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Hai Sai! Welcome to my Blog.

Hello, my name is Tom Corrao and I am the blogger behind the Okinawaology Blog. I created this blog to share and discuss all things Okinawan. I’m also the Public Relations Officer and Minkan Taishi to the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai. My experience with Okinawa is derived from the time I spent there during the 1980's and 90's (10 years) when serving in the United States Air Force. I've also been married to an Okinawan woman for 30 years now and have been immersed in many things Okinawan through both friends and family. I do not claim to be all knowing about everything Okinawan but I try hard and study the history and culture. I welcome everyone that is interested in Okinawa and hope that I can provide useful information to those uchinanchu that may be curious about their culture and heritage. I also welcome those who are not of Okinawan heritage but have experienced, or are experiencing, the islands culture while stationed there with the United States Military. Comments are welcomed and will be published as long as they are in good taste and on track with the purpose of this blog. My hope with this blog is to bring Uchinanchu people around the world a little closer to their cultural roots by expressing information that has started to fade in light of a more modern world. We should never forget our culture or the people who came before us and through the Blog my intentions are to meld the old with the new and implant knowledge that will help maintain the traditions and culture of an island people.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Using the Bus while in Okinawa for the Uchinanchu Taikai

Probably the most convenient form of transportation for getting to all points on the island of Okinawa is the bus. Buses are surprisingly expensive on Okinawa but do run many of the main roads on the island on their routes. Fares depend on the distance you have traveled at the time you get off the bus. Fares start around ¥150 but vary according to the bus company.

When getting on the bus take a ticket from the ticket dispenser as you board. If the bus has two doors make sure you enter and exit from the front door.

While riding, there is an electronic voice that calls out the stops (in Japanese). When your stop is called press the button next to the window to signal the driver to stop. It's a good idea to know what your destination looks or a remember a landmark that can be seen several stops away. This can help ensure that you exit the bus as close to your desired destination as possible.


There is an electronic display at the front of the bus that has numbers and a corresponding fare that increases as the bus makes its way along its route. When leaving, match the number on your ticket to the number on the display. The fare next to that number is what you pay.

Drop your ticket and exact fare, yen only, in the fare box. There is a change dispenser at the front of the bus that gives change for 1,000 yen bills, 500 yen coins, and 100 yen coins.
 
Bus fare from Naha Bus Terminal to Nago is about ¥1740 (About $22.32 at todays rate) for the 70km ride. Children under six who are accompanied by a parent ride for free and children in the sixth grade or lower pay half fare.

Nearly all buses use the Naha Bus Terminal as a starting and ending point for their routes. Unfortunately, there are no bus schedules printed in English to show you and the buses do not always stick to their allocated times, so please allow plenty of time for your travels. The different bus companies servicing Okinawa can run the same route. Please look for the bus number in the window of the bus to determine its destination, not the color of the bus.

Here is a list by bus numbers indicating the buses departure city and destination as well as the bus company running the line. The first hurdle you will need to overcome is determining which bus to take. Just because there are no schedules or routes available in English, doesn't mean it will be impossible to figure out where you're going. At every bus stop there is a map of Okinawa with routes included and a list of the buses that service the stop your at and their schedules. Find a bus that goes to your destination and its next arrival time. Route numbers 1 through 17 are categorized as the City (Naha) Line and numbers 20 and greater are the Suburban Line.

Four different bus companies operate routes in Okinawa. Because more than one bus company operates each route, it is best to signal the bus you want, otherwise it may not stop to pick you up.


Naha Airport Limousine Bus

On the Okinawa Main Island (Okinawa Honto) there is an extensive network of Airport Limousine Buses that operate all year long. This service is one of the best ways to get to almost all of the resort hotels on Okinawa at a fraction of the cost of taking a taxi. The pickup point at Naha Airport for the Airport Limousine Buses is located outside the Arrivals lobby on the 1st floor of the main terminal building.

During the high season of late July to the end of August more buses operate and on a more frequent schedule but there are also many more visitors using the Airport Limousine Bus service.

When leaving Naha Airport the Airport Limousine Buses use the first come first serve system and cannot be booked in advance. Make sure the bus you get on goes to your hotel by asking the driver.

When departing hotels and on the way to Naha Airport it is important to check your flight time and the travel time of the bus before leaving. Please remember that travel time of the Airport Limousine Buses may be longer than shown on the schedules due to traffic. Ask hotel staff where the pick-up point for the bus is and double check the schedule with them.


TOUR BUS INFO

There are also tour bus companies on the island that offer package tours which range from 6 to 10 hours. Prices are about $40 to $50 but may not include entrance fees to all venues.

Ryukyu Bus 098-863-3636

Okinawa Bus 098-861-0083

Naha Bus 098-868-3750

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