Okuma Beach, Okinawa, Japan



Being in the U.S. Military among Okinawa, Japan there are different rules and restrictions we must abide by rather than being in the states. Some of the restrictions require us to get special permission for staying out overnight and going off base for more than a day. For Presidents Day weekend we received a 96 (meaning 4 days off). We planned a camping trip up to Okuma Beach which is ran by the US Air Force. The trip up was easy going and saw many beautiful sights along the coast. Getting to the camp there are large cabins that can fit 18 people, smaller cabins for about 5, a family camp ground, and in the back is the adult campsite where quiet hours don’t start till 2 AM. Camping there is $10 dollars a night plus whatever additional camping gear you might need they’ll have it from tents, sleeping bag, grills to sports gear. We setup our huge 8 person tent that we had purchased before leaving and the party was on!

For the trip we decided to make jungle juice (Hawaiian fruit punch, margarita mix, Tang mix and as much clear alcohol we could fit in the 5 gallon jug). We filled up our cups and started exploring the various nature trails and beaches. Almost every high point on the peninsula has path leading to the top with on observation point. I have lived on both coasts in the United States but never I have seen water so blue and clear than I have at these beaches. The beaches are mostly smooth rounded out rocks and coral pieces, highly recommend water shoes before going in the water due to the amount of rock and coral. We were able to climb all the way around the camp grounds using the erosion walls they have built on the sides of the cliffs. The first day there was rough due to the overcast weather and the brutal winds we had blowing around. But the second day was our best weather day with highs in the 70 Fahrenheit and perfectly sunny! I road my long board into the town to pick up a charger for GoPro since my rechargeable battery pack had been stolen the night before. Riding out into town was my first real experience in Japan away from an actual base and it was definitely a new experience for me to be in an area where I can only understand a limited amount of language and writing but I was successful at finding what I needed! Seeing how differently people live over here is quite humbling, homes aren’t huge and lavish, they are small mostly made of concrete but with green luscious gardens out front. Coming back to camp I hiked around the beaches some more trying different photography techniques. At evening time we had met a few of our neighbor campers who were a mixture of Air Force Special Forces their wives and friends from the states. After a few drinks, couple rounds of corn hole and some good laughs we headed to the restaurant to grab a bite of pizza then go to bed. That night I slept outside due to the cool weather and clear sky, that part of the island is dark enough to see thousands of stars! The third day was more of a recovery day for us since the weather dropped to being cold and cloudy with some small rain showers in the evening. We mostly sat by the fire playing drinking games and waiting for bar to open so we could hide out in there.

Overall it was a beautiful trip and allowed for me to get more in touch with the culture out here, I will definitely be visiting the camp sites again once the weather warms up a little more out here. On my next trip out I want to be sure to have my scuba diving certification by then and to take advantage of their glass bottom boat tours. There are several waterfalls along the route there that I wished we had stopped at but it was a group decision to just get home. The campgrounds don’t allow personal motorized watercraft but it would be a perfect place to take a paddleboard or kayak.

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