Okinawa Hontou

22/26 November 2007

The 25th we had an experiment with ANA (All Nippon Airways) where we could collect landing data for our research during a pilot training examination. Although training centers for the japanise airline companies are in America (more space, way cheaper) the (brush up) examinations must be done in Japan. They built an airport occupying half of the island Shimojishima in the Okinawa archipelago. Because it is a training airfield and there are no regular direct flights to Shimojishima, we had to stop over at Okinawa Hontou (Okinawa main island) and Miyakojima and then take a ferry and cross a bridge to get there. Because it is quite a nice area and it is far away from Tokyo, we made a bit longer trip out of it and did some sightseeing. See here the part of Okinawa Hontou:

The Shurei-no-mon is the symbol of Okinawa. It should have been about 500 years old, but was destroyed in the war and rebuilt in 1958. It is a more or less chinese style gate. Because Okinawa is relatively isolated from Japan and close to China/Taiwan, the culture and traditional building style are quite different. Unfortunately, the new building style (i.e. concrete/plastic) is as ugly as everywhere in Japan.

2000 yen bills are quite rare in Japan. For some reason the Japanese people don't like them, but when I got one I kept it for this occasion :-)

This is the Shuri-jou, the main castle of the Ryuukyuu kingdom that stretched over the Okinawa archipelago in the old days. Actually it is a replica (the original was bombed) but still very impressive.

And the guards were wearing funny costumes :-)

At Naha airport we saw this pokemon-plane. ANA has more planes painted in a weird/funny way, but this is the first one I've seen in real.

The last day of our trip, we went to the Nakagusuku-jou castle ruin. They were renovating unstable parts of the still standing walls, so they numbered stones, took it apart, and would then put everything back in place later in a more steady way.