Okinawa: The Hip Hop Bus

Toes in the Okinawan sand

One of the husband’s MUST-SEE items in Okinawa was the aquarium, which was nowhere near our hotel in Naha. Before we left, I tried my darndest to figure out the best way to get there, but didn’t have much luck. So the husband, in completely non-husband style said: We’ll figure it out when we get there!

So I … decided to just go with it. It was his must-see item, he was ok waiting till we got there, so I let go of the planning.

And, lo and behold, we figured it out when we got there.

When we landed at the Okinawa airport, we picked up all of the English fliers from the tourist flier stand. When we checked into the hotel, we again picked up all of the English fliers from the tourist flier stand. In our hotel room, the husband studied all of the fliers, and decided upon the Hip Hop bus.

I do not know why that is their name. But I do know that I quite enjoyed it!

We bought our tickets online the day before our Hip Hop adventure. The bus picked us up right outside our hotel in Naha (it stops at about 5 Naha hotels; so if you aren’t staying exactly at one of their stops, you can probably walk to a nearby hotel pretty easily), and took us to the Churaumi Aquarium and American Village! Both items on our list, and both things not anywhere near Naha. There were a few other stops in there, but I think they probably just made for nice bathroom stops?

Our guide spoke several languages, including English. They are all set up with headsets that support a multitude of languages (I think there were like 20 different options?) so everyone got to enjoy the ride learning about Okinawa in whatever language they so desired. Er, well, among the 20 choices.

On the way to the Aquarium, we stopped for a bathroom/photo stop at the Kouri bridge, where I took the opportunity to get my toes in the sand. They had a paid-foot shower station to get cleaned up … took me a minute to figure it out, but I managed to get all cleaned up and back on the bus.

Kouri Bridge

And then the aquarium! This is the aquarium to beat all aquariums. Whale sharks! This is the only place you’ll see whale sharks in a ginormous whale shark tank.

The Hip Hop bus gave us 3 hours there, which is enough time to get through the aquarium itself, but there is soooo much more there to see. There is the emerald beach that the in-laws made sure to see, and they assured us it was gorgeous. We opted for more aquarium time – and I really wanted to see the Okinawan village they had in the Ocean Park Expo area, but we took a wrong turn, and it was so hot, and uphill and then we gave up and hung out in the very air conditioned gift shop at the top of the hill. 3 hours is enough time to feel like you got your money’s worth, but, honestly we coulda spent all day there.

But, back on the bus!

We had a brief stop where we all ran to an underwater observatory thing, climbed down a bunch of stairs, looked at some fish through tiny windows, climbed up a bunch of stairs, and then ran back to the bus.

It was … I think just a good time to get off the bus for a bit? It sounded way cooler in the description than in actuality … especially after having just been at very possibly the world’s best aquarium.

Next stop was the American Village for dinner. Which is a very American feeling place, imagine that! We stopped at a spam-burger place, where I got a spam and egg sandwich and some melon fanta.

We had some time to kill in the shops, so we wandered around and did some window shopping. If you can make it, I’d recommend a visit to the American Village.

Then it was back on the bus for the ride back to the hotel. It made for a very long day, but it was a day we didn’t have to drive for hours in a foreign country or worry about our itinerary, and we got to see some very cool places.

So Hip Hop Bus? A resounding yes! There was no Hip Hop to speak of, but it was still a very good time.