Okinawa – part 3: Gyokusendo Cave – おきなわワールド

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Gyokusendo Cave – おきなわワールド, is a long underground cave that can be found underneath the theme park Okinawa World.

Warning: plenty of photos ahead.

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Don’t be fooled my my pictures: the cave is very dark, as well as extremely wet. It takes quite a bit of time to walk from the entrance to the exit, and the cave is full of interesting natural stone formations.

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

An umbrella would ve overkill, but carrying a light rainjacket or at least a hat is highly reccomended. Also, watch out for slippery surfaces and random rock formations at head-height.

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

I took all my pictures handheld at ISO 6400, f4 and shutter speed based on the available light. If you plan to go there with your camera, I think that the ideal lens would be a fast ultra wide angle like a 14-24 f2.8 for Nikon, 16-35 f2.8 for Canon of thenewer Tamron 15-30 f2.8. An ultra wide lens is almost mandatory becaure the walking path is right next to the rock formations, there are very few situations where a longer zoom could be useful.

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa World has some interesting things to watch. We definitely enjoyed the tribal dance show, as well as the old building that show the traditional homes of Okinawans. Since it’s necessary to buy a ticket for each area, I’d say the traditional village and the caves are the two most interesting things to see.

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Okinawa - Gyokusendo Cave - おきなわワールド

Apparently, in the waters of the cave there are some species of crabs, fish and…weird things. I couldn’t see any, but I guess they tend to live far from the artifical lights.

Pictures of the part of Okinawa World that lies above the ground will be available in a separate post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A storm in Yilan

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A break from Japan pictures. This week every day in Yilan was the same: scorching hot morning followed by thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Yesterday I left my 6D on the balcony and in over 1000 shots it didn’t manage to catch a single lightning, even though I’m sure that plenty of them hit the ground within its field of view. Today I tried again, and I’ve managed to catch one:

Just one

Considering the amount of lightnings I’ve seen hitting the ground, I was not very impressed by the result. Still better than nothing, though.

Next post will showcase the underground caves of Okinawa!

 

Okinawa – part 2 : Nanjo

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Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

The second day of my trip to Okinawa was dedicated to the South-Eastern region of Nanjo. The weather was not as sunny as I was expecting, but I can’t complain too much.

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

In that area there are many beaches, parks and restaurants, and it’s not a very long ride from the central part of Naha.

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Apart from the seaside, there are a few more interesting locations to visit. There are some huge caves (I’ll post about them in the coming days) located right underneath the theme park Okinawa World. On the way to Naha I also paid visit to the largest outlet on the island and I enjoyed some nice ice cream there.

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

I’ve not seen many hotels in that area, so I guess that anyone planning to visit that area would be better off staying in Naha and then ride or drive there.

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Japanese spider bro!

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

That looks like a nice place to get stranded.

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

Okinawa - Nanjo - 南城

If my schedule wasn’t that tight, I think that it would have been worth it to go to Nanjo much earlier to see the sunrise. It’s easy to find scenic locations that would work great for a sunrise or long-exposure shot.

The weather on the previous day wa snot great so the water turned out to be a bit colder than ideal, so no swimming on that day…feelsbadman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Okinawa – part 1

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Okinawa - Naha

This will be my first post sharing my pictures and experienc from a recent trip to Okinawa. I visited the island almost all around it and have hundreds of pictures to process, so I’ll upload them by location.

Okinawa - Naha

My first stop was the city of Naha – 那霸, which is the first stop for basically everyone since that’s where the airport is located. My very first day…well, half-day, was rather uneventful, mainly because my alarm clock was at 3.30 AM in order to catch a morning flight.

Okinawa - Naha

Okinawa - Naha

Okinawa - Naha

Okinawa - Naha

Okinawa - Naha

Naha is the most tourism-oriented city in Okinawa. It’s packed full of hotels, shopping malls, whole streets full of stores selling all sort of gadgets etc etc.

Transportation in Naha is ok-ish. The monorail does a great job connecting different parts of the city, but if you want to explore Naha a bit more in depth you need to either rely on many bus trips or rent a motorbike.

I decided not to spend too much time in Naha because I was more interested in the rest of the island, so I didn’t plan a long stop in the city.

After a stroll around some shopping malls to enjoy the current extremely low value of the Japanese Yen, for dinner I headed to a restaurant that is well regarded both from locals and tourists.

Okinawa - Naha

Okinawa - Naha

Okinawa - Naha

Free snack! Fresh mussels cooked in soup, offered to every customer.

Okinawa - Naha

Pan seared oysters with cheese.

Okinawa - Naha

Mandatory sashimi platter with Orion beer (which is made in Okinawa). I liked the sashimi a lot, but here in Taiwan most restaurants tend to cut thicker slices of fish, which is something I definitely prefer.

Okinawa - Naha

Okinawa - Naha

Egg budin with mushroom and mussels.

Okinawa - Naha

I felt very jelous of that girl’s drink, though I’m not sure how well a cocktail would fit traditional Japanese food?

Right after dinner I headed back to the hotel and crashed on the bed.

In the next post I’ll show my trip to the South-East of the island

Technical note: I travelled the whole island by motorbike, so I decided to leave at home as much gear as possible. I only carried with me Canon 6D, 17-40 f4 L, 70-300 L and the small 50mm f1.8 STM. At the last moment I decided to ditch the tripod and I’m glad I did. Considering how little I used it, even the 50mm could have stayed home.

Even with so little gear with me, carrying an 8kg backpack around for 5 days was really bad for my back. For this kind of long trip I should definitely consider investing some money in a smaller photography kit, either a high-end compact camera or a smaller APS-C dslr and a couple of lenses. I’d be really glad to reduce the weight of my kit from nearly 3kg to somewhere below 1kg.  The bare minimum for an APSC kit would be to use the 10-18 and 55-250 STM lenses, and adding a body would sum up to 1.2/1.5kg. An Eos-M6 with similar lenses would be slightly lighter at around 1kg, but a fair bit more expensive.