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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Nago Part 1: Busena Marine Park, Ritz Carlton

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It turns out that I'm not very good with geography (not much of a shock, to be honest) and mixed up a lot of Nago and Onna attractions. I was going to title this "Onna Part 3", but then I googled the addresses and realised they were in Nago! So here goes the first part of the Nago section of the recap:

Busena Marine Park (English Site)
The thing to note about Busena Marine Park is that they're in Busena Terrace Resort. That means the beach over there isn't free to visitors, something I learnt when I went on to the beach. The Marine Park actually consists of two parts - the underwater observatory and the glass bottom boat. There is some distance between the two attractions (and between the attractions and the parking area), but there are shuttle buses and it's really very walkable.

You can buy tickets at the ticket counter near the car park. If you'll be passing by Kyoda rest area, then you can get discounted tickets there too! But, you can only buy the tickets on the day itself, so if you're like me and went the day before, you're out of luck.

It was a beautiful day, so I decided not to take the bus and walk to the underwater observatory. I think it took between ten to fifteen minutes.


And the view from the bridge:

When I arrived at the observatory, I handed the ticket to the woman on the right and headed down a narrow flight of stairs.

The observatory is about 4m below the surface.

You basically see out of the pot holes, so if you're able to go diving, you'll probably be able to see much better fish. But if you're like me and prefer staying dry, or if you have young kids who can't snorkel or dive, then this is a pretty good option.

I also saw diving facilities near the observatory so you can do both if you want.

After I left the observatory, I headed to the glass bottom boat. The boat isn't available during rough seas/stormy weather, so check the ocean conditions on the site before you go there (they won't see you the ticket if it's not available but you don't want to waste your time).

Walking past the boarding area:

The boat:

Boarding area:

Ocean conditions for the day. They mention visibility and whether the ocean is calm or stormy (which is more for the glass bottom boat than underwater observatory).

Time to board!

How the boat looks like. The glass bottom is at the rectangular area.

And the view of the bottom:

The view from the boat:

There was a guide who talked about the kinds of fish that appeared. This was all in Japanese, so if you want to be able to understand what you're looking at, you'll either need to know the language or travel with a friend who does.

Apart from the underwater observatory and glass bottom boat, there are many other activities that you can do. Most of the activities are run by the resort (if I'm not wrong), but you probably don't have to be a guest to use them.

Afternoon Tea @ Ritz Carlton

One of the things I wanted to do at Okinawa was to have afternoon tea. It's not an Okinawan activity, but I like tea so there you go. I did some googling and even though the afternoon tea set at the Ritz Carlton was the most expensive (3800 yen before service charges), it seemed to have the best reviews. Luckily for me, I wasn't disappointed.

This is my table and the lounge area. It's very bright and airy and I thought it was a really great place to relax.

There are two types of afternoon tea to choose from: traditional and Ryukyu-style. I chose traditional because I already had Bukubuku tea in Naha.

It made me happy to see that the tea was TWG, a Singapore brand. I chose Silver Moon, which was absolutely delicious. You can drink as many types of tea as you want, and you can get it hot or iced.

I thought the tea set was very pretty!

And the food was fantastic!

They gave me three types of jam and some honey for the scones. The jams were:

Okinawa Mikan
Some kind of citrus

My favourites were the honey and the blueberry.

The bottom layer were the savoury foods:

From left to right:

- Tomato soup (more like a jelly)
- Beef
- Egg sandwich
- Smoked salmon tart (this was my favourite because the salmon was very flavourful
- Some kind of fish (probably not a good idea to eat this after the smoked salmon because it tasted kind of bland, though there was a nice aftertaste of sorts? But my least favourite of the lot)
- Okinawa pork

In the middle section were the desserts. Also from left to right:

- Strawberry financier (the cake and the strawberries were very well balanced and so good!)
- Very soft cheesecake
- Chocolate mousse (my favourite of this layer because both the chocolate and the berry part had very rich flavours that complemented each other perfectly)
- Mango pudding topped with chocolate (kind of messy to eat)
- Matcha financier

And for the top layer, there was:

- Sweet potato pie (I couldn't really taste the potato per se but the sweetness of the filling does go very well to the pastry and overall I liked it)
- Cream for scones (obviously I liked this)
- Three types of scones: sweet potato, plain, and one with nuts. The sweet potato one tasted pretty good, but the plain one went best with the jams. I liked the scones too, they were crumbly without being too dry.

Overall, this afternoon tea was very delicious and filling. It's a bit expensive, but if like tea and you want some quiet time in a bright, breezy surrounding, then this is a pretty good spot.

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