Another instalment in my Japan series: today I'm taking you to Mibaru beach and Ou-jima on the beautiful island of Okinawa!
This particular day, we had actually planned to take the ferry to Tokashiki island to chill out on Aharen beach, which is supposed to be one of the most gorgeous beaches in Japan. The info you find online is kind of unclear at times so in case you're contemplating visiting Tokashiki, here's the deal: only a limited number of tickets are offered for reservation ahead by phone or fax. The people at the ticketing office speak some English, but it's easiest to ask your hotel reception or airbnb host to make the call for you.
When we asked our host, the tickets that were available for reservation ahead were all spoken for, so they advised us to arrive early (two hours before departure) and that way, there should still be tickets available at the counter (a different set of tickets than the ones you can reserve ahead of time). However, due to traffic we arrived a bit later than we had planned, and in addition one of the ferry lines was down due to maintenance so the one boat that was left was totally booked up.
We were offered the option of waiting until 15 minutes before departure as some tickets might become available due to reservations not showing up, but Japanese people follow the rules so everyone actually came for their ticket and we were left standing there watching the boat leave for paradise, bummer! However, I had prepared our trip by googling basically every possible googleable thing, and I knew that a bit further down south, there was a gorgeous, quiet, less developed beach that would probably offer something close to what we were looking for on Tokashiki. About half an hour later, we parked our car and walked down to the rosey beige sand and crystal clear waters of Mibaru beach!
Parking was just two minutes up the hill from the beach itself, you simply park the car at this lot (it has a mermaid sign next to it) and pay about 500 yen for an entire day of parking to the proprietors who also run the only café and restaurant next to the beach. They offered me room to change in the bathroom stalls, and then we were ready to enjoy our little slice of paradise.
bathing suit: H&M - sunglasses: c/o Polette
To set the scene: during our entire afternoon there (for reference, we were there on a perfectly sunny day in the middle of June), I think we saw about 20 other people enjoying the beach? It was perfectly quiet, we felt like we had the entire beach to ourselves, and we couldn't believe our luck. I was actually starting to think that going to Mibaru rather than Aharen beach was the better option, seeing that Aharen is such a popular tourist destination and the ferry was fully booked!
Mibaru beach being rather quiet and secluded makes it a gorgeous spot to enjoy nature: not only the tropical vegetation, but also small seacreatures like this tiny hermit crab. In addition, this is apparently a popular spot for sea turtles to lay eggs! We didn't see any during our stay, but it wasn't really the time of year for that. I would have died of excitement if we had seen one though.
Future dream home: that lime green condo on the beach, dayum.
These rock formations are so stunning. We saw a lot of those around Okinawan beaches, but Mibaru had the most photogenic ones!
Along the shoreline, there were plenty of little caves to find some shade from the sun. We put down our towels there and I had a little nap. Heaven.
I don't know what this thing is, but I imagine someone had a blast puzzling all the pieces together to create something so pretty! We also collected buttloads of shells and remnants of coral reef, fun activity if like my boyfriend you suck at sitting down and relaxing.
Mibaru beach has quiet, clear waters, and the sea temperature was amazing, probably something like 26°C. There were designated swimming areas but I ventured out a bit, however, I quickly made my way back when I spotted a tiny jellyfish swimming by! I mean, it was pretty cool, but I'm super scared of jellyfish stings.
The only restaurant/café on Mibaru beach. I could go for some of that ramen now :(
After a couple of hours on the beach, we left to explore some more of the southern part of Okinawa-honto (main island). I had read something online about Ou island (Ou-jima), a small peninsula reachable by bridge from the main island, and how it was known for amazing tempura. Obviously, we had to go there pronto.
Ou-jima was small, scorching hot, and very authentic. We loved driving through the southern part of Okinawa because of its rural vibes and long stretches of less developed areas, and Ou-jima is a great example of this. No high buildings, small houses and restaurants, fishing boats, and lots like these where you could see hundreds of squids drying in the sun.
Ou-jima peninsula is very quiet most of the year, but it comes to life when it hosts an annual boat race. I had also read about this online, so I could give my boyfriend sort of a guided tour when we came across these beautiful boats, obviously very well cared for.
However, we came for the tempura. The most popular tempura place is this little stall (not much more than a counter and two picnic tables + a bunch of friendly cats) right off the bridge that gets you on the island. I got an amazing Okinawa Bottlers pineapple drink from the vending machine, and we ordered a bunch of tempura to enjoy. My favourites were the squid, the sweet potato and one with white fish but I have forgotten what type of fish. It's all really good though!
You guys, Okinawa is awesome and if you're there, DO visit Mibaru beach and stop for a bite at Ou-jima! Don't forget to use a heavy hand when (re)applying sunscreen and try to stay covered up as much as possible because that sun is merciless, we both got some sunburn.
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