For the long holiday weekend (President's Day) and to celebrate my 31st birthday, Kevin and I went to one of the smaller islands off of Okinawa--an island called Ie Shima. Ie Shima is off the north-west coast of the main island of Okinawa and is about a 30 minute ferry ride away.
The island is known as the "peanut" island for its shape and because peanuts are famous here. Ironically, during World War II the island played a big part in the war. U.S journalist Ernie Pyle was stationed here and died on the island. Even today, U.S Marines still have a small presence on the island.
Anyway, back to our trip...
Here's a view of the port at Ie Shima, once we arrived.
Being a tiny island, accomodations can be a bit limited. However, we lucked out and found a great little beach resort called the YYY Resort. This resort mostly caters to Americans, but we were fine with that. Let me just say....The food at the hotel restaurant was soooo good. The first night we got there, Kev and I decided to choose the BBQ option from the menu. BBQ in Japan usually means "yakiniku." A plate with seafood, chicken, beef, and vegetables is provided to you and you do the cooking yourself. In our case, our table top had a gas grill. Take a look at the spread!
A grinning Kevin.
Me holding a plate full of fresh shrimp and fish. The local shrimp is called "kuruma ebi" which means "car shrimp." Don't ask me why they call it that!
It was a bit chilly outside, but we didn't mind.
The next day, we rented some bicycles to explore the island and visit the sites.
We went to a cave called "Niya-Thiya Cave." This cave is very sacred to the Okinawans as it serves as a reminder of WWII. During the war, hundreds of Okinawans hid and took shelter here, trying to get away from the Americans and the bombings. The cave has many shrines paying respect to those who lost their lives here.
In the cave, there is also a legendary rock. Legend says that if a woman lifts it, she will be blessed with a child.
Naturally, Kevin and I decided that I would need to lift the rock immediately. I lifted it twice. Does this mean I may have twins?!?!!?
After the cave, we cycled a bit more around the island. We passed a lot of tobacco farms, sugar cane fields, and cow farms. Some of the cow pastures had baby cows.
Here's a photo of Kevin trying to pet the cows. They were pretty curious and came right up to the fence. :)
Here is another WWII site. This is a pawn shop that was damaged by U.S mortar shells. The locals decided to keep the shop in this state as a reminder of the ravages of war.
Eventually, we cycled all the way to Mt. Gusuku. This is a rocky mountain on the island with great aerial views.
This is a view of the island at the base of Mt. Gusuku. You can make out some cherry trees in the foreground. Cherry trees or "sakura"--bloom early in Okinawa, around January-February.
Here's another aerial view of the island from the base of Mt. Gusuku.
This is the top of Mt. Gusuku (Kev looks exhausted because the climb up to the top was very steep. Geez!)
If we get another chance to go to Ie Shima, we hope to go in the summer when we can enjoy the beach... Until next time!!!
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