We packed up and were off by 7.30am so that we got to Shuri Castle by opening time. The castle is kind of unusual because it has a lot of Chinese influence in it's design.
I couldn't be bothered to read the info leaflet they gave us, so I can't really tell you anything about the castle!
They do have a stamp rally for the kids but you need to pick up the map at the kiosk when you leave the carpark. If you complete the whole lot you get some sticks and a few other paper goods. You get the stickers for just getting 10, the extras are not really worth the hassle unless you want to do the whole grounds too!
Quite a few sections of the castle you are not allowed to take photos, but this throne looked like THE photo spot. You can line up and a local guide will take a photo for you, or you can walk round the side and save yourself 15 minutes!
Watch out for the locals, some of them a MASSIVE, like this grasshopper!
Thankfully we didn't meet any of these fellas. The danger is real though, already by early May, over 100 people had been hospitalized from habu bites!
After the castle we needed to return the rental car, so we dropped that off, jumped on the car rentals shuttle bus to the airport where we checked the suitcase in. then we hopped on the monorail and did a couple of hours at Kokusai Dori.
I was expecting this to be a more American street and markets but they felt more like the markets in Cambodia and Laos. We couldn't decide what we wanted to eat so we just ended up having lots of nibbles. We stopped at Lucky Tacos but Ebi-kun ended up with an Unlucky Tacos because the lid of the salt wasn't on properly so he dumped a whole pot of salt onto his taco!
The boys had a deep friend donut, I don't like them much. Then we tried some of the famous Blue Seal ice-cream, lots of the stalls had free samples so we filled up on those too - not the healthiest of lunches!
It's no wonder the snakes are vicious, maybe they have heard the rumour that they are selling dried snake down at the market...
After our wander we went back to the airport to catch our flight to Ishigaki Island which is further south.
We picked up another rental car and drove to the hotel. there was such a contrast in the two islands, I felt the main island was actually quite grey and grim due to the concrete buildings but Ishigaki was far more what I was I was expecting. Lush greenery, blue skies, cute buildings...
By the time we had checked in we were all starving, the hotel included breakfast but not evening meals. The choice within walking distance was very limited to St Elmo Restaurant and the places at the big hotel down the road.
We decided to try out St Elmo's but we were too early so we checked out the Tojinbaka tomb. It's for 100+ Chinese slaves that escaped an American slave ship and were hunted down and killed. It's interesting to take a look if you are in the area but not worth taking a trip out to see unless you are a history buff into that kind of thing.
We got a table right on the deck at St Elmo's, it was lucky we arrived early, I got the impression it fills up quickly and it is more of a romantic place to go rather than a family spot.
The food was absolutely spot on delicious. Ebi-kun had a seafood bubbly dish that he raved about, Yasutoki had delicious roast beef and I had a great chicken and veg dish. Not massive portions but did the job for us.
That just about wrapped up the day.