August 21, 2013

How To Check Water Conditions Around Okinawa

How To Check Sea Conditions Before Enjoying Water Activities on Okinawa

Okinawa offers a wide variety of water activities in both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan,
which provide an almost endless supply of aquatic options.

water conditions in Okianawa
A Perfect Calm Day in Okinawa
But the water is not always safe for activities, and it is important to know when to enjoy the ocean, and when to keep your distance.

When Typhoons come through, the ocean can become an angry, swelling mass of energy and power that will ruin your day if you try to go snorkeling, scuba diving or other activities.

Even if there isn't a typhoon in the area, the ocean around Okinawa can become dangerous in hours if the right conditions are present.

So how do you know when it is safe to enjoy the beautiful ocean around Okinawa?

Learn from our tips below!

How To Stay Safe While Enjoying Water Activities Around Okinawa

Following these simple tips will help you stay safe while partaking in water sports on Okinawa.

The first tip is to simply check weather conditions online at the many weather websites available. If conditions are stormy, it is likely the water will also be rough and possibly unsafe. Look for clear sunny days, which will also help with water visibility if you are diving or snorkeling.

Next, take a look at the water you are thinking of entering. The water around Okinawa is very accessible and can be seen from most locations on Okinawa. So get near the water, and evaluate the swells, the waves, and how rough it appears. If it isn't calm and there are extra risks involved, such as a coral reef, reconsider your aquatic plans and if you still think it is good to enter the water.

Finally, there are several online resources fro providing you more information about the water around Okinawa, and if it is safe to enjoy.

Kadena Weather provides a simple site with a rating of All Clear, Caution, or Danger to inform you of the water conditions on each side of Okinawa.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center is a very good website for tracking and getting information about tropical storms and typhoons, which can quickly cause water conditions to become unsafe.

In the end, Okinawa offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world, but be sure to stay safe, and know the water conditions before you enter the water.

One final bit of advice is this, if you don't see others in the water at the location you are diving/snorkeling, it might be a sign that the conditions are unsafe. Learn from the locals who know the water better than you.

If you found this useful, you might enjoy some of our other recent posts, such as our Review of FamilyMart, or everything you need to know about Hiking Hiji Falls.

One of our more popular posts: 10 Important Sushi Tips 

Leave a comment with any thoughts or questions, and share with others to help keep everyone on Okinawa safe while enjoying the wonderful water.

August 12, 2013

Okinawa Review - FamilyMart

All About FamilyMart Convenience Stores on Okinawa

Have you ever been exploring Okinawa when you discovered you were hungry or thirsty? Or perhaps you have seen the small stores with white, green and blue markings and a big FamilyMart sign and wondered what could be found inside.

You might even have no idea what FamilyMart is, so no matter your level of knowledge, here you will learn about FamilyMart, what they have to offer, and a general review of the service and quality provided by this Japanese store.

About FamilyMart

review and information okinawa familymart
FamilyMart view of front doors
FamilyMart is a Japanese Convenience store chain based in Tokyo, Japan with stores all over Japan, and even many other countries in Asia. They also have about 10 stores in the US.

There are several different convenience store companies in Japan, including Lawson, 7Eleven, CoCo and others. But we will focus on FamilyMart here.

You can find FamilyMarts in many locations all over Okinawa. They are often on busy streets or street corners in plain view and with at least some parking.

What You Can Find at FamilyMart

FamilyMart has a surprisingly wide variety of items for such a small convenience store. They primarily have food/snacks and drinks.

Foods Commonly Found in FamilyMart:

  • Fresh breads - a wide assortment of breads are usually available
  • Onigiri, bento's and other Japanese foods
  • Pre-packaged hamburgers, sandwiches and similar items
  • Desserts - custerds, pudding and other sweet treats
  • Snacks, chips, cookies, candy, many other Japanese snacks
  • Fried foods - Variety of fried foods available at the counter, (ask for Spicy Chicken!)
  • Instant foods like Ramen and canned foods
  • Lots of other options, so wander around and try new things
Besides plenty of food choices, FamilyMart will typically have a great selection of drinks and even ice creams to choose from. They have sodas, tea, sports drinks, dairy drinks, coffees, other kinds of drinks, and alcoholic drinks.
review of Family mart okinawa
View of the many drinks available in FamilyMart

FamilyMart doesn't stop at just food and drinks though, they also have newspapers, magazines, manga, personal hygiene products, household products and sometimes seasonal items like fireworks. 

Copy machines and ATM's are also usually available in FamilyMart, along with postal, bill pay and ticket services.

Truly they pack a lot into these small stores, and you may be surprised at the things you can find in them.

Now, let's look at a review of FamilyMart's service and quality

Review of FamilyMart - Service and Quality

At FamilyMart, as with most Japanese service busninesses, the workers are polite and efficient. They are quick to help or answer questions, and will usually smile if you try using some Japanese words.

For those who might not know much or any Japanese, don't worry! The workers are generally very understanding, and will show you the final cost of whatever you are purchasing. 

The facility itself is usually very well maintained with a lot of pride taken by the workers in keeping it nice. Bathrooms are available, and almost always clean and easy to spot when in a hurry.

Overall, FamilyMart is a wonderful part of Okinawa that must be enjoyed and explored like the rest of the island. Try dropping by a FamilyMart and pick up lunch sometime. You will be surprised at how good it is, and even how reasonable the cost can be.

We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about FamilyMart and what it has to offer. Leave a comment with your thoughts or questions!

Visit some of our other recent posts, such as our Guide to Hiking Hiji Falls or our Guide Buying and Selling on Okinawa.