While Jun was on holiday, we decided to go on a family vacay to the southern part of Japan and explore. We chose a place in Nagasaki called Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch village, and Okinawa!
Huis Ten Bosch was AMAZING! I was not expecting that much! We arrived by ferry and were welcomed into a tucked away slice of Holland, right here in Japan. It was right by the sea... or a lake... I still don't know which one it was, but it was beautiful. The place was HUGE as well! So many different attractions and restaurants and areas. For example, a "masquerade ball" were you all dance in a courtyard following the dancers actions. It was kinda weird though because they were wearing expressionless masks but dancing really hard out hahaha. Reia loved it. We were really lucky because when we went, they had a firework display that lasted for 2 HOURS! It was reeeally amazing but super loud. Like battlefield loud. We walked in the opposite direction towards the windmill and tulip gardens to get away from the noise. They also had a a whole bunch of One Piece attractions too. Reia likes pirates and so by the end of the trip when ever she would see a character, she would shout "Mum! My friend!"
The hotel we stayed in was right by the waterfront and our room was very old. Victorian old. The breakfast buffet was GOOD. Probably one of the best I have had. They had a pastry section and the custard and pecan ones were my fav. Burnt my tongue on the custard once but t'was worth iiiiit lol.
They also had a ferris wheel, mazes, a kids land, obstacle course, flying fox, ferries, tulip gardens, a whole bunch of rides, boat rides, gardens, spas, and one of the most awesome illumination gardens I have ever seen! The place was decked out!
One thing that puzzled me was that even though this place was awesome from head to toe and there were rides and food and cool attractions everywhere, there weren't nearly as many people there that there should have been, considering what it has to offer! Jun said that it is doing much better now that a travel agency bought it, but still! People need to visit there! I highly recommend visiting there!
The downer for me was that there was no salted herring or salt licorice. I was looking forward to getting my Dutch fix but never mind.
Our next stop was Okinawa! I had never been before but was always curious about it because it's an Americanized version of Japan. It really is. They even have an American Village with shops, food stalls, and a movie theatre (we ate at Tony Roma's for dinner!). I noticed that all the buildings looked really old... like decaying concrete of there is such a thing.
We stayed right next to the American base in the middle of the main island which was nice because we were traveling up and down the coast which we were there. Our room was pretty spacious! We had 3 huge beds between the for of us and a big couch/bed in the living room. Jun couldn't get over how cheap the whole package to Okinawa had been including the flight, room, and car.
We went to a few places. The aquarium, which was soooo cool by the way. Dolphin AND whale shows. I didn't know whales could jump like that! They had gorgeous flowers and beautiful scenery. You could see a whole bunch of different aquatic animals and we hadn't even gotten into the aquarium yet! The aquarium itself was pretty fantastic. The main attraction was of these huge whale sharks! There were like 3 of them or something swimming around in a HUGE tank full of other kinds of fish. I was not expecting to see something so big so it took me by surprise.
We also visited the war memorial which was super sad. Jun didn't like staying in there for too long because he was getting the heebie jeebies. The story is that there were a whole bunch of high school students during the war that were recruited out to become nurses and aids. Long story short, they were thanked for their work by their then President, and then told to disband and were left to survive on their own in the wilderness with an army of Americans on the loose. Some took shelter in caves, others fled but most of them died. So sad what one twisted man can do to a nation. So there was a sad solemn moment during our trip. When we got outside of the memorial center, there were about 3 shops, all selling the exact same thing and they were trying to get us to come to their shop... it was kinda weird. They lured me in with baby clothes lol and it worked! I bought these cute matching blue aloha dresses for about 800 yen! Can't wait till it gets hotter so my girls can wear them.
We also ate out at an Okinawan restaurant and had sea grapes >_< (salty!) Okinawan soba (prefer ramen), some kind of carrot and tuna salad which was yum and pork shabu shabu. A bit of an expensive splurge but worth the experience. That restaurant was on the main strip which was full of markets, food places and touristy things.
We went to a zoo for Reia who LOVED it. We had to hurry because we had a dinner date with our friends. Again, I was so surprised that hardly anyone was there. We practically had the whole place to ourselves which was cool.
The beach we went to was nice "looking" but the sand was so corse and dusty. The water was still cold and it was pretty windy, but from looking at our photos you can't tell :P