again.

Next up will be Busena Marine Park. Most tourists come here for the Busena Tower where it submerged underwater and you get to view the marine life in the basement as well as the glass bottom boat tour. We opted for just the glass bottom boat tour.

Glass bottom boat tour departs hourly so we have a bit of time to stroll at the beautiful beach with powdery sand and crystal clear water. The beach looks so inviting! If only it ain't winter period, I would definitely go for some of the beach activities.

A pity it was a tad gloomy else it would have been a beautiful shot

can you see how clear the sea is?

Vast sky, vast sea

like a model
There's a free trolley bus to fetch tourist to the glass bottom boat tour if you do not wish to walk. There, a scenic short ride along the beautiful coast.

waiting for the trolley bus to move off 

Still taking in the beautiful sea

Love the 'portrait' feature of my oppo R11 
Boarding time!

ain't this whale-shaped glass bottom boat cute?

It was quite an experience viewing the marine life from the glass bottom of the boat. The visibility was really good. I remembered taking a similar, cheaper version of such boat in Pattaya years ago when I was just a little girl and it was a stark contrast from my Pattaya's experience.

Mermerised by the underwater life

lots of corals and reefs

Sticky bean enjoyed the first half of the glass bottom boat tour before she got bored. The marine life here ain't in abundance, a far cry from my expectations though we do see corals, schools of fishes here and there. I won't be a good person to rate this experience as I used to scuba dive so nothing can be compared to the marine life you experience when you do a LOB (live on board) scuba dive.

At the site where we board the glass bottom boat tour

We skipped the Busena Marine Tower observatory since it's very much the same thing. You're viewing the same marine life underwater, isn't it? Save us a couple of bucks more so we can spend those bucks with UFO catchers later on.

We're supposed to stop at Kyoda Michi no eki for quick lunch. I thought it would be a wonderful experience stopping at a rest stop designed for self-drive trips for our Okinawa Self Drive trip.
But we quickly discovered that it is located in the opposite direction of the road and that we require us to make 2 huge u-turns to get there. So we aborted the idea and had lunch at a 'yoshinonya' look-alike place along the road.

Sticky Bean loves the minced chicken rice there.

Lunch is a brisk affair since we're running behind time and Neo Park closes at 5pm, my target was to reach there at 2:30 pm so we can 2.5 hours to spend at Neo Park.

5 minutes down the road, we've arrived at Neopark!

The entrance of Neo Park
Sticky Bean was apprehensive about feeding the birds at first

I've to demonstrate to her. The birds will come up to you and eat from your hands

Not sure what bird this is but it has a really fluffy neck

enjoying nature

Love how they hand drawn these posters to introduce the animals available at the petting area

Love how they hand drawn these posters to introduce the animals available at the petting area

Love how they hand drawn these posters to introduce the animals available at the petting area

Even though we paid an entrance fee to enter Neo Park, you have to pay an additional fee to enter this petting corner. But it was well worth it and in fact, the highlight of the day for Sticky Bean. She loves feeding the dogs and cuddling them.

let's start with something as tame as a guinea pig

You can purchase dog snacks at 200 yen to feed the dogs

You'd be overwhelmed with the number of dogs clobbering over you to get the snack

Someone's enjoying it though

Oops, no more! 

Sticky bean's favourite doggy

These capybaras are so cuteeeeeeeee

look at their eyes

We left Neo Park close to 5 pm and did a quick stopover at Daiso and a supermarket along the way. Time to stock up on water, drinks and snacks.

Fooling around in Daiso

Just thought this makes a super cute back drop

Navigation and driving in Okinawa were such a brisk, we got to Marine Piazza Hotel shortly. Managed to check in at 6 pm. Do read up on our Marine Piazza Hotel Review here.

This is definitely a family-friendly hotel with kids facilities and I love the fact that it has a tatami area as well. There're 4 futons available in the wardrobe so you can sleep up to 6 guests in this room.

We drove out to an izakaya for dinner that night. Wanted to go for the highly raved Yakiniku BBQ but it was pretty expensive and not so suitable for Sticky Bean. She needs her carbs and won't appreciate meat.

at the Izakaya
That very much wraps up Day 3 of our Okinawa Self Drive trip with kids.

Tips for the day
Tip #5: Cape Manzamo is mad crowded with buses of tourist so do try to be there early. We waited for about 20 mins to get a parking lot there

Tip #6: It's a self-drive holiday so don't stick to a fixed itinerary, feel free to stop along the way for a break or snacks. We initially wanted to stop at their Michi no Eki for lunch but realised that it's on the opposite side of the road and needed to make a huge U-turn so we gave it a miss and had lunch somewhere else instead. Along the way, we also stopped over at a Daiso and supermarket.

Mrs Keir Reflections for the day
Mr. Keir & I are not the kind of tourist who'd travel all the way just to see a particular landmark such as Cape Manzamo. We merely included it in our itinerary really because it was en route to where we were going for the day and it won't take up much time. I'm pretty happy with our plan for the day but will definitely skip Cape Manzamo and Busena Marine Park if we were to visit Okinawa again. Those 2 were the kind of 'been there, done that' kind of places.


  1. Hello! May I ask for the name of the Yakiniku BBQ you were thinking of going to, please? :)


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