- Posted January 28, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Okinawa's Parks: Wide open spaces on a crowded island.
Off the southern coast of Japan is the small island of Okinawa. Much like other parts of Japan space is limited. It is not as common to have a front and back yard as it is in other places such as the United States however this does not hinder the likelihood that a child would spend time outside. In fact one might argue that children spend more time outdoors here in Okinawa then they would elsewhere. The reason just may be the very many parks around Okinawa.
Parks here in Okinawa come in all shapes and sizes but there are a few things that remain the same. The first is that there is a safe, clean park for children to play at within walking distance of almost every neighborhood. Some of the parks offer a grassy area covered by shade from strategically planted trees where as others offer a large playground. You may even find that some of the parks in Okinawa have a historical significance offering a place to remember and learn as well as to play.
Each park has it's own characteristics. Some are themed with fish, flowers, or even one of Okinawa's guardian shisa. In Ginowan, a city infamously known for the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma now the home of the contraversial Osprey aircraft, there are parks where one can enjoy climbing through the roots of trees. Those who prefer pirate ships can head to a park located on Araha Beach where there stands the ship along the sandy beach offering many fun obsticles including a zip line. Senaga Island, just south of the Naha International Airport, also has some playground friends to include two oversized crabs.
The fun doesn't stop at the theming of each park either. Many have extensive playground equipment which would be hard to resist for any child, and even some adults. Yaedake Park, located on Yae Mountain in the Motobu area of Okinawa, features a large slade which many refer to as "roller slides". These slides are specifically designed for the absolute best slide-a-bility with rollers along the bottom. The fun doesn't stop there because these are not your standard school yard slides. In fact they are often known for their long lenth and are a favorite among children young and old. Other playground equipment that you may be familiar with such as swings and jungle gyms are also present. Somtimes there is even equipment designed for adults to exercise while the children play.
Although there is a great deal of effort that goes into offering children a place to play outdoors there is still a great deal of effort at some of Okinawa's larger parks in order to accommodate adults as well. Parks such as Kenrin No Mori located in the Onna area of Okinawa offers a peaceful getaway for the residents to include hiking through the surrounding mountains. In fact, at Kenrin No Mori, there is a point where you can see the oceans on either side of Okinawa at the same time. This is also available at Yaedake Park which was mentioned above.
Whether you want to take the kids to play outside, need a place to enjoy a quick lunch or just want to enjoy sitting in the shade and gazing at some flowers, Okinawa's parks offer a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of every day life.