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Friday, 8 December 2017

Nago Part 2: Orion Happy Park and Nago Pineapple Part

My junior was in Singapore for the past few days which explains why I have not been updating. But two more posts to go and I finish my Okinawa recap! (This must be the longest recap that I've ever done :p)

Orion Happy Park
The Nago area actually has quite a lot of stuff to do. And if you're a beer lover, you should definitely visit Orion Happy Park, where they make Orion Beer (which my sister really likes). We didn't actually plan to visit this place, but due to some unexpected events we found ourselves paying the place a visit.

Do note that the tours are timed tours and it's recommended that you book in advance. We called ahead and managed to get a slot fairly close to when we would arrive, but if this is on your must-do list, I'd recommend making an advance booking from their website.

The tour turned out to be really interesting! It's a public holiday so the machines aren't running, but they still brought us through the place and explained how beer is made.

At the waiting area
I thought the English support was quite well-done too. The staff only speak Japanese, but most of the labels have an English (and Chinese and Korean) labelling, and the staff will hold up a little card with an English summary at each stage. And there was an English brochure which was very helpful.

The only part where I thought the English explanation was lacking was at the end, during the video which explained the canning process. They could have easily had Japanese and English subtitles - I think it would take about 30min to 1 hour to do? The video at the gallery before the tour started had English subtitles so it was a bit strange that the last video didn't have anything.

I learned a few interesting facts too! Do you know that the yeast used to ferment the beer is called number 75-0140 because in Japanese, 75 can be shortened to become Nago (the city where the factory is in) and 0140 can be pronounced as Oishi, so it's "Delicious Nago"!

And if you look at the word Orion on their products, the O is incomplete, because they want to forever keep doing better and try to "close" the O

We also got a free drink + delicious peanuts at the end! Considering the tour is free, we were very pleasantly surprised. If you're drinking the draft beer, you can have 2 glasses, if you're drinking a soft drink or non-alcoholic beer, you can have 1 bottle.

Designated driver badge
I was the designated driver, so I had the cider which tasted like Sprite.

If you like beer, I would definitely recommend stopping by this place while you're in Nago!

Nago Pineapple Park
The Nago Pineapple Park was one of the stops on the bus tour that my sister and I took and I was pretty excited because I've never heard of a pineapple park. Unfortunately, it wasn't as fun or quirky as the name made it seem. (Or maybe I'm the only one that gets excited to visit Spongebob's House Park)

The park was created to promote pineapples (which is really adorable) but we only had about half an hour to enjoy the whole place, which is probably why it was a let down.

Because of the limited amount of time, we basically had two options:

1. A short (about 5 minute) walk through the pineapple fields and then spend time shopping

2. Pay 400 yen to sit in a pineapple cart for a slightly longer tour.

We didn't want to pay an extra fee so we opted for the small tour.

The tour was conducted entirely in Japanese and I learnt that there are many varieties of pineapple and a lot of them are ornamental. 

There were signs indicating the kind of pineapples grown, but as you can see the name is in Japanese. 

Apparently, red soil is the best for growing pineapples.

The factory area with one of the two machines in Okinawa that can peel pineapples.

I must say that I was impressed with how many things they managed to make out of pineapple. I saw (and tried) pineapple wine, which is actually really sweet, and they also had a pineapple charcoal cleanser made from the inedible parts of the pineapple. And of course, many varieties of pineapple snacks.

There were also quite a few Okinawan produts in general.

At the end of the tour we were given some pineapple sorbet to eat, although we didn't finish it.

Bottom line: if you're not a huge huge fan of pineapples, you may not really find this interesting. I wouldn't recommend going here with a tour (or at least not the tour we took) because it felt really rushed. But it does seem like a pretty good place for shopping because quite a few of our fellow passengers bought a lot of things here.

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