August 25, 2012

Shopping on Okinawa - Gate 2 Street

Guide to Shopping Gate 2 Street in Okinawa

Gate 2 Street is a popular shopping destination for Americans looking to spend a day viewing the many different shops available within walking distance of Kadena Gate 2. It provides more tan enough to keep an avid shopper busy for the day browsing and exploring the shops and side streets that contain a myriad of different shops.

An Example of the Eye Catching Shops on Gate 2 Street

Types of Shops

There are almost as many different types of shops as there are shops on gate 2 street. There are a number of clothing shops with some selling America style clothing, sometimes with a Japanese twist, and other shops selling more traditional Japanese attire for anyone interested in a Kimono.

The Music Center with Baskin Robbins
There are also several shops selling more fashionable clothing including dresses and suits. You can even get a suit tailor made, but it won't be as inexpensive as Korea.

Besides clothing, several shops sell souvenir type items including Japanese furniture, pottery, accessories, and even samurai swords.

Be sure to check out some of the side streets because there is an entire covered market located a block or so north of gate 2 street. In this market you can find plenty of interesting vegetables and foods. There are also a variety of interesting restaurants tucked in  and around gate 2 street worth visiting.

If you walk to the end of gate 2 street, where it connects with 330 in a large intersection, there is a music center on the right that will often have live shows on weekend nights. Also located in this music center are several Japanese fastfood restaurants and even a Baskin Robbins in case anyone needs a break from shipping.

During the day, gate 2 street is a popular shopping area, but during the night it becomes a little shady as there are a number of bars located on this street catering to desperate America Military members and sketchy Japanese. So enjoy the shopping, but consider calling it a day when the sun goes down.

Location of Gate 2 Street

Park Avenue - Another Shopping street just blocks away from Gate 2
As one would expect, the shops are located on gate 2 street as you continue straight out The Kadena Air Force Base Gate 2. There are also many more shops located on the side streets and alleys primarily on the left side of the street as you face away from the military base.

I would encourage you to explore down the side streets which contain many more shops than on gate 2 street. Don't worry about getting lost, because there are plenty of helpful Japanese who will easily direct you in the right direction if you ask.

Many Japanese speak some English, but if you want to try out some Japanese, use this phrase, 'Kadena Kichi wa doko?' Which means, 'where is Kadena Base?' That should get the idea across.

Where to Park

Parking is limited and can be pricey, so avoid this by parking on base in the USO parking lot. There are plenty of extra spaces, and you can even stop in at the USO for a drink or snack at Chili's. It is a short walk out Kadena Gate 2 to get to the shops and restaurants.

View more Things to Do in Okinawa.

August 16, 2012

Things to do on Okinawa - Spearfishing

Spearfishing in Okinawa

For those with time on their hands and a desire for adventure and exploration, I suggest looking into spearfishing. Okinawa is a great place to start spearfishing because the water is clear, there are lots of fish, and you can find the equipment easily.

The waters around Okinawa and the surrounding islands offer incredible viability and variety of sea life. This makes it fantastic for snorkeling, scuba diving, and spearfishing. On clear days, viability can easily reach 100 feet. This makes it possible scan deep sections of the ocean from the surface before diving down to spear a fish. The many varieties of brightly colored tropical fish make it exciting and fun to both hunt the fish, and just enjoy watching them. There are many fish that offer a delicious meal once caught.

Equipment for snorkeling and spearfishing is easy to get on Okinawa. There are dive shops and stores on the military bases that have everything one would need to go snorkeling and in most Japanese fishing stores they have inexpensive spears for around $10.

The spears most people use are called Hawaiian sling or Pole spears. I recently wrote an article on Spearfishing tips using a pole spear or Hawaiian sling, so check it out for some helpful tips.

It is important to keep in mind a few things before you go out spearfishing. Spearfishing may not be allows for active duty military personnel in certain branches of the military. I had friends in most branches, and some could go spearfishing, while others could not, so check to be sure you are allowed to go if you are in the military.

Also, don't go spearfishing at popular snorkeling areas. This is both a safety issue and a matter courtesy. How would you like it if you were looking at fish and someone came along scaring them off and spearing them? Yeah, so just avoid the popular spots.

But don't worry, there are PLENTY of quite beaches and coral reefs scattered all over Okinawa. Consider going to the Northern parts of Okinawa. Just take a scouting trip driving around up there and I guarantee you'll find plenty of deserted beaches.

So what are you waiting for? Take your spearfishing adventure today! Check out the link I mentioned if you're looking for any spearfishing tips.