In the warm climate of Okinawa, you can enjoy diving and snorkeling even in the winter but the actual sea-bathing season generally starts from March/April until end of October.
The sea bathing season for 2019 is just about to arrive!
Here are the umi-biraki schedules for the main beaches in the northern area of Okinawa main island:
March 23rd: Kariyushi Beach (Nago city)
March 24th: Okuma Beach (Kunigami-son)
March 31st: Kanucha Beach (Nago city)
April 1st: Emerald Beach (Motobu town), Nabee Beach (Onna-son), Zanpa Beach (Yomitan-son), Kise Beach (Nago city)
Kariyushi Beach opens first on March 23rd and conveniently Okinawa Airport Shuttle’s bus stop is located there. Rapid service bus will not stop here but it only takes 20 minutes from its first stop (Nago city).
In fact, if you want to go around places like Kariyushi Beach, there is a perfect bus pass. It’s called “Okinawa Airport Shuttle Unlimited Ride Pass”. According to your stay, 3-Day (¥3,900) or 5-Day (¥4,900) unlimited ride passes are available.
For example, you can use it like this.
Get the first Rapid Okinawa Airport Shuttle service of the day to leave Naha and arrive to Nago-shiyakusho Mae (Nago City Office) at 9:50. After that you can spend your time visiting Nago City Municipal Market (previously introduced) to eat and drink delicious things or buy bento for your lunch, and then get on the 11:08 or 12:08 bus to Kariyushi Beach!
Once you finished at the beach either you can go back to Naha or to Nago as your base travel point. With the same pass ticket, you can go to Motobu area to eat Okinawa soba or even go to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Emerald Beach.
So, Kariyushi Beach it is!
There is a LAWSON (convenient store) in front of the bus stop, and to one’s surprise… the beach is just behind it! It is great to know that you can enjoy marine activities as soon as you get off the bus.
In the warm sea of Okinawa, there are various ways to enjoy during the winter, but there are a lot more things to do after the umi-biraki.
For example, marine sports like Jet ski, dragon boat, ski biscuit, super mable and wakeboard.
Kariyushi Water Land is a beach playground on the water, where children above 4 years old and parents/adults can play together.
There are full of other water activities that people can enjoy such as undersea walk where you wear a glass diving helmet.
There are many activities available at Kariyushi Beach, and there is one recommended activity which various generation can enjoy together.
That is “Glass Boat”.
Anyone can ride together from children to the elderly, can enjoy at any season no matter hot or cold, and what’s more you can wear your own clothes because you won’t get wet!!
Isn’t it amazing?
So, I, Umi the editor went to experience this amazing activity, glass boat.
You get on board from the pier shown in the photograph at the beginning of this article. Suddenly I realized there is a cute porcupinefish near the pier. I felt like it was welcoming me.
Once everyone is on board, let’s sail!
While the captain steers, he also will give a talk about what we are seeing.
The floor of the boat is made of glass and you get to see the ocean clearly.
Once the boat departed, underneath was full of corals!
The captain explained to us “It’s the borderline of reefs and due to its slope may fish crowd together here.”
No doubt you can see all those corals from the boat floor but also you can see them from the side of the boat. They are all very healthy and in good condition corals!
I was easily excited by just seeing a little bit of coral… but apparently many of the coasts of Okinawa were fully covered with corals up to the seashore, therefore if anyone tried to forcibly land from the sea, injuries were unavoidable!
But as the surroundings develop, corals lessened and there was a time where corals didn’t exist. The current beautiful corals have been revived by the efforts of the people of Okinawa. At Kariyushi Beach there is a class called “Kariyushi Beach Sango Class” for learning about corals.
As we went offshore, many fish came closer to the boat.
Why is that…?
That’s because they know they will be able to get some food as the glass boats approach.
You must be careful when you are feeding those fish because they will splash the water aggressively and you will definitely get wet. Watch out for your camera!
Occasionally, skipjack tuna aiming for those fish, or fish caught in the bait may be eaten by bigger fish in front of you.
As I gazed those fish through the glass, there is a moment when it seems like I was looking at a huge fish tank but after all there is a real nature exist out there!
This was taken over the glass window of the sea bed. Although the image quality is not so good but you can see the undulation of the sea floor clearly.
Regardless of fish in the shallow or deeper places, you’ll get to see all fish swimming in different directions three-dimensionally.
You can see sea-cucumbers and starfish on the bottom of the sea.
Sometimes sea turtle(s) will come and say hello to you.
At a shallow place you can see various corals at a close distance.
Some looks like a flower. I was told that it’s called encrusting pore coral.
It looks like a lettuce but apparently it is as hard as a stone. So, it’s not edible…, oh yes… because it’s a coral.
Having said that, corals are animals, not plants. They all lay eggs at the same time around the night of the full moon from May to June. It is said to be a magical scenery.
“Look! Clown fish.”
The captain found a sea anemone with anemone fish and brought our boat to the right place. What an amazing steering skill!!
I realized that they were actually everywhere.
All of a sudden, a school of porcupinefish appeared from the side of the boat! They could be friends of the porcupinefish that I saw previously.
Once again, it’s the feeding time. It was the same as the previous feeding time as all fish aggressively scramble for the bait.
Are they scissortail sergeant?!
Although they are small, looking at a school of fish eating bait was quite powerful.
I said goodbye to the world of sea as I gazed at those beautiful corals. Very reluctant to leave!
Depending on the season and the state of the tide, it will be slightly different as to what you will meet and see.
For your information, if you have the “Okinawa Airport Shuttle Unlimited Ride Pass” (introduced at the beginning of this article), you will get discount on Kariyushi Beach Glass Boat and many other benefits. Please do check for more information!
※The content of this article was written at the end of February 2019 .It is subject to change without notice.
Okinawa Airport Shuttle
An express bus that connects Naha Airport and Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium as short as in 2 hours.
Going from Naha Airport to Nago Shiyakusho Mae (Nago City Hall) takes about 1 hour 20 minutes using this express bus.
Okinawa Airport Shuttle Unlimited Ride Pass
◇Access to Kariyushi Beach◇
Take Okinawa Airport Shuttle and get off at “Kariyushi Beach Mae” bus stop.
(Takes about 2 hours from Naha Airport International Terminal)
Or take the Rapid service of Okinawa Airport Shuttle and head to Nago city, and from Nago take the Okinawa Airport Shuttle or other Route Bus to Kariyushi Beach Mae.
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